Taco Fries

Tonights dinner is one of our favourite here in this house. Homemade Taco Fries.

I love making homemade fries, and often used to use the deep fat fryer. Then in January I finally splashed out on a Tefal Actifry, after lusting after one for about 2 years! And I love it. I use it at least once or twice a week. It does take a good bit longer to cook the chips – but just means we have to be more organised!

The Taco spice mix is a blend that I found when doing Slimming World. I love the fact that Slimming World teaches people to cook from scratch using herbs and spices. I have always done most things from scratch but I used to use a taco spice mix that I bought. Now I always use this recipe.

What I did a few weeks ago was to mix a larger quantity – same proportions but just about 10 times as much so that I could have the spices premixed to make the prep even quicker. I now have that sitting up on my shelf in a jar and can just use a few spoons of that (to taste) when cooking the taco mince.

  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne chilli powser
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sweetner (I use sugar because I hate artificial sweetner)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

I add the spice mix into the mince, and vegetable that are already cooked, along with two tins of tomatoes, and leave simmer for about 20 minutes. I use onions, garlic, peppers, celery (finely chopped) and mushrooms. You could add as much vegetables in here as you wanted. I am also going to try this with lentils and red kidney beans as a vegetarian version.

And then for serving we use a shop bought taco sauce and grated cheese.

Each of us in the house has a different way they want their taco fries served. I am traditional with the fries, mince, cheese, taco sauce. The hubby likes his taco sauce and mince mixed together first, and then put on his chips and doesn’t mind whether there’s any cheese or not. The boy is mince, then fries, cheese, taco sauce. Miss Q likes her mince topped with cheese and taco sauce on one side and fries on the other. And Little Miss Z likes her chips on a plate with some taco sauce to dip in – no mince or cheese!

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Paprika Potatoes!

Now I am aware I might be late to the party, but I have just made these, and they are so easy and so delicious!

The other day I was making a Spanish Omelette and I wasn’t using chorizo (it’s not free on Slimming World, and I had none anyway!) – so I wanted to add some extra flavour. So I decided to add salt and paprika to the potatoes while cooking. And Wow! I think they are my new obsession! I bought more salad potatoes and cooked them up so they’d be ready for me to make these again (which I already have)!

They are so simple:

Slice the (cooked) salad potatoes
Spray with fry light
Sprinkle on salt and paprika
Spray the frying pan with fry light and heat
Put the potatoes into the pan, with the sprayed and seasoned side facing down
Spray the tops of the potatoes and sprinkle on salt and paprika
After 1-2mins, turn over the potatoes and fry the other side for another 1-2mins
Then you’re ready to go!

They are really simple and really tasty. Usually potatoes need to be fried in butter, or have butter melting in while you’re eating them – but these really add such a flavour that you don’t miss the butter.

Spinach Cannelloni (Slimming World Friendly!)

I’ve realised that I need to have decent food on hand throughout the day, or else I pick at anything I can find – so I’ve been making up batches of this spinach cannelloni.

Because on Slimming World you eat 1/3 “superfree” (fruit or veg) with everything you eat, I’ve been trying to beef up the original recipe by adding more vegetables, such as onions, celery and peppers all chopped up small and added to the spinach mix inside the tubes!

I buy a box of cannelloni tubes, a packet of fresh spinach leaves and a tub of Quark (extra low fat soft cheese) – and then whatever extra veg, garlic, tins of tomatoes and cheese that I usually have.

The way to cook the spinach is to put it into a pot with a tablespoon or two of water (I actually just wash it and put it straight in to the pot without drying it)  and pop on the lid and let it cook down for about two minutes until its gone soft and limp. Then I take it out of the pot, put it on a plate and drain all the excess liquid off it and chop it up.

Next is to cook up whatever other veg you’re adding – lets say an onion, a stick of celery and a pepper, all chopped up small. Fry these up (in Frylight if you’re on Slimming World!). Once they’re cooked, I normally let them cool down a bit, before adding in the chopped spinach, and then the full tub of Quark. This is the mix that you’re going to fill your cannelloni tubes with.

Usually while the veg is all cooling down, I make a tomato sauce – just fry up a bit of garlic and add a few tins of tomato (or passata) and some fresh basil. I do try and almost squeeze the tomatoes with the spoon while they’re in the pot – because you really do need as much liquid as possible.

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The next step is quite messy – filling your tubes. You basically just have to roll up your sleeves and dive in 🙂 Make sure that you fill them as much as you can, I usually put my thumb over the base of the tube and push the filling down until it fills up completely.

When you have all the tubes filled, you put a layer of the tomato sauce (about half the sauce) across the bottom of the dish you’re cooking them in. In this case I decided to use a roast pan because I was making a large batch!

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On top of the sauce, put your filled tubes, and then top them all with the rest of the tomato sauce and add a scattering of grated cheese. If you’re doing Slimming World, you will need to use the cheese as a Healthy Extra, or syn it.

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Put it into the oven to bake for about 40 minutes, at around 180 degrees. You will need to make sure there’s enough liquid on top of them for the cannelloni tubes to cook properly. At times I have had to add a bit of water to help soften them up properly.

Of course I forgot to take an “after” picture of it cooked, I happily started eating it! 🙂 But it is delicious, and very handy to have in portions the fridge (or freezer) to take out and snack on (or have as a lunch or dinner!).