Whenever we have friends over, I like to have a variety of options for food. Especially when it’s our Movie Club, because we have a variety of different dietary restrictions in our group. One is severely allergic to dairy, another is a vegetarian. And there are 4 kids ages 6 and under so that comes with it’s own challenges.
Last month we decided to do a Taco Bar for dinner. It’s a perfect option when you have a lot of people for a few reasons:
- The ingredients are pretty simple
- It’s an inexpensive meal to put together
- There isn’t a lot of cooking involved
- Everyone can put their taco together and have exactly what they want
- You can have options for almost every dietary restriction
To avoid dairy, we made sure the cheese was in its own bowl and the sour cream stayed in the container it came in. For fillings, we did both traditional ground beef and refried beans for our vegetarian friend (and I prefer beans, too). Also, if you need to avoid gluten, corn tortillas are usually a safe option. The kids had simple tacos with very few fillings while the adults loaded theirs up.
When we went to Missouri while I was pregnant with Tyler, Justin’s family threw us a surprise baby shower. His aunt wanted to do a Taco Bar for all of the reasons I listed, but his grandmother (who is one of the sweetest people I have ever met) disagreed. Her reasoning:
Does anyone really know how to eat a taco?Justin’s grandmother when his aunt suggested a taco bar for the baby shower they had for us when I was pregnant with Tyler
When we heard that story, we were all laughing. His dad said they had tacos all the time growing up, and she must have meant she wasn’t sure about a taco bar and what that means and if people would want to have to put their own food together. But now, anytime we have tacos we have a laugh thinking about Grandma Lynch.
Step by Step
Prepare the taco meat. You can either use a packaged taco seasoning or make your own. I actually had extra of my fajita seasoning, so I used that in our taco meat. Brown the ground beef then drain. Add 2/3 cup of water and taco seasoning, stirring until the water has mostly evaporated.
Also, heat the refried beans on the stovetop so they are warm. Make sure to stir frequently so they don’t burn on the bottom.
Chop all of the vegetables, shred the cheese, and prepare any other taco toppings.
Lay everything out in separate bowls or serving dishes. If you have one, use a chafing dish for the taco meat and beans to keep them warm.
- In a medium skillet, brown the ground beef over medium heat until it is cooked through
- Drain the beef then place back in the pan, adding water and taco seasoning
- Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the water has mostly evaporated, stirring occasionally
- Meanwhile, cook the refried beans in a medium pot over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning
- Chop and prepare all taco toppings
- Place the toppings in individual dishes or serving platters
- Keep the meat and beans warm either on low on the stovetop or in chafing dishes
- Serve with corn tortillas, allowing everyone to prepare their own taco
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