Hey guys, happy Taco Tuesday…..on a Thursday!
So I have this problem, I think it’s a condition really. I always seem to psych myself out before making things or sharing them because I feel like they aren’t good enough or that they’re too simple. I try to remind myself that you guys love simple. In fact, some of the most popular recipes on my blog have been the childishly easy ones, so I don’t know what my glitch is. Less is usually more. I just need to remember that. I mean, how many times have I talked to people and had them tell me they never cook because they’re too busy, don’t know how.
Cooking at home should always be easy and approachable no matter how busy you are, and as a food blogger I should try much harder to share that with you. In the last few years I’ve learned the value of things like making your own chicken broth and doing everything from scratch and the difference it makes is unbelievable. There’s really no comparison.
Since Mexican food is a favorite in my house, I usually do some form of it about once a week. This past weekend I made 2 huge pans of enchiladas, and I know they are a great stand alone meal for sure, but I think they are even better and go even farther if you make really good sides to go with. The favorites around here are usually refried beans and Spanish rice, but recently I’ve been doing barley instead of rice and everyone loves it. It’s one of my favorite ways to use barley, so that’s what I did this time.
Sometimes it’s hard to gauge the right amount of food for everyone, because of how big my family is. This is especially the case on nights when our gang includes family friends, so I often end up with tons of leftovers. I also make my tortillas by hand, as most of you know, because it’s difficult to find good ones here in Chile. I ended up making way more than I needed for the enchiladas and I had a lot of other extra stuff so, hello, tacos!
That’s fine with me though, because I am now a pro at using random and miscellaneous leftovers. It’s like living on the show Iron Chef and you have all of these unlikely items that you have to put together and believe me, I’ve done some really wacko combos before. Plus, the amount of food that a large family goes through in a day is ridiculous. Our fridge seemingly goes from being jam packed to nearly bare overnight. Craziness.
Anyway, these tacos are what I made as a quick fix dinner the other day to try to clear out the fridge of randomness. They aren’t your typical taco but, just know that these have got nothin’ on some of my past concoctions.
What I’m getting at is that these are kind of a basic outline for an easy taco night. You could throw in any other veggies, sauces, or meats that you’ve got on hand. Although, you should definitely try the Spanish barley because I think it’s sort of perfect on these, but other than that make them your own.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups pearl barley
- 2 cups enchilada sauce
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 medium green bell peppers, sliced into rings
- 1 medium onion, sliced into rings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt & black pepper to taste
- 8 - 10 medium flour tortillas
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
- 2/3 cup fresh cherry(or regular) tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup butterhead lettuce
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- sour cream (optional)
- salsa or hot sauce (optional)
- cilantro lime hummus or chipotle hummus are both delicious with these too.
- Combine onion, garlic, and olive oil in a large skillet and saute over medium high heat for 3 to 4 minutes until soft and browned. Pour in remaining ingredients, reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 35 to 45 minutes until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed. If the liquid is absorbed before the barley is tender add a bit of water to the pan.
- While the barley simmers, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet and add peppers and onions. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes until peppers are softened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the chicken into pan and stir over heat for about 1 minute to warm then remove from heat
- Assemble the tacos with barley, chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, cooked peppers and onions, cheddar, and desired sauces.