mrs.b and her boys

embrace the chaos

Category: Shake It Up!

TACO NIGHT to NACHO BAR

Here is another dinner idea that does not require a recipe, but is actually a meal idea that gets you through to the weekend. By cooking a big batch once, you can eat twice that week.

 

Taco Night is very common in households. Taco Tuesdays have become popular in America. {Am I right?!!} But, have you ever made a double batch of taco meat and used half for your weekend Nacho Bar? {Awesome, huh?!!}

Do tacos during the week. They are the perfect dinner for those busy nights. Make the taco meat ahead of time and throw it in your slow cooker. Have all your toppings chopped and shredded. You can eat dinner as soon as you walk in the door or people can eat at their convenience as they come and go from activities and work.

Then, the weekend comes and you are having Family Movie Night, or a house full of teenagers, or friends over for the game and you need something fun to whip together with no fuss. You already have your taco meat in the fridge, add other fun nacho toppings and just like that you have a Nacho Bar for all to enjoy!

You can let each person make their own plate or like I did this last time, I made a big pan of chips, meat, black beans, queso and Monterey Jack cheese. Baked it at 400˚ until cheese was melted. Then, just scooped a pile on to each person’s plate and they topped them as they wished. It worked out so slick. And psst…my boys said they couldn’t even tell the black beans were on there! {I win!}

Listed below are the lists of what we like on our Taco Night and Nacho Bar, but feel free to use any additional ingredients you enjoy.

 

TACO NIGHT:                                                                                    NACHO BAR:

taco meat                                                                                              taco meat

tortillas or hard shells                                                                   tortilla chips

sharp cheddar cheese                                                                   chili cheese corn chips

lettuce or spinach                                                                           queso sauce

black olives                                                                                         monterey jack cheese

tomatoes                                                                                              black beans

avocado                                                                                                pickled jalapeno slices

plain greek yogurt                                                                          black olives

salsa                                                                                                        tomatoes

taco sauce                                                                                           plain greek yogurt & salsa

FAMILY GAME NIGHT

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I say it all the time and hopefully, you will not get sick of hearing it…our lives get busy and chaotic. We get stuck in our everyday activities and happenings. And sometimes we forget to have fun and shake things up. I was feeling that last weekend and that’s when I called a mandatory Family Game Night. Now, as much as I am a fan of the let’s make most of our stuff homemade, I am also a fan of the semi-homemade is just fine too. Take help where you need it! On occasions like this, I want to keep it simple, fun and finger-food friendly. Where you can grab something, it’s gone in a few bites and your hands are free to take your turn at the games.

I did:

*Deep-Dish Mini Pizzas

*Chicken Dippers with Dipping Sauces

*Whoopie Pies

Now, although I have a great homemade pizza dough recipe, I used a store-bought pizza crust that night. And together with some jarred sauce, Canadian bacon, pineapple and mozzarella, these Mini Deep Dish Pizzas came together quickly to leave time for more games.

For the Chicken Dippers, I did use fresh chicken breasts. But my help came from pre-bottled Thai Peanut Sauce and a BBQ Sauce. {I’m telling you, simple}

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Finally the Whoopie Pies were store bought. Because after a long week, on Friday I do not always have time to whip up some baked goods. Bakeries and stores have such great options with bars, cookies and brownies, use that help sometimes.

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Then, I stirred up a pitcher of Kool-Aid. {Don’t judge!} Yes people, I do make Kool-Aid for fun occasions like this. I know there is tons of sugar in it, but it is a treat. If you don’t do Kool-Aid, you could get small soda cans or bottled juices and that would make it fun for the kids too.

When you do your Family Game Night {Notice, I said “when”}, you do not have to make what I made here. Customize it to your family’s likes and dislikes. You could do a tray full of quesadilla triangles, chicken wings or nachos. Or how about a simple take-n-bake pizza cut into small squares? It does not matter what food you make, as long as it is fun and not in your realm of everyday eats. Make it special and spend some quality time with your family.

Now, I can hear some of you saying as you read this, “But, we can’t have Family Game Night! We have a 2 year old along with older kids. That won’t work.” It will work. The key is to have some simple games, like one of those character UNO games or Go Fish that the little ones can play {Trust me, they catch on fast!} and then a game the big kids would be into as well. We love HeadBands, UNO or Ellen’s HeadsUp game app on the iPad.

Another tip would be to play in teams with the little ones. Let’s say you want to play something that is a bit more challenging, have each adult or older kid partner up with a little one. That way, they are learning the game without the frustration of being on their own to figure it out.

Although, our Family Game Night usually ends in someone being a total turd {Just keepin’ it real!}, we always have so much fun and laugh a lot! We also feel better about the quality time we spent together, getting to know each other outside the monotony of our everyday lives.

Now, stop reading my blog and go plan your Family Game Night!

 

 

DEEP-DISH MINI PIZZAS

Olive oil, to coat {regular sized} muffin pan

All-purpose flour

1 pre-made pizza dough, cut in 6 pieces

Jarred pizza sauce

8 oz. mozzarella, shredded

Pizza toppings of your choice: Canadian Bacon, pineapple, mini pepperoni, sausage, peppers, mushrooms, olives, left-over BBQ pork, lightly steamed broccoli in little pieces, diced tomatoes, etc.

Pre heat oven to 450º. Lightly coat muffin pan with olive oil. On a floured surface, roll out each piece of dough to approximately 6 inches round. Fill each cup with sauce and your choice of toppings. Top with mozzarella.

Bake until dough is golden brown, about 12 minutes.

*If you want to make a full pan, just do 2 pizza doughs!

 

CHICKEN DIPPERS

1 – 14-16 oz. package of chicken breasts

An all-seasoning {I love Spike} & pepper

Olive oil

6-inch wooden skewers

Dipping sauces of choice

Preheat oven to 425º. {I did them at 450º with the Deep-Dish Mini Pizzas as well. Keep it simple.}

Cut the chicken breast into thick strips. Put them on the skewers in a zig zag fashion. Lay them flat on a sprayed cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season as you wish.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

 

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