I have a weekly routine. On a Sunday evening, after mister 3 is finally asleep, I sit down at the dining room table and plan the week’s menu. I only do one week at a time; any more than that would be purgatory. I try to find inspiration for meals; if none comes, I ask hubby for ideas. Often he says, Huevos Rancheros to which I reply, “But T doesn’t like that” and then I write the grocery list. Pre-kids it was easy; I just cooked whatever I felt like. Now, it’s more a case of “Which dishes will my child happily eat?” Is it the same for you as well?

I’ve been meaning to share this dish for a long time. It became a hit even before T was born; I served it when some friends came around and everyone, aged 1 to 41, gobbled it up! I think it has to do with how you can choose your own toppings; the meat is only as spicy as you want it to be, the rice is plain, and the toppings are well-known. I have been a big fan of this meal ever since boarding school and had the skeleton of a recipe, but have found the addition of corn chips, sour cream and salsa really take it to another level!

This dish is for all those of you who need inspiration, who like to make meat stretch that little bit further, who have fussy kids, or just kids who like to have some choice over what’s on their plate, and for those who, like me, get to 5pm and realise they haven’t thought about dinner. Be assured that this one will come together in a matter of minutes. Simply fry the beef, add seasonings and set to simmer. Get the rice on and start prepping the salad toppings. Before you know it, dinner will be served, and everyone will love it!

Mexican Stack-ups {gf}
Taco mince on rice, followed by all the toppings, is everything: delicious, budget-friendly and kid-friendly too!

Serves 6 to 8

500g lean beef mince
1 small red or green capsicum, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon sugar (to taste)
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground chili powder (optional)
4 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup water

Optional toppings:
Corn kernels
Kidney beans
Diced fresh tomatoes
Grated carrot
Grated tasty cheese
Iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced
Corn chips
Homemade salsa
Sour cream

Fry diced capsicum and crushed garlic until fragrant and then add mince, and fry till brown. Add spices, sugar, tomato paste and water, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until almost dry.

Meanwhile, steam rice and prepare salad toppings.

Pile a little meat onto some hot steamed rice, then add toppings as desired.

Make servings of rice and meat quite small to begin with, otherwise you may end up with more than you can eat!

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