There’s nothing quite like the taco fillings of your choice cradled lovingly in a tortilla or shell, nestled on a bed of rice, and served on a Tuesday evening (or morning, or afternoon…we’re not judging!). #TacoTuesday, the cult-favorite practice of eating tacos on Tuesdays, has enjoyed widespread popularity that doesn’t appear to be waning any time soon. And for good reason.
This easy, customizable, kid-friendly, chef-forgiving meal idea is perfect for meal prep, perfect for picky eaters, fun to eat, and fun to prepare. If you need any more convincing, have a scroll through the roughly 3.5 million instagram posts that use the #TacoTuesday hashtag.
Salivating? We thought so.
Here at Organic Valley, we like to think of ourselves as Taco Tuesday connoisseurs, and regardless of whether you’re already well-versed in the tradition or just getting into it, we have a few tips for taking your Tuesday dinners up a notch.
Taco Tuesday Meal Prep
Protein: Tacos and meal prep go together like, well, tortillas and cheese! Cook up a bunch of taco meat and freeze it in portioned containers. (Assume 3/4 to 1 cup per adult/teenager and 1/4 to 1/2 cup for younger kids.) Don’t forget to vary your meats for added interest! Seasoned beef is a classic crowd favorite, but seasoned chicken, turkey, and fish are equally delicious and work wonderfully as leaner protein options. Go vegetarian with seasoned beans and rice or quinoa. Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner, burrito-style?
Taco Toppings: Chop tomatoes during weekend meal prep and keep them in the fridge until Tuesday. Or—even easier—skip the tomatoes and use a robust red salsa instead. Similarly, onions can be chopped and kept in the fridge to embellish all sorts of recipes: use them for tacos on Tuesday and stir fry, casserole, soup, and more later in the week! As long as you’re keeping things weeknight simple, why not stick to canned beans, too?
Cheese: Grating cheese is easy to do, but using pre-shredded cheese will ensure your meal is stress-free when Tuesday rolls around. Always organic, always delicious, you can’t go wrong with Organic Valley thick-cut Mexican blend shredded cheese!
A Cilantro Secret
Cilantro is a game-changing taco ingredient (that is, if you don’t have the gene that makes it taste like soap). Assuming at least some members of your household enjoy this fresh herb, it’s a good thing to have on-hand. But it’s also tricky because it can go bad quite quickly, even when it’s kept in the fridge.
Extend the life of fresh cilantro by putting it in a cup of water at the back of the fridge. A bunch can last you a couple of weeks this way—simply rip off what you need before each meal. Cilantro is a good fixin’ to serve on the side so folks can opt-in if they like.
No one wants taco night to become same-ol’-same-ol’. That’s just a recipe for whiny children. Keep things interesting by switching up the proteins. Swap hard shells for soft shell tortillas. Replace red salsa with green salsa or guacamole, or even try a fruit salsa with poultry or fish tacos!
How about taco salad instead? You can eliminate tortillas entirely to cut carbs, or set them out on the table as optional for anyone who wants to use them. Either way taco salad simply requires a little extra lettuce. Pile your favorite toppings on a bed of greens, and sprinkle on a few crushed tortilla chips to satisfy that salty crunchy craving.
Other taco-adjacent meals include rice bowls (arrange taco fillings on a bed of rice), burritos (fill a big flour tortilla with rice and all your favorite fixin’s), quesadillas, and enchiladas (cook everything up and make it extra-saucy!).
Get the Whole Family Involved
Starting a Taco Tuesday tradition at your house is a great way to help everyone engage with their food. Young children can lend a hand by cutting lettuce with a plastic knife or simply tearing it with their hands. They can also pick cilantro leaves off the stem.
Taco night is also a perfect meal to help older children learn independence in the kitchen. Give mom or dad the evening off and invite budding young chefs to take charge of dinner on Tuesdays—see below for our foolproof #TacoTuesday grocery shopping list to make it even easier and ensure they don’t forget anything!
Extra credit: Make taco stands out of old egg cartons simply by turning them upside down! Seriously. No more fillings on the table. Plus, you can keep the kids busy by having them decorate their DIY taco stands. This fun hack was detailed by the folks over at Mic. See how they did it, and try for yourself next time Taco Tuesday rolls around.
How do you do Taco Tuesday? Show us on Instagram by tagging @organicvalley!
#TacoTuesday Grocery List
Taco Tuesday is a simple concept, but there are lots of options. We ALWAYS forget something when planning a taco bar. Use this shopping list to ensure you (or your teenager) never miss a crucial item.
It's not Taco Tuesday without these essentials. Start here for a super easy and delicious meal:
- Taco shells or soft tortillas
- Protein: taco seasoned ground beef, chicken or turkey; or seasoned beans
- Cheese: Organic Valley Thick-Cut Mexican Blend shreds are a crowd pleaser!
Add-ons for flair: Mix n’ match as you like, or use what’s in your pantry and fridge at the moment.
- Refried beans
- Black beans
- Spanish rice (Great for a burrito night!)
- Tomatoes (Optional—salsa may be enough tomato for you)
- Cilantro (If you like it)
- Sliced black olives
- Sour Cream
- Avocado or guacamole (chips or veggies for dipping too, if desired)