When my friend offered to host a small watch party for the first presidential debate last Tuesday, I knew immediately that it was going to be an interesting night. Months of social media memes, news articles and, of course, tweets had amped us all up to see what the night was going to bring. Without getting too political, watching the National Clown Debate on Taco Tuesday was a highlight of my week.
Though overall an emotionally taxing experience, one thing that did improve the process of watching two old, white men shout at each other on television for 90 minutes was a plate of hand-sized corn tortillas filled with delicious toppings!
As my roommates and I gathered a container of sour cream, some flavorful Whole Foods guacamole, Mexican blended cheeses and shredded lettuce to bring over to our friends’ house Tuesday, we were enthused by the prospect of Taco Tuesday. Unfortunately — although it was very much needed — the “Tequila” was taken out of “Tequila and Taco Tuesday” because of the start of midterms season, and no margaritas were consumed during the debate viewing session.
The taco shells ended up being a part of a kit that came with taco seasoning and sauce — which is fine, although, as a hot take, I highly prefer soft-shell tacos to hard-shell tacos. To me, these hard-shell tacos are much more difficult to eat — things always fall out of them when you’re taking a bite — less flavorful and seem more like nachos than tacos to me, especially after the mess they leave on your plate. After taking one bite of the crunchy shell, though it was tasty, half of the toppings had slipped out of the shell and onto another taco on my dish such that my entire plate turned into a heap of heftily loaded nachos; the experience really wasn’t the same.
The meat that my friend had cooked in the first batch was also a bit under-seasoned, and not enough Ortega taco seasoning could have saved it — the recipe below does not use Ortega seasoning, but you are welcome to do so. Overall, though, the taco concoction more than met our expectations in terms of satisfaction, and the delicious guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese and lettuce only upped the ante in my eyes — I could not stop munching on them all night long.
Halfway through the debate, after tiring from messy tacos and creating broken-shelled taco/nacho plates, I invented what I think was something revolutionary. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before, but as I was snacking on a handful of Tostitos Scoops, I used the chips to scoop some toppings off of my taco plate and ingeniously combined the two. Using the Tostito Scoop as the taco shell, I filled several Scoops with my favorite taco toppings: taco meat, sour cream, a dab of guacamole and a showering of shredded Mexican cheese and chopped romaine lettuce. My roommate suggested putting the plate of Scoops in the microwave for ten seconds to melt the cheese, and wow, were they good! Not only were they deliciousness in a bite, but they were mess-free! It really was a spec-taco-lar nighttime and watch party snack, despite the rather chaotic debate on TV.
- 1 bag Tostitos Scoops
- 1 lb sour cream — just in case!
- 1 lb guacamole
- 1 lb salsa
- 1 bag (2 cups) shredded Mexican cheese
- 1 bag shredded romaine lettuce
- 1 lb ground beef — for tacos, we used 2 lb ground beef, but for this simple snack, all you need is 1 lb.
Ingredients for meat seasoning:
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
Instructions for meat seasoning:
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Use immediately or cover and refrigerate.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Saute 1 lb ground beef until cooked halfway through. Then add 2 tablespoons of the meat seasoning and combine thoroughly. Cook until meat is cooked through.
- Fill Tostito Scoops with meat mixture.
- Top Scoops with desired toppings.
- Sprinkle Scoops with cheese.
- Place on a pan and bake in a preheated oven for 2-3 minutes, or until Tostito Scoops turn slightly brown and the cheese completely melts.
- Let cool for 5 minutes.
Isabella Xu is a junior in the McDonough School of Business. Homemade Gourmet appears online every other week.