I really want one of these. I thought I would share that before I talk about tacos and zucchini and please-pass-me-a-sugar-packet-now hotness!
My dad doesn't like vegetables. He just doesn't and hasn't his entire life. He’s very fit and in good health, though! He's in his 70’s, a runner and, in fact, has run several marathons. He goes for his annual physicals and is always pronounced in stellar shape. I swear I didn't come up with this recipe to trick him into eating his vegetables! Actually, I was trying to reduce the number of Weight Watchers points in the recipe for Willie's and my sake. But, I have to admit something...when I served the tacos, I didn't tell my dad about the zucchini (I really didn't think he would notice). And guess what? He didn't! However, he did compliment me on the delicious taco meat. At that point, I told him about the zucchini and he was astonished! I think you will be, as well!
The ground beef in this recipe gives the meat mixture the texture your brain needs to associate it with a meat dish. I've used as much as 25% ground beef and 75% zucchini and somehow it still tastes like 100% ground beef! Try it and see what you think!
Oh, and by the way, when I say the taco seasoning is super hot, I mean it. Willie and my dad like it HOT! If you can eat a fresh jalapeno with the seeds intact, you can handle this spice mix. Otherwise, reduce and omit as indicated below. Hey, and the Kary's Dry Roux? It has onion and garlic powder, so it provides flavor, but it also thickens the sauce made by the seasoning mix. You can try this seasoning mix without it, but it's not as good. You can try it both with and without the roux if you want and if you do, let me know what you think. I already know what you'll say!
Kary’s Roux Super Hot Zucchini & Beef Tacos
Kary’s Roux Super Hot Taco Seasoning Mix:
4 Tablespoons chili powder
2 Tablespoons Kary's Dry Roux
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 Tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Combine all spices in a bowl and stir thoroughly. It can be used right away or stored for later use. You can make the mix less spicy by reducing the cayenne pepper to 1/2 teaspoon and omitting the crushed red pepper flakes.
Zucchini & Beef Taco Meat:
Any 2-pound combination of shredded zucchini and lean ground beef (I used 1 pound 4 ounces shredded zucchini and 12 ounces of lean ground beef)
3/4 cup water
One recipe of Kary’s Roux Super Hot Taco Seasoning Mix
Brown ground beef. Add zucchini (if using), 3/4 cup water, and the taco seasoning. Stir and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or as long as it takes to cook the water out of the beef mixture. If you use zucchini, it will take longer because there is so much moisture in zucchini. Serve on tacos, a taco salad, burritos or any other way you’d like to use it!
P.S. Did you know putting sugar on your tongue takes away the heat? Well, it does! Try it when you're in a restaurant that has sugar packets on the table, because ripping open a sugar packet in public and pouring it on your tongue is somehow more satisfying than spooning it on at home alone.
P.P.S. My neighbors hate vegetables, possibly even more than my dad. I had them taste-test this recipe for me. One loves spicy food and one doesn't. One cried and one loved the major heat factor, but they both loved the fact that zucchini was in the taco meat and they couldn't tell. I know you people don't believe me! You will just have to try this and find out for yourselves! Let me know what you think!