Diary of a Non-Cook: Mexican Food + Pinterest

Oh, of course my creations are via Pinterest.Does that even surprise you these days? I was perusing Pinterest for some cooking inspiration and I thought to look at older pins, which of course I had never tried. Lo and behold, I found a good pin: 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Steak Fajitas! I then got bold and decided we couldn’t have fajitas without Spanish Rice (it is ignorantly labeled Mexican Rice by the creator) so I found a recipe (re: pin) for that too. It was just going to be dinner for J and I, but the crockpot makes so much I decided to invite Care and her lil fellas over for some dinner and our annual Halloween cupcake baking and decorating (and eating too obviously).

One would have thought I would have been a little worried about trying TWO new recipes for people other than J, especially when Care is super picky. But I wasn’t. I am pretty confident when I follow a recipe. That, and Round Table is one call and a few blocks away.

I can’t be too sure, but I think I might have been looking at Paleo style meals when I was looking for the fajitas recipe. Or I was looking for crockpot + easy recipes, I cannot remember for the life of me. Any who, this recipe from Fit Slow Cooker Queen met all my requirements – minimal ingredients, quick, and easy!

Pic via Fit Slow Cooker Queen

I had most of the seasoning ingredients at the house. Another thing that drew me to the recipe was that she provided a fajita seasoning recipe too — which you can totally use for taco meat and other stuff too. She also suggests you can switch out the beef for chicken if you’d like. Please visit her site directly, but here is the recipe which I’ve borrowed from her website:

Pic via Fit Slow Cooker Queen

The few seasonings I needed I either grabbed from Trader Joe’s or the Sac Co-op. If it was a seasoning I’d probably use again, I looked for it at TJ’s. But if it was something I wouldn’t use often, then I grabbed it in the fresh seasoning section at the Co-Op, its cheap and fresh. I should really shop for all seasonings there, but I don’t want to have to buy holders and little baggies of seasoning is not convenient.

Love my Pampered Chef mini bowls (and their lids)!

All the other ingredients for the fajitas were purchased at Safeway. I was looking to be economical with the beef, which is why I chose to purchase that at Safeway. I also spoke with the butcher and he recommended I get the value beef, since the recipe called for 2lbs. He showed me some with a rib and said it was fine to throw that in the crockpot. I think he was a little confused, as he said carnitas and fajitas were the same. I didn’t correct him, but I just took his advice on the economical beef selection. When I got home, despite being completely grossed out, I cut the beef into strips, fajita like. I didn’t want it to be shredded for some reason. Call me picky.

Knowing my crockpot cooks crazy fast, I knew I didn’t need 8hrs time, I figured 4hrs would suffice. I decided to throw everything in around lunch time and set it on high, then I’d turn it down to low after four or five hours, depending on how cooked the beef appeared.

I was worried it would dry out like a recipe did before, so after I added the jar of salsa, I added a little bit of water to make sure all of the meat and veggies were submerged in liquid. Then it cooked.

The house smelled so amazing, it didn’t take long for the fragrance to permeate every inch of our downstairs. It cooked nicely and it smelled so tasty (if I do say so myself). I stirred it a few times, which probably isn’t necessary, but I did it anyway.

A lil too much liquid, probably should have drained it some…

I also picked up some TJ’s flour tortillas (the best, besides the ones from MX), sour cream, and the Mexican cheese blend to have for dinner. It wasn’t until much later did I start on the Spanish Rice. I planned it to be ready and warm when Care and the boys came over.

Hindsight is always a B! I should have used a larger pan for the rice! Oh well, I’ll definitely be making this again and now know for next time around. I followed Kristyn’s recipe from Lil’ Luna. I decided to skip the cilantro and I don’t have garlic pepper (or even knew that was a thing). I also used the TJ’s pre minced garlic, not fresh. Sue me 😉

Pic via Lil Luna

I’ve always been hesitant to try Spanish Rice, but it turned out pretty good. It could have been more flavorful, but it was fluffy, the right color, and didn’t taste bad. I’ll take that as a win. I was even complimented on it by Care! I failed and didn’t take that many pics of the final outcomes, but everything tasted delish!

When they all got there we started the cupcakes, Levi was my sous chef. Then we set them to bake and we devoured dinner. Once they were done we let the cupcakes cool and we hung out with the lovebugs until it was time to decorate.

Our spread! {The beans look gross.}

Love keeping our Halloween tradition alive. This year we actually celebrated in October, not September! Haha!

Not gonna lie, I’m pretty proud of this dinner. I tried two recipes in one evening. Some may mock this or my abilities, but I’m happily proud of myself. I’m also glad I was able to cook for others and have a fun evening of making memories with my lovebugs. I’m sure they won’t remember nights of decorating cupcakes, but I know they will remember I was there to spend time with them. That’s all the matters. The cupcakes are just a bonus!
Baller-on-a-budget for halloween cupcakes: JoAnn’s discounts all of their halloween cupcake decorating tools, sprinkles, and such during the middle of October. They were 60% off. I bought some for decorating cupcakes and cookies, which we did the next weekend! Also, you can be extra Halloweener and buy the Funfetti halloween packaging too.
Halloween is for adults too!

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