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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

This post is part of a sponsored campaign with JCPenney to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. #SoWorthIt

Anyone looking at my boys and I would never guess that we’re Latino. We don’t look Latino, our Spanish is not what one would call “bueno” and we don’t live anywhere near my Latino family. That’s why it’s so important to me to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. I want them to know what a great thing it is to be Latino and why we need to celebrate our culture.

I’m always looking for ways to share our culture and one of the easiest and most impactful for us is through books, movies and food – mostly food. I love to cook the meals my mother made for me and share stories while I do it.

Picadillo tacos

There is this one thing my mother would make for us growing up that I’ve been dying to make my boys. I joke about it every time they complain that I’m making the same thing over and over again for dinner. I tell them that they have no idea what over and over again really means. My mom would make Picadillo – ground beef with onions and potatoes – as a base for everything. On Monday she would use it to fill tacos. On Tuesday it would become the second layer of a tostada (after the bean layer) and on Wednesday it would go inside of an enchilada. If there were any left on Thursday, we would eat it with tortillas. And very last resort, it would be cooked inside a quesadilla. I hated it so much as a kid. But now, after all of these years, I love it, especially in tacos.

I’ve never made it for my boys because up until recently they wouldn’t eat potatoes unless they were French fries. Plus my cheap pans are getting old and cleaning them has become such a hassle. JCPenney was kind enough to give me a $50 giftcard to buy cooking supplies. I spent quite a bit of time in the cookware section of the JCPenney in Culver City and was determined to find the perfect pan.

JCPenney Housewares

It needed to be a non-stick frying pan, but one big enough to be “the pan I cook everything in.” The perfect pan was this Cuisinart 12″ deep fry pan with cover. It was originally $70, but it was on sale. Then I was given a coupon at checkout and ended up paying around $38. It’s a beautiful pan and the perfect size.

Frying Pan from JCPenney

There’s nothing like a new non-stick pan. I used it to sauté half of a large white onion and a russet potato.

Potatoes and onions for picadillo

Then I added a pound of ground beef and garlic salt.

Cooking up Picadillo for tacos

Once it was cooked, I put the picadillo in a bowl, and quickly and easily cleaned out the pan. I added vegetable oil and turned the heat up to high.

Picadillo in taco

I don’t usually fry my tacos, but that’s how my mother used to make them and you can’t argue with perfection. My boys stood around and watched while I told them to stand back to avoid the meat popping in the hot oil and getting them in the eye. My mother has scars on her arms from frying tacos.

Frying in the pan

As I filled the corn tortilla with picadillo and dipped it into the hot oil, we chatted about what it was like for me growing up in Tucson and the food my mother made me that she learned to make from her mother.

Once the tacos turned a golden brown color, I placed them on a plate lined with paper towels. Then I filled them with cheese and lettuce.

picadillo-tacos-with-cheese-and-lettuce

My older son loved them and used words like “amazing” and “more” while my younger son said, “don’t ever make these again.” He didn’t like that they were fried. Even if everyone didn’t love dinner, I loved that cooking started a conversation about our culture plus they got to see all of the labor and love that goes into making a good taco.

This post is part of a sponsored campaign with JCPenney to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. #SoWorthIt

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