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Tex-Mex Buffet

February 04, 2007

4 to 6 large flour tortillas
4 to 6 corn taco shells
2 cups cooked rice (brown rice for a healthier touch)
15-ounce can pinto or Goya-brand pink beans, drained and rinsed
4 to 6 ounces grated Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
4 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
2 to 3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
15-ounce jar salsa
Low-fat sour cream and chopped hot peppers, for garnish
1 pound ground beef
Packet of taco seasoning
1 avocado
1 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Arrange tortillas and taco shells on a baking sheet. Set aside.

Place the rice, beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, salsa and sour cream, and hot peppers (if using) in individual bowls and arrange them on the table.

In a large skillet over medium heat, saut the beef until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. If the meat is particularly lean, consider adding 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the pan to avoid sticking.

Add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions.

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Slice, peel and pit the avocado. Place the flesh in a bowl and mash with a fork. Squeeze in the juice of half the lime, then season with salt and pepper. Stir in a bit of the tomato and onion, then add more lime juice and salt, if desired.

Meanwhile, place the baking sheet of tacos in the oven. Set a griddle or large dry skillet over medium heat.One at a time, warm the tortillas, about 30 seconds per side.

Heat the beans in the microwave for 1 minute. Remove the tacos from the oven when just warm and crisped. Transfer the beef to a serving bowl.

Serve everything buffet-style.

Serves 4.

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