I know what you're going to have for dinner, or at least what I had for dinner—cheap-ass burritos, a.k.a. the burritos most of us grew up eating, minus the disturbing orange grease.

Tonight's recipe is inspired by taco recipes on Good Eats and America's Test Kitchen, with modifications made due to my laziness:

Start off by making a taco seasoning mix (I did this because I couldn't find it at the store, and I'm pretty glad I couldn't). Here's Alton Brown's recipe, which I used: 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 tablespoon cumin, 2 teaspoons each of kosher salt and cornstarch, 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika (the recipe calls for hot, smoked paprika, but I just have regular), 1 teaspoon coriander, and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne. Put it in an airtight container and shake to combine.

Next, chop an onion pretty fine, and mince some garlic, also fine. Set aside the garlic, then add part of the onion (as much as you reckon you'll need for the amount of meat you cook) to a pan with some vegetable oil over medium heat. Add some of the taco seasoning—again, based on how much meat you're going to cook—and cook along with the onion until the onion is softened and...I guess translucent, although it's hard to see when it's coated with the spices. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds to a minute.

Now, add the meat. Here's how you avoid the revolting orange grease scenario—use lean ground beef (the version I used was about 95% lean). Add it to the onions, garlic, and spices and cook for about five minutes, or until browned nicely. Then pour in some chicken stock (low sodium...of course, if you've been listening to me at all over the past few months, that shouldn't be a problem) and cook it down until it's got a nice, glaze-like consistency. Pour it into a bowl (I suppose you don't have to do that, but it makes it easier to avoid adding what little grease remains to the finished product).


Now, assembly. Take the cheese sauce of you're choice (if you're ICN as a kid, it's Velveeta mixed with picante sauce) and microwave it for about 30 seconds. Then take out the cheese sauce and put in a couple of cheap-ass tortillas and cook them for about the same amount of time. Then spoon on the seasoned meat, top with cheese sauce (and some lettuce, I guess, if you want to feel like it's less of a nutritional catastrophe), and you've got the kind of meal that, when I was a kid, got us so excited that "Burrito Night" was announced weeks in advance because my brother and I would probably have hyperventilated if we came home to find them as a surprise.*


*-I am only slightly exaggerating about the presumed reaction, but we were usually given plenty of advance notification of when Burrito Night was coming.