The scene: Two starving teenagers who swore they hadn't eaten "a single thing!" all day but still had enough energy to get all up in my grill and demand, "What's for dinner?"
The situation: Two days before vacation, with laundry and grocery shopping still to be done, housed cleaned, suitcases filled and the car packed. In the midst of a heat wave. With no air conditioning in the kitchen.
Solution: Giving myself a break by stopping by Kuhn's Market for a rotisserie chicken, and then pairing the shredded meat with Old El Paso's new Stand 'N Stuff Soft Flour Tortillas and Chipotle Mexican Cooking Sauce.
We don't eat a lot of prepared sauces in our house (they're usually too salty or too sweet), but I was hot, short on time and desperate for something quick and easy. I decided on one of my family's perennial favorites, rice bowl soft tacos, using the boat-shaped flour tortillas as the wrapper.
While a mix of brown and white rices bubbled in the rice cooker, I prepared a few toppings: diced tomato and onion, shredded Monterey jack cheese, sliced lettuce, chopped cilantro, a big bowl of sour cream. Then I heated up a package of Old El Paso's Chipotle Mexican Cooking Sauce in a frying pan, and stirred in the shredded chicken. It took all of 10 minutes.
Everyone got to assemble his or her own taco: A little rice, some meat, a drizzle of sour cream and whatever veggies looked good. More sour cream. Then we ate, sweat dripping off our noses. There were no leftovers.
In its release, Old El Paso claims the tortillas -- $2.79 for an 8-pack -- will "revolutionize taco night" with its patented boat-like design. Tacos, it pointed out, "are notorious for making a serious mess, which means that the fun of family taco night often falls apart the moment the taco does." Not so with these babies, which stand up on your plate for easy filling and hold together for every enjoyable bite.
"It was really easy to eat. I didn't spill anything anywhere," exclaimed one daughter. "The package tells the truth!"
"I would definitely buy them again," her twin agreed.
In other words, they were a hit.
Though it wasn't as bold and flavorful as my homemade red chile sauce, the sauce -- packaged in an 8-ounce pourable bag, enough for eight servings -- wasn't bad, either. In fact, it's perfectly acceptable for those times when you want to cut corners but still get something relatively tasty on the table for the kids.
In addition to Chipotle, Old El Paso's Mexican Cooking Sauces ($2.49) come in two more flavors: Chile & Roasted Garlic and Roasted Tomato. We'll be trying both on vacation.
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