Welcome to Panini Press, District’s new cooking column designed to provide you with fresh, healthy and delicious recipes ideal for your tiny apartment kitchen or dorm room microwave.

Of course, there is no better way to christen a college dining column than with tacos! Pico de Gallo, beef tacos, Spanish rice, and brownies make up this tasty taco Tuesday meal for you and your friends.

The entire meal serves approximately four people.


Pico de Gallo:

  • 1 medium tomato, chopped,
  • ½ sweet red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

To avoid excess juice, combine all ingredients in a colander. Serve this tangy garden salsa with tortilla chips or add to tacos.


Beef Tacos:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste

In a saucepan over medium heat, brown meat. Drain excess grease. Add onion and continue to cook (drain again, if necessary). Reduce stove to low heat; add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Use hard or soft taco shells and top to your heart’s delight. Make it your own: increase spices to taste, but don’t forget that the longer the mixture cooks, the stronger the flavor will be.


Simple Spanish Rice:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon white onion
  • ¾ cup uncooked white rice
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup chunky salsa

Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and stir until cooked, approximately 5 minutes. Add rice and stir. Continue cooking the rice until brown. This is not an exact science; the longer you cook the rice the more flavorful it will be, but the greater the risk of accidentally burning it. Once rice is brown, stir in the broth and salsa. Reduce heat and cover, allowing to cook until the liquid is absorbed, approximately 25 minutes. Make it your own: try adding other vegetables, such as corn or peas, to find the perfect blend.


Mexican Spice Brownies:

  • Your favorite brownie mix or recipe
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Make your brownie recipe of choice, adding the extra spices. Cook according to regular directions.