A new project with my little cousin Aash turned out really well! We first made a spaghetti volcano last year, so we had to top it this time and made a nacho volcano and taco train!
Let’s get right into it; here’s how we made our spaghetti volcano.
Total time: 1 hour, including assembly and cooking time
- 1 x 8+1/2-inch pylon from Dollarama or Dollar Tree, or a similar store in your location
- 1 x plastic serving tray (also purchased at the dollar store)
- Aluminum foil
- Large paper like shown
- Scissors or a knife strong enough to cut thick plastic
- Child-friendly taco recipe for 4-6 (we made chicken and vegan versions)
- 10 hard shell corn tacos
- 1 large seedless cucumber, sliced in thick slices for wheels with the centers taken out
- 2 large carrots, peeled, sliced and cut approximately 2-inches long
- String cheese/vegan string cheese
- 1 small cheese block/vegan cheese block, cubed
- 1 jar of cheese spread/vegan spread
- Salsa, homemade or bought
- 600mls of tomato sauce (to pour down the volcano if you don’t want to waste salsa)
- Optional: parsley, olives, peppers or whatever you want to add to the nachos or tacos
- 500 g of extra-lean ground chicken and/or extra-firm tofu (ground meat cooks faster, and I wanted this to go as quickly as possible!) there will be some leftover, you can add to the nachos
- 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 of a small onion, finely diced
- 2 teaspoons of paprika, ground
- 1 tablespoon of cumin, ground
- 1 tablespoon of chili powder
- 2 teaspoons of fresh oregano, minced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 24 mini Roma tomatoes, some cut in half (some for the taco and 4 whole ones to make the people)
- 1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 cup of fresh basil (whole for decoration)
- 1/4 cup of corn kernels
- 1/4 cup of peas
- 1/4 cup or whatever is leftover of the carrots, diced
- Juice from 1/2 of a fresh lime
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Combine the lime, salt, pepper, garlic, onions, cumin, paprika and oregano and rub it over the chicken or tofu and let sit to marinate a bit. I prefer to marinate them for at least an hour while putting together the project base, but sometimes there’ s simply no time so you can let sit for a few minutes.
- Heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Add in the chicken or tofu; cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add in the vegetables and continue to cook until done, about another 5 minutes.
- Remove everything from the pan and let stand 5 minutes.
- While the chicken or tofu is cooking, combine the mango and remaining ingredients.
- Warm the tacos and top with chicken or tofu, cilantro, and salsa. Make sure the toppings are even.
Approximate nutrition information for two tacos (Based on brands and amounts used in this recipe)
- Calories: with chicken: 328 | with tofu: 286
- Fat: with chicken: 9.3g | with tofu: 10.4g
- Carbs: with chicken: 34g | 36g with tofu
- Protein: with chicken: 42.4g | 29g with tofu
You can do this part while the food is marinating and cooking.
- Cut about 2-4 inches off the top of the pylon to make a flat surface.
- After washing and drying the pylon and tray, cover the entire pylon in aluminum foil.
- Place the pylon covered in foil in the center of the tray, wide part down.
- Pour the strained tomatoes (or salsa if you decide to use it instead) down the covered pylon.
- Add the nachos and any options you choose (olives, ground meat/tofu).
- Put the salsa and cheese spread in bowls around the base.
To make the tracks
- Take the string cheese and peel it in quarters.
- Lay them flat, end-to-end, as shown in the photo above.
To make the trees
- Take a few tomatoes and cut a little of the rounded top off to flatten them
- Take some of the basil with the stalks still in and stick them in the tomatoes with a toothpick.
- Place them around the tray.
- Use some of the basil leaves off of the stalk and place them around the tray.
To make the people
- Cube the block cheese (2 or 3 per person makes the base more stable).
- Stick in a toothpick through the cheese.
- Take a leafless basil stalk and put it down the toothpick lengthwise for the arms.
- Top with a small tomato for the head.
- Put them to stand up in a taco shell (we called it a train station).
- Cut the cucumbers and take out the center
- Put the carrots through the holes in the cucumber
- Put the assembled tacos onto the carrot sticks
The taco recipe was a hit with everyone! Stay tuned for our next idea!