Tacos have always been an all time favorite food of mine. Growing up in California, taco stands and Mexican style restaurants can be found just about everywhere. When you have picky eaters in the family (like my boys), it is hard to cook meals every night that satisfy all the varying taste buds in the household. Tacos are one food that are easy to modify and can even double up as family fun DIY food activity.
Having a “Taco Tuesday” night, or any other taco night of the week is really quick & easy to prepare for, plus it offers a variety of healthy meat and veggie options for the whole family to choose from.
Here are the basic things you will need:
Taco Shells: You can use either the regular hard corn shells or flour tortillas for a “soft” taco. These can easily be purchased from most grocery stores. You can also make your own taco shell by using maize flour or white flour – but this takes much more effort.
Taco Filling: For the taco filling you can use a meat, bean and/or grilled vegetable filling. The most common filling is cooked minced beef, although there are so many different varieties you can come up with. Here are a few ideas for the filling: Meat (minced, shredded or thin sliced) – beef, fish, chicken, pork. Beans – refried, pinto, black, etc. Vegetables – grilled eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini,etc. Feel free to get creative and mix a few things together.
Toppings – Cut Veggies & Cheese: The most common vegetable toppings are uncooked lettuce, tomatoes, olives & green onions. You can also try adding baby spinach, corn, jalapenos, flax/chia seeds for a little extra crunch. Almost any cheese is acceptable for a taco, however the most common cheese in tacos are Montery Jack, Manchego, Colby, Asadero and Cheddar.
Sauces/Condiments: The usual taco condiments (for lack of a better word) are sour cream, avocado, guacamole, salsa and/or Mexican style hot sauce.
Super Note: There is no fixed recipe for making the perfect taco. Each week your Taco Tuesday can be different fillings and toppings. It is up to you to decide what works best for you family.
Super Taco Prep Tips:
How to Make Taco Beef: You will need minced beef, onion, garlic, salt & pepper. Diced green chilies, red chili powder and/or taco seasoning are optional. The garlic & onion give the beef flavor, so make sure to add a lot.
Super Tip: When cooking any type of meat for tacos, think “Mexican” not “Asian”. Mexican spices and vegetables used in everyday cooking are different then what we normally use for Asian style cooking. For example, do not use soy sauce, chinese rice wine, oyster sauce, black bean sauce, etc. to season the meat. Instead opt for paprika, jalapenos, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, onions.
Add Taco Seasoning. For extra flavor, use a taco seasoning mixed spices packet. Super Note: You don’t have to use the whole packet, a little goes a long way.
Add Hidden Veggies. Cook your meat with vegetables mixed in and the kids will never know.
Do Not Over Stuff. Be careful not to over stuff your taco, otherwise the shell will break. Also, make sure your ingredients, with the exception of the condiments are dry (no sauce or water), otherwise the shell will get soggy and drip
Spice it Up. Make sure to use a Mexican or Spanish style hot sauce. Do not use Asian brand chili sauce, unless you are making Asian style tacos. This will change the whole Mexican style flavor. Jalapeno’s and green chilies are also a great addition for those of you that want spicer tacos.
Make a Salad. Any leftover ingredients can be used to make a lunch taco salad the next day, or if you are on a low carb diet you can eat a hearty salad for dinner and the kids can eat tacos.
Setting Up your Taco Station
Once you have all your fillings & toppings, set up all the ingredients in an assembly style so that the tacos are easy to make.
If you have small kids, I would recommend having a grownup help fill the tacos with the ingredients, otherwise older kids can do-it-themselves and add the toppings on their own.
More Easy Tex-Mex Recipes
And just in case you want some more Mexican flavor, check out my “7 Layer Dip” recipe (a definite crowd party pleaser)…
or my Tex-Mex “Naked Fish Fajitas” recipe (a low -carb, healthy meal),
or my yummy “Chunky Guacamole Recipe” (great for adults & kids).
Hope you and your family enjoy your Taco Tuesday! Leave me a comment below and let me know how it goes. Happy cooking & eating. 🙂