Taco Mania: A Marathon of Taco-Inspired Recipes
What Makes a Great Taco?
- the salty/savory flavor of meat or beans
- earthy flavor of ground cumin
- creamy melted cheese
- crisp fresh shredded lettuce or cabbage
- sweet/tart fresh bits of tomatoes
- briny black olives
- the tang of sour cream
- a kiss of fresh cilantro
- the perfect envelope—soft pillowy flour or crunchy corn tortilla
Have I made you hungry?
But That's Just the Beginning
Tacos can be made in so many different ways. Are you vegetarian? There's a taco recipe for you. Gluten free? Step right up and grab a corn tortilla. Vegan? There are cheese and sour cream substitutes that taste as good as the real thing. Perhaps you are craving breakfast—breakfast tacos are easy to make. Dessert? We've got an app for that!
In fact, the flavors of tacos can go far beyond the "food-in-a-tortilla." Taco pizza, taco burger, taco casseroles, and the list goes on.
So, let's start cooking. I promise that there's something for everyone.
Fun Taco Facts
- October 3 is National Taco Day
- The fish taco originated in Ensenada, Mexico
- Taco Bell began in 1950 as "Bell's Hamburgers and Hot Dogs," in San Bernadino, California. The price of a crisp taco back then was 19 cents.
Mom always told us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (so why do you eat a dry piece of toast and the kids scarf up cereal that is 40-50 percent sugar?). There’s a better way, also known as “Breakfast Tacos.”
If you precook the bacon and potatoes on the weekend and store them in the refrigerator, you can assemble these tacos in just a little more time than it takes to pour cereal and milk into a bowl. I haven’t tried it, but I think you might even be able to precook all of the ingredients (even then eggs), and then just load up the tortillas and zap in the microwave.
Bacon and Potato Tacos (with vegetarian version) (4 servings)
- 4 slices of bacon, diced (see note below for vegetarian option)
- 1 ½ cups frozen cottage fries, defrosted
- 8 small (6-inch) flour tortillas (we like the whole wheat ones)
- 8 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 avocado, diced
- Salsa (garnish)
- Place diced bacon in cold nonstick skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Move from skillet with slotted spoon and set aside.
- In same pan cook cottage fries, stirring often, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the same plate as the bacon. Wipe skillet clean.
- Whisk eggs in a medium-sized bowl. Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Cook eggs, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula until large curds form and eggs are just barely set, about 2-3 minutes.
- Wrap tortillas in paper towels. Warm in microwave 1 minute.
- Evenly divide the eggs and fill the warmed tortillas. Top eggs with bacon/potato mixture (reheat in microwave if previously cooked and stored in the refrigerator).
- Add cheese and avocado to filled tortillas.
- Fold in sides of tortillas, roll up and serve.
- You can spoon the salsa into the tortillas before you roll them up, or use as a dip.
NOTE: If you want a vegetarian version, simply omit the bacon and warm 1/2 can of rinsed drained black beans; stir in 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin.
Jenn is the person behind the blog MotherThyme.com. She lets visitors to her page know that she is "...a wife and a super blessed mommy of 6 year old twins. We live in beautiful western New York. I love good food, good wine and lots of coffee!"
Jenn makes tasty meals for her family, documents them in her blog, and (lucky for us) takes amazing photographs of all of those yummy things. She made a taco casserole that is very much like something that I cook for my family, but she was quicker to grab the camera than I. So I share her photo, and recipe for Cheesy Taco Casserole, with you.
Holly Lofthouse is a recipe creator for Pillsbury, so she is no stranger to cooking in the kitchen and creating new and interesting flavor combinations. She began her blog in September 2010. Her Doritos Taco Salad is inspiration for the recipe below.
- 1 pound lean (93 percent) ground turkey
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 romaine lettuce hearts, rinsed and chopped
- 1/2 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
- 1 large avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup chopped black olives
- 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 cup low-salt broken tortilla chips
- 1 cup ranch-style dressing
- Crumble ground turkey into skillet; cook over medium-high heat until it begins to brown. Add dry seasonings (chili powder through oregano) and stir. Add water and simmer, stirring constantly, until liquid in pan evaporates. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl combine lettuce, black beans, tomatoes, avocado, and black olives. Toss to combine. Add cooked meat and cheese and toss to combine.
- If salad will be served later, cover and refrigerate. Add chips and dressing and gently toss to combine just before serving.
- If serving immediately, add the crushed chips and salad dressing; toss gently to combine. (I prefer the flavors of the salad when it is NOT chilled).
The dough for this pizza does include yeast, but it isn't the typical mix-knead-proof-punch down-shape-let rise again pizza dough. I'm guessing that is why so many people shy away from making pizza at home. This dough is quick (moments, not hours) and easy (no kneading or proofing involved).
Ingredients for Pizza Crust
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon dry cumin
- 1/2 tsp. dry oregano
Instructions for Pizza Crust
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
- Place warm water in large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast over and stir just to moisten. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir quickly to mix thoroughly. Let dough rest 5 minutes.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead about 10 times. Divide dough in half and place each half in the center of a lightly greased 12-inch pizza pan. Press or roll the dough to the edges. (A lightly-floured pizza roller makes this a cinch!).
Ingredients to Assemble and Bake the Pizza
- 1 can refried beans
- 1 cup salsa (mild, medium or hot depending on how much heat you like)
- 2 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped black olives
- Place ingredients on pizza crusts in the order listed.
- Bake in preheated oven 12 to 15 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.
Quick and Easy Taco Soup
- 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans (I use vegetarian)
- 2 cans (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth
- 1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chilies) OR
- 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes, cut up plus 1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies
- Tortilla chips (for garnish)
- Sour cream (for garnish)
- Diced avocado (for garnish)
Combine the first 5 ingredients in large saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low; simmer for 10 minutes or until heated through. Add a bit of water if soup is too thick (I like THICK soup).
I found these apple pie dessert tacos on TipBuzz.com. They are easy to make (only six ingredients), tasty, and totally addictive. The recipe from TipBuzz recommends caramel sauce and whipped cream. I like salted caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.
Questions & Answers
© 2017 Linda Lum