Friday, May 31, 2013

Taco Tuesday...on Friday

There has been a taco recipe floating around Pinterest and Facebook recently that looked quite appealing. The main thing that I don't like about making tacos is having to prepare umpteen bowls of the toppings and then trying to cram everything into small, overly-fragile shells that never stand up to their task.

This recipe is clever because you form the shells yourself over the bars of the rack in your oven (which is really quite easy and ultimately much tastier than store bought). Once they are brown and crisp, you stand them up in a baking dish, fill them and top with cheese, and bake them all at once. When you take them out of the oven, you can add a more toppings as you like. I ony made half the recipe because I'm not trying to feed all of the Duggars, but this would be a great recipe for crowd, and easy enough for a weeknight meal.

Oven-Baked Tacos
(Source: adapted from My Fridge Food)

2 lbs. ground beef
1 can refried beans
1 can tomato sauce (I used one cup spicy homemade sauce)
1 packet taco seasoning (I used one tablespoon taco seasoning, plus one teaspoon each chili powder, cumin, and granulated garlic, plus 1/2 teaspoon black pepper)
juice of half a lime, optional
1 oz shredded cheese (um, that must be PER taco!)
12 tortillas/taco shells (I used small flour tortillas)

First, steam the tortillas. Wet some paper towels and wring them out well. Layer the tortillas with the wet paper towels on a plate and then microwave them, six at a time. Keep an eye on them,;it should be about 30 seconds until they are steamed. Then lightly spray each side with cooking spray (I brushed mine with vegetable oil instead) and drape each tortilla over two bars of the oven rack. It is wise to put a baking sheet below them to catch any oil from the cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes. You will be able to tell that they are browning and getting crispy. Take them out and set them aside.

For the filling, brown the ground beef in a large skillet. Completely drain all grease and return to skillet. Over low heat, add refried beans, taco seasoning(s) and the lime juice (if using), and about half to two-thirds of the can of tomato sauce. You can eye this to see what's best--you don’t want the filling to be too runny or your tacos will be soggy on the bottoms. Blend well and scoop into the tacos (which should be “standing” in a lightly greased ovenproof dish). Then just sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

When you remove the tacos from the oven, you can add any other of your favorite toppings. I used sour cream, olives, green onions, lettuce, and tomatoes. OLE'!

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