So we had our first official family taco night at our house tonight. It's probably been a good three years since I made traditional beef tacos (something I LOVED as a kid), so clearly my 5 year old has no memory of this. We talked this up big, my husband and I, telling her how fun it is to get to choose what goes on your taco, etc. She was really excited by this 'event' because she woke up this morning, ran into my room, and shouted "Happy Taco Night!" It became clear to me as the day went on that she thought this was a holiday or something, that everyone in the world was surely enjoying tacos on this day (ie: "Mom, is Ella having tacos tonight?"). Leave it to this child to make everything into a celebration. I am pretty sure she has a future as one awesome event planner. Anyway, she excitedly devoured THREE tacos on this date. Her tacos included meat, refried beans (I had some of those awesome homemade refried beans in the freezer), cheese, and sour cream. I sat elated and stunned as I watched my incredibly picky, keep-all-food-separate-kid annihilate her tacos. OK, so the point of the post is not that my picky kid ate tacos, but rather that I'd like to suggest you consider making your own taco seasoning. It is cheap, it is fast, it is WAY better for you (no MSG and other junk that really isn't necessary), and most importantly--it tastes better. This one from Mel is my go-to (was my go to in years past, I mean, and it is going to resume its status on the next taco holiday in my home). Give it a try, you won't go back to the packet of orange powder again. I promise.
The Best Beef Tacos
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 to 3 garlic cloves (I like 3)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced fine, or a few slices of pickled jalapenos (I had those on hand from the black eyed pea dip the other day, so used them)
- Taco shells
- Taco garnishes of your choosing (Me? I like chopped romaine, cheese, salsa, chopped tomatoes, black olives, and sour cream thankyouverymuch. Chips and guac on the side never hurt anyone on a Friday night. Oh, and a Corona would be lovely. Yes to the lime.)
In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and chopped onion. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat into smaller chunks, until it is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Off the heat, drain the grease from the meat (I personally sop anything up with paper towels if there is anything at all to deal with). Return the skillet to the heat and stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Cook for about 30 seconds and then add the tomato sauce and jalapeno. Turn the heat to low and simmer the meat mixture for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can add a splash of water if it gets too thick and starts to stick. Serve in taco shells with your choice of toppings. Allow me to suggest a taco shell, if I may?
This is what my mom always bought growing up. Little did I know they were made down the road from us in Gladstone, MO! They are cheap, thin, crisp, and on the small side (think Chipotle-sized shells). This makes them perfect for little hands. Heat 'em up for 10 minutes on a baking sheet at 200 degrees for some taco shell perfection. I got these at Hy-Vee.