The Essential Taco


I love those fancy-schmancy tacos, but sometimes that's not what my family or I want. Sometimes we want, well, The Essential Taco. My husband and sons love those taco seasoning packets that are all over the supermarket, but I'm not too fond of all of that sodium. So with the men in my life in mind, I set out to make my special seasoning. I used a little of this and a little of that, I came up with the most delicious tacos, ever. With a three thumbs up rating plus mine making four, in my home, this is as good as it gets. This recipe feeds a crowd, but you can half it or serve tacos one night and a taco salad another night during the week.


Ingredients for The Essential Taco:

yields 20 - 24 tacos


Meat:

3 pounds lean ground beef, I used 90% lean

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1 large onion finely chopped, about 1 1/2 cups

1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped

1/2 green bell pepper finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cans tomato sauce

3/4 cup water

2 bay leaves

24 crunchy taco shells

shredded lettuce

diced tomatoes

shredded cheddar cheese

diced red onions


Seasoning Mix:

4 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons ancho chili powder

2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1 teaspoon kosher salt


Time-Saving Tips: The vegetables can be chopped a few hours in advance. The taco filling can be fully cooked, cooled, and refrigerated for up to 2 days before serving. To reheat, remove from the refrigerator and let sit for 30 minutes; gently heat in a 325-degree oven or on the stove.

Let's see what we need.

We're ready to cook.



Combine the ingredients for the seasoning and set aside.


Add the oil, onions, and peppers to a 12-inch pan. Cook for 5-6 minutes until the vegetables have softened. Now add the spice mixture and the garlic. Stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes.


Combine the meat with the vegetable mixture. Using a wooden spoon break up the meat as you stir. Once it is fully coated, and the meat is no longer pink pour in the sauce, water, and the bay leaves. Cook for 15 minutes until the liquid has reduced. If it still seems liquidy, reduce some more. If making the filling in advance, transfer it to a pot or large bowl, cool and refrigerate.


Now you're ready to build the tacos. Warm the shell either in the oven or microwave. And then fill them up. I like to start with meat, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and onions.


They're ready! These are really the best tacos. They're simple, perfect and ideal for a crowd. Say goodbye to the seasoning packet and hello to the best tacos ever.


Enjoy!



The Essential Taco:

main dish


yields 20 - 24 tacos


  • Meat:

  • 3 pounds lean ground beef, I used 90% lean

  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

  • 1 large onion finely chopped, about 1 1/2 cups

  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped

  • 1/2 green bell pepper finely chopped

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 1/2 cans tomato sauce

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 24 crunchy taco shells

  • shredded lettuce

  • diced tomatoes

  • shredded cheddar cheese

  • diced red onions


  • Seasoning Mix:

  • 4 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  • Combine the ingredients for the seasoning and set aside.

  • Add the oil, onions, and peppers to a 12-inch pan. Cook for 5-6 minutes until the vegetables have softened. Now add the spice mixture and the garlic. Stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes.

  • Combine the meat with the vegetable mixture. Using a wooden spoon break up the meat as you stir. Once it is fully coated, and the meat is no longer pink pour in the sauce, water, and the bay leaves. Cook for 15 minutes until the liquid has reduced. If it still seems liquidy, reduce some more. If making the filling in advance, transfer it to a pot or large bowl, cool and refrigerate.

  • Now you're ready to build the tacos. Warm the shell either in the oven or microwave. And then fill them up. I like to start with meat, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and onions.

  • Time-Saving Tips: The vegetables can be chopped a few hours in advance. The taco filling can be fully cooked, cooled, and refrigerated for up to 2 days before serving. To reheat, remove from the refrigerator and let sit for 30 minutes; gently heat in a 325-degree oven or on the stove.



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