Friday, May 18, 2007

Ground Beef Tacos

I have been craving tacos all day, and even at one point was in the drive through line at Taco Bell when I came to my senses and turned around. But still, I couldn't get tacos out of my head.

So after a good rummaging through my pantry and fridge, I discovered I had everything I needed to make Gringo Tacos. These are called Gringo Tacos or Americanized Tacos, because I don't think I am alone in saying this is what I ate for dinner while growing up every 2 weeks or so when Taco Night came up in the rotation. These are probably what a lot of Americans think of when they think of tacos...and that's not a bad thing.

These tacos are all-American, easy to make and while they do not resemble carne asada street tacos, carnitas tacos, tacos del camaron (shrimp) or any other of my more authentic favorites from Mexican cuisine, these are comfort food in the best way, and depending on how spicy you make the meat and what you top them with, I can almost bet every child or adult will love these.

Gringo Ground Beef Tacos:
(makes 12 tacos)

1 lb ground beef, thawed if frozen
12 taco size corn tortillas (doesn't hurt to have extra)
Olive oil (as needed)
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Chili Powder (1 tsp to 2 tbs, depends on taste)
Cayenne Pepper (about a tsp, or to taste)
Ground Cumin (about 1 tbs)
Dash Cinnamon (literally just a dash)
Ground dried oregano (about a tsp)
Taco sauce (to taste, let everyone serve themselves, I like Tapatio)
Chopped fresh lettuce (about a cup)
Grated cheese (about a cup)

Rub or spray tortillas with olive oil, hang upside down over 1 or 2 bars in your oven rack to form a taco shape. Bake at 350 until crisp and beginning to brown. Meanwhile, cook beef in a saute pan with spices and seasonings until browned and fully cooked. Grate cheese and have chopped lettuce ready. Fill taco shells with meat, top with cheese, then lettuce and taco sauce to taste. Serve immediately.


Lis said...

Mmmm tacos. I was just thinking about them yesterday when I was wondering what I'd make for dinner! I also was thinking of heading to Taco Bell at lunch time, but I managed to stop myself. hehe

We didn't have any - but now that I see yours (gorgeous!) I wish we had.. course there's always tonight. :D

Freya said...

Kirsten, I was literally cursing myself out for forgetting to pick up taco shells at the supermarket (and veggie mince as I don't like hamburger, ironic considering our current foodie event) and now this! I am going to go out right now and get the necessary supplies!

Kirsten said...

Hi Lis! Tooo funny re: Taco Bell. :)

Every day is a good day for tacos.

Freya - yes, you MUST get the taco fixings. What exactly is veggie mince - is it soy-based? Is it texturized vegetable protein made to look like ground beef? As long as you like it and it tastes good. :)

Deborah said...

I love these tacos - I too, grew up on many of these. I hate to admit it, but it these are really good with a slice of the processed American cheese - definitely Americanized that way!!!

jon said...

The genius tip is your shell.

I usually buy the store bought kind (blah) or use flour torillas for soft tacos.

And here's the rub: I've worked in 2 Mexican restaurants and we always made the shells by dunking corn tortillas in hot oil, which is fine when making hundreds - but kind of a pain when you just want a few at home. Who wants to heat up a vat of oil to make 6 taco shells? When I saw your pics, the first thing I thought was "how did she get those authentic shells at home?"

It never occured to me that you can simply oil them up and bake them on the oven rack.


Peabody said...

Have you ever made deep fried tacos? Those are the best. I had several students whos mom's made them that way and they were so good, I don't like tacos any other way now. Of course, a low fat food :)

Unknown said...

Hi Kirsten, I've been a lurker for some time now. I saw some of your postings on the Southwest bb's and started reading your blog. I began reading other blogs and you inspired me to start my own. I just wanted to say hello and introduce myself!

Kirsten said...

Hi Deborah! With Grigo tacos, American cheese is perfect!! If I had some on hand I may have used it. :)

Jon - too funny re: the shells. That was exactly my issue - why heat a quart of oil to make 2 tacos? :) But Peabody is right, deep fried is sooooooooo good.

Hi Christine! Welcome!! Thanks for posting a comment and welcome to the food blogging world. Can't wait to check out your blog - and it sounds like you may be a fellow Arizonan or close by?

Anonymous said...

Yep...these are in our 2 week rotation and they were as well when I was growing up. I love a good "Gringo" taco!