05 December 2014

"Tico" Tacos

We eat the heck out of some tacos in this family. Mostly bc Ezra will actually eat them, usually without even complaining that he "doesn't like this dinner." They also make a pound of ground beef stretch over at least one round of leftovers.

A word of caution on crunchy taco shells: some of them are GROSS. And pretty much all of them are gross if you don't recrisp them in the oven before eating. We have a toaster oven that we love at least as much as a pet (sorry, Django) and use all the time every day. What I'm saying is, the next toaster that gives out on you, buy a toaster oven. It's what you need if you live where it's miserably hot for half the year. Ours is even mounted under the cabinet, so the countertop is free for storing Stephen's many coffee things  being covered in sugar, coffee grounds and toast crumbs  more food prep.

Not my best friend, but close.
1/2 - 1 tablespoon oil
1 lb ground beef
1 baking potato
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 an onion
1 lime
1 can of unsalted black beans
taco shells (get Taco Bell brand shells if they sell them at your grocery store. They are the legit best.)
shredded cheddar or monterrey jack

I love this dinner because all the prep work I have to do is making sure the beef is at least mostly thawed, chopping a bit of onion, and small-dicing a potato. So I do it during Ezra's nap. If you want to use fresh garlic, mince however much you'd like. I suggest 2 cloves.

About an hour before you eat, heat your oil on at least medium heat and add potatoes. Don't stir them too often, every 5 minutes max. Let them cook until they are almost done (which will take a while, 20-30 mins). Transfer to your toaster oven and bake them at 350 until I say so.

Now you'll brown your beef. Put it in that same pan you had the potatoes in, get it browning, and add the onion & your spices. Some of you may be used to "eyeballing it" on the spices when you season ground beef, and your eyes may bug out when you use this much spice. But if you eyeball it based on what you'd usually use for just a pound of ground beef, your tacos will be super bland, bc you're sticking a whole can of black beans and a whole potato in it. Be brave! Be bold! Push past the fear of over-seasoning!

Use the time the meat takes to open and drain those beans, and rinsing some cilantro. You can either pick off the leaves & just add them for garnish, or you can chop the leaves and stems and add them to your meat riiiight before serving.

Once the meat is cooked, drain the grease if you need to, then add the beans and turn the heat to low. Get those heated and juice your lime over those beautiful taco guts you're making.

Take the potatoes out and start toasting your taco shells. A WORD OF CAUTION: in a toaster oven, taco shells go from this:

to this:

in about 10 actual seconds. So KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR SHELLS. Also maybe buy extras if you have kids because they are so good at being crazy right when you should be trying not to burn your taco shells. #stopthrowingthings

Add the potatoes to your meat & fill up those beautiful, not-burned shells, and sprinkle some cheese on top. You could also add lettuce, tomato, and sour cream, but I think those are for people who don't care enough about meat.

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