This recipes is an adaption of the Pioneer Woman’s original recipe. I did try it her way but since I don’t like to use taco seasoning packets if I don’t have to, and I don’t really like the idea of undrained canned beans (i.e. fart juice), also I wasn’t a big fan of the cherry tomato halves as a topper… don’t get me wrong, I liked the original version, I just like my adaption of it better.
- 1 TBSP chili powder
- 1 TBSP ground cumin
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 6oz/170g cheddar jack or mexican blend cheese, grated
- 1/2 head green leafy lettuce, sliced thin
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 20 extra large (stuffer style) taco shells
- 1lb/450g ground (minced beef)
- 4 TBSP Tomato Paste
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 can (14oz/400g) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 4floz/125ml cup water
- 6 TBSP Ranch Dressing
- 6 TBSP Sour Cream
- 6 TBSP taco sauce
- 1 TBSP of milk, for thinning if necessary
Prepare the dressing by whisking all the dressing ingredients together, set aside until needed. All ranch and sour creams vary so thin with a little milk till easily drizzled but still thick.
- Preheat the oven to 350f/180c.
- Dice the tomatoes, sliced the lettuce and grate the cheese, set aside until needed.
- Measure out the herbs and spices into a small bowl and set aside.
- Stand taco shells up on a baking sheet, bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until just starting to get a very faint golden color.
- While the shells are in the oven, brown the beef just until no pinkness remains.
- Drain the beef in a colander and rinse briefly hot water, drain well.
- Return the beef to the pan and cook off any residual moister from rinsing.
- Add the prepared seasoning mix, cook and stir until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
- Add the tomato paste, cook and stir into the seasoned beef (about 30 seconds).
- Add the beans and the water. Stir well to combine, add salt & pepper to taste.
Building the Tacos – Since the shells are already standing up ready to be filled there is no reason to fiddle with them so just let them cool for a minute before you begin.
- Divide the sliced lettuce evenly among the shells
- Divide the dressing among the shells, spooning it over the lettuce
- Divide the meat and bean mixture evenly among the shells, over the dressed lettuce (I find a generous scoop on a standard serving fork works perfectly)
- Divide the cheese evenly among the shells, sprinkling it over the meat mixture
- Divide the diced tomatoes evenly among the shells, on top of the cheese
Serve immediately – Makes 20
- I’ve found that if I do this recipe exactly as I have written it out here, I can make this meal in around 20 to 30 minutes (pre-grated cheese cuts down on prep time).
- Any canned beans or even fresh ones are fine, pintos are just my favorite.
- I’ve tried this recipe with iceberg lettuce and it wasn’t as good (IMO).