Friday, August 5, 2011

best tacos ever

Occasionally (2? maybe 3 times? in a year and a half), I've shared a recipe.  
I like to cook and I frequently make recipes I grew up with from my parents and other family members.  

I thought I would share our taco recipe with you today.
I've adapted it a bit to fit our busy lives but it's still the same basic recipe.
My entire family makes tacos like this.  
They are the BEST!

As I go through the recipe, I'll share the original way my dad made them
and how I've updated it so you can choose. 

You will need:
Original version: 
a pound of lean ground beef or other meat of your choice (chicken, turkey)
a tomato, chopped
an onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
butter or butter substitute like margarine
soft corn tortillas
toppings of your choice (lettuce, cheese, salsa, etc.)

updated version:
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
one jar of your favorite picante or taco sauce
(we use Joe T. Garcia's, a local favorite and the best ever!)
butter or substitute like margarine
soft corn tortillas
toppings of your choice (lettuce, cheese, etc.) 

Step 1: cook your meat.

Original version:
If using ground beef, cook beef, chopped onion and chopped tomato, salt and pepper 
in a skillet until well done.
Pile it all in the skillet and occasionally stir around until it is all well cooked and looks like taco meat.

updated version:
If using chicken as I do, cut into chunks (for faster cooking)
and cook in a skillet until done.  

Step 2: Once the chicken is done, chop or shred it into small pieces.
The chicken (or if you are using ground beef) should be about the consistency of the picture below.
Note: you could use ground chicken but for some reason we just like the shredded chicken better.
I don't know why but we think it tastes better.

updated version:
Then, add the taco or picante sauce to the chopped chicken.
You do not need to do this for the original version because you added tomato and onion.
Turn the burner down to warm just to keep the meat warm while you cook tortillas
and assemble the tacos. 

Step 2: cook your tortillas
both versions
It doesn't matter which version you choose, the tortillas are the same.
The rest of the recipe is the same whether you make the original recipe or the updated version.

My dad made these tortillas one at a time using a cast iron skillet.
I  did that for years until my cousin showed me a quicker way to make 3 or 4 at a time.

Using a pancake griddle, heat the griddle to medium-medium high heat.
If you use a skillet to make one at a time, each the skillet to the same.

Drop a dollop of butter for each tortilla and kind of spread it around a bit as it melts
so that you have melted butter all over the griddle.

Add the tortillas.  Depending on the size of the griddle and the size of the tortillas,
you should be able to cook 3-4 at a time.

Cook the tortillas for about a minute and then turn over.

Cook them on the other side for about a minute or two.

They will start to bubble a bit but will still be soft.
That's when they are done.
If you cook them longer, they will be a bit chewy.

Transfer the tortilla to a plate.  Add a large spoonful of meat to it.

Fold the taco over and hold for a second.

Continue until all you've made all the tacos.

That's it!  2 steps!  Cook the meat and cook the tortillas.
They may look simple but they are sooooo good.
Let each person add their toppings; shredded lettuce, shredded Mexican cheese or feta, salsa if you made the original recipe, whatever you like.  We often eat them plain just like this,
maybe adding a side salad or something.

Remember, each time you begin your next group of tortillas, add more dollops of butter.
My dad would do this: dollop of butter to skillet, cook one tortilla, dollop of butter to skillet, cook next tortilla and so on.

One tip: Arrange your first batch or two of tacos on a plate lined with a paper towel.
Cover the tacos with another paper towel and add your next layer of tacos. 
Continue layering tacos and paper towels until you finish with the last batch of tacos on top.
This "layering" will help keep the tacos warm until they are served.

This is my son's favorite meal.  He would eat them everyday.
We use left over turkey from holidays to make turkey tacos the same way.

Give them a try and let me know what you think!


  1. Between you and Robelyn of Red Neck Chic showing Mexican Food recipes, I think that's what we're having tonight. Looks yummy. Of course we have Mexican Food about 5 out of the 7 nights a week anyways!

  2. Anything with Joe T Garcia's is the greatest.

  3. Gina,
    Made them tonight and we loved them! Of course I made your version because it was so simple and awesome! Thanks for sharing. It will for sure be my "go to" chicken taco recipe from now on!

    (I did add just a little bit of lime juice to the chicken as well. Yum!)

  4. Ha! I post very little recipes too. I actually have a label for "cooking" and I stick drink recipes in there too!

    That sauce sounds delish!

  5. This sounds so very good - AND easy! My daughter would love this - she and her husband love Mexican food!
    Thanks for sharing,

  6. They look delicious and doable!!

  7. Thank you! Now I know what I'm making for supper tonight. :)


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