How to Make a Great Taco

Today, we’re going to show you how to make a great taco. Taco Tuesday, a school lunch tradition for many of us who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, has occurred with semi-regular frequency at our home, thanks to the imaginations of The Kitchen Divas in Training.  Each incarnation of Taco Tuesday is unique and based on what’s in the fridge, what’s leftover, and what flavors the girls would like to enjoy. Black beans are always served in some form, as are copious amounts of cilantro, lime, and New Mexico Red Chile sauce. The rest is entirely up for grabs.

What I love about Taco Tuesday is that everyone in the house contributes to the decision-making process and the creation of the meal. The girls shred cheese and veggies, select and add the spices, while my husband and I brown or reheat the meat and do the heavy knife-work. The girls do some knife work, but I don’t let them handle my precious chef’s knives just yet. All meals contain fresh vegetables- gotta get those greens! In fact, I like to call my tacos Hand-Salads!

This is as quick and easy as it gets around here- usually we’re ready to eat in less than 30 Minutes- take THAT Rachael Ray! We serve buffet-style so that everyone gets to choose what goes into their taco and in what proportions. If you’d like to try Taco Tuesday at your house, please take inspiration from the brief ingredient lists below, and remember the possibilities are endless. Enjoy, and have fun cooking with your family!

Meat Base

Although I don’t call for this in the recipe below- we have used additional spices like cumin, mexican oregano, garlic powder or fresh garlic, sometimes salt & pepper. Use your imagination!

1 lb of meat (could be ground beef, ground turkey, chicken, pork, shrimp)

1 onion

1 small can of tomatoes (sometimes we use the ones with green chile)

1 chopped bell peppers (if you have them on hand)

1 can of diced green chile

1 tsp (or more) of chile powder- we like New Mexico Red or Chipotle

Directions: Saute the onions, add meat and other stuff, heat through until meat is cooked, remove to a serving bowl.

Black Beans

This changes each time we serve it, but here’s what we did this week. This proportion serves 4-barely. If you like lots of beans or want leftovers add an additional can.

2 cans of black beans (if you soak your own, about 2 cups soaked)

1/2 cup shredded cheese (we’ve used all kinds, but Jack Cheese is our preference)

1 generous tablespoon of Cumin

1 generous tablespoon of Garlic Powder (We used Herbed Garlic Powder)

Directions: Drain beans, place all ingredients in a small pan and heat through on medium.


Again, this is just what we made this week. The fresh greens change constantly. We’ve used kale, Napa cabbage, arugula, fresh lettuce (not the tasteless iceburg- blech!) spinach, thinly sliced bell peppers etc…

1/2 purple cabbage, thinly sliced into ribbons and chopped fine

4 small carrots- shredded

1 large bunch of cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

2 tbs cider vinegar (other vinegars will work just fine too, maybe not balsamic..)

juice of 1/2 lime (small)

Directions: Mix in a bowl and serve

Garnish Plate

1 or 2 sliced avocados

fresh cilantro (chopped or not)

lime quarters

New Mexico Spicy Goodness (could be red chile sauce, enchilada sauce, green chile sauce, salsa etc.)

Shredded cheese

See? I told you this was easy!! Did I mention it’s delicious and nutritious too?

4 thoughts on “How to Make a Great Taco”

  1. Sounds delicious! I was just at Whole Foids and they have Taco Tuesday with Employees dressed in Mexican sombreros and pasted on mustaches even on the women! Ole!
    Growing up in the 60s in upstate New York, we had never heard of Tacos at school but we did honor Fish Friday with tuna boats(and I don’t mean sushi grade) in hot dog rolls with a triangle of sharp New York cheddar as the boat sail! Ahoy!
    My girls grew up with tacos but ours are a little tamer than yours!

    1. I love the Tuna Boats! Those would be fun to make. I was thinking this recipe would be easy for you to convert to Paleo if you like the flavors- leave out the beans, and swap out the taco shell for a large Napa Cabbage leaf or Romaine Lettuce leaf… Or, if you’re not strict Paleo, do one Taco, and then enjoy the filling like a salad…Thanks for sharing your comments!

  2. All right, this post needs a better name…maybe Bruno from Dancing with the Stars would be a good person to help with adjectives glowing enough. That was the MOST DELICIOUS “Taco” I ever ate. Why is “Taco” in quotes? Because, I’m sorry but if I’ve been eating tacos all these years, starting in the 70’s with Taco Tuesday, we can’t call these amazing concoctions tacos. Flavour, flavour, flavour, textures, combo choices. These are tacos for foodies. This one’s going on facebook. I’ll never eat a taco again, I’ll eat these. And we’ve been eating and sharing the leftovers for a couple of days. That’s a LOT of food, girl.

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