Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Tacos

I make home-made tacos often, at least twice a week. I made these last night - and my husband says they were the best tacos ever.

We love tacos. Much. Lionel made them weekly when we lived in New York, and it was just the two of us. He used the powder. But then we were making it so often, we got rid of the packets and moved up to a big jug of the powder. Nowadays, I've got my own recipe.

Ingredients & Prices
2-3 T oil - veggie, olive, or even butter if you want to spend too much. I used oil - $0.06
1 small yellow onion (from bag of 20 priced at $1.99) - $0.05
1 large clove of garlic (from head priced at $1.29/lb) - $0.05
3/4-1 pound of ground beef, turkey, or a mix. I use ground beef.
The fattiest tastes best and is cheapest. This time I got 85% lean that was not on sale - so the 3/4 pounds of beef cost an unseemly $3.50.
1 tsp dried cumin powder - (there is 1 cup in my container, and it cost $1.59) buy it in bulk at a discount supermarket or spend a fortune - $0.03
1/2 tsp dried chili powder or some other spiciness you like $0.03
1tsp salt - or to taste $0.01

Instructions for Meat:
Place oil in hot pan. Warm. Add in chopped onion at sizzle point. Do not put the garlic in, yet. It will burn. Cook onions until just soft. Add ground beef. Break up with wooden spoon. Then add garlic, on top of meat. Sprinkle cumin on top of meat, touching the top of each piece of meat with a bit of cumin, about a teaspoon worth, maybe a little more or less. Sprinkle tops with salt in the same way. Be a bit more sparse with spicy powder or pepper. Brown, moving around pan, breaking up into tiny pieces as you go.  Set aside.

Warm your choice of taco shells or tortillas in 350 degree oven for 7 minutes. Do the full 7 for a nice crunch, but no longer or they will burn. (I used 7 Old El Paso shells - an 18 pack cost $2.12 - We usually use 9 per meal, so we had to supplement with chips) - $0.83 + chips: $0.50 (someone gave us the chips, but I'm guessing here)

I filled each shell with about a tablespoon of meat and sprinkled ($0.45) 2 ounces (total) of shredded cheddar on each taco and on the chips and left them to stay warm in the oven while I waited for my husband and cut up the lettuce. I thought I had a tomato, and I usually dice up a half of a hot house or a whole Roma tomato to help top. I'm not counting it today, since I didn't use it. I used 1/8 of a head of iceberg lettuce that cost $0.99 - $0.13. Next I dollupped a teaspoon or so of sour cream on each taco (2.49 for entire container - $0.21) and on the chips. We each also used about a tsp of hot sauce on each taco - $0.18.

Our son is only 4 and has a rough time with tacos still, so I usually make him a roll up or quesadilla, but I had some cilantro rice for our lunches this week, so I gave him some of that with cheese on top and a side of lettuce and ranch dressing. About $0.35 for his food.

Total Cost for this particular Taco Meal for 2 adults, 1 child, no leftovers: $6.44

If you compare that to Taco Bell, it's a side of rice (0.79), 7 crunchy tacos (6.23), and let's say 2 simple nachos (1.98). Total Price: $9 + tax, so around $10.50 or so. So, just think of it as you getting paid $4.06 for less than an hour of dinner making, and it tastes better and is healthier. Cheers!


  1. Awesome.

    Was it really "best tacos ever"? Or just "the best"?

    It's so hard to nail down the "best tacos ever", especially when there are about a zillion different ways to combine the basic half dozen or so ingredients.

  2. You should try our filling recipe, might be THE best. We get a couple of boneless pork chops when they're on sale and slice thinly, saute and add about a cup of black beans - if you must use canned make sure to drain/rinse them. Add however much salsa that suits you, throw in a cup of leftover rice. We use burrito wraps, add chopped lettuce, cheese and s.cream and and viola - better than Chipotle!