Thursday, January 31, 2013

Oven Baked Tacos

I guess I have a taco theme going on here this week. Earlier I posted a recipe for Beef and Bean Taco Casserole. It's one of my family's favorite casseroles, so I hope you'll give it a try.

These oven-baked tacos, served in a hard shell, are more traditional. I got the idea from Jillee over at One Good Thing by Jillee. I had baking racks for the tacos, so I skipped her hard taco shell instructions.
I ended up with a nice pile of hard shells in no time.
So you can bake your own shells or you can buy hard shells from the store, whichever works best for you. When I'm serving a large crowd, I use store-bought shells for convenience.

Now here's what you need:

16-20 hard taco shells
2 lbs ground beef or turkey
1 can (16 oz) refried beans (If you use homemade, about 2 cups)
1 cup salsa
2 TBSP taco seasoning
2 cups shredded cheese - I use sharp cheddar but Monterey Jack would be a good choice, too
Your favorite taco toppings

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef or turkey. Drain well. Stir in the refried beans, salsa and taco seasoning until well blended.
Divide the meat mixture among the taco shells. Place side by side in a large baking pan.
Top with the shredded cheese.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
Now let each family member load 'em up with their favorite toppings. I prefer lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream.
My family and friends loved these! Yes, they took a little more prep time than regular tacos. But they are so much easier to serve!

The beans and cheese combined with the meat make for a whole lot less mess when eating them. Everything kind of sticks together - no little bits and pieces of taco meat falling out of the shell. And it's so much quicker than letting everyone load up their own tacos, especially if you're serving a crowd. You've already done most of the work for them.

Also, the baking process keeps the tops of the shells hard, but bottoms get a little chewy. That means less breakage, my number one pet peeve of eating hard shell tacos!

If your family loves tacos, you really need to give these a try. You'll like them!

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