Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Taco Tuesday

When we were living as newlyweds in Midland, Texas, there was a Mexican fast food chain called Rosa’s Café which was to die for. On Tuesdays, they’d run a ridiculously cheap and delicious special on taco meals, making the second day of every work-week ‘Taco Tuesday’. 
We were religious about our Taco Tuesday tradition, and were dismayed when we were transferred to Houston to find out they didn’t have their own Rosa’s. Apparently the chain is relegated to West and North Texas, the closest one to Houston being 1.5 hours away in College Station. Those lucky Aggies! 

Now, several people will argue with me on this, but in the year and a half that we lived in Houston, we never found a Rosa’s replacement. Even though we were surrounded by Mexican and Tex-Mex options, we pined over those delicious tacos and equally good queso, and the prices that just couldn’t be beat. 

It goes without saying that Aberdeen doesn’t have anything resembling good Mexican food, but their Mexican ingredients at the grocery stores are constantly improving. Even the corner convenience store stocks tortillas, and we can get taco and fajita meal packs at the bigger stores. I can even find Uncle Ben’s microwavable Mexican Rice! 
So even though we are miles and miles from West Texas, we can continue our Taco Tuesday tradition. The problem with homemade tacos is that I always end up with leftover taco shells, which usually go stale by the time Tacos make the weekly menu rotation. So every week, I’m buying 12 taco shells, even though we only eat about 6 of them and have to waste the other half. It's the old hot dog/hot dog bun inequality conundrum. 

I was determined not to waste the 5 remaining shells we had from making tacos this past weekend, so I pushed tacos up on the lineup and declared Monday ‘Taco Tuesday’. Sometimes I’m crazy like that.   

I had already decided on Tacos for dinner when I spied this recipe for yummy looking Oven Baked Tacos on pinterest.
Original Source
I was in the mood for experimentation, and I’m always a sucker for black beans, so I decided to go for it. Basically the mixture consists of a handful of diced onions and a pinch of minced garlic sautéed in olive oil. Then mix in a pound of lean ground beef and 3 tablespoons of taco seasoning. Once it’s cooked, drain the fat, and then mix in about 1 cup of chunky salsa and I can of rinsed and drained black beans.
Continue cooking for about 5 minutes to thicken up the mixture and get most of the liquid out. You don’t want your tacos to get soggy! I was irrationally afraid that we’d end up with soggy tacos, so you better believe I was thickening up my meat filler. Once the mixture is ready, line your taco shells face up in a square or rectangular casserole dish. 
This step is probably much easier if you have the stand n stuff taco shells, which, since I live in the UK, I did not. Beggers can’t be choosers. So it took my perfectionist self about 10 minutes to line them up perfectly, only to mess up the entire order once I started spooning in the meat/bean/salsa mixture into the shells.   
However, once they were filled, their weight made them easier to manipulate, so I was able to stand them up once again. Phew. I was on the verge of a full-on pregnancy meltdown. 

Then I capped them off with some cheddar cheese (sadly, Mexican style cheese is still hard to come by in Aberdeen), and put them in the oven at 400 degrees F (190 C) for about 8 minutes. 
While they were baking, I microwaved my 2 minute Mexican Rice and prayed that I wouldn’t be serving soggy tacos for dinner. 
Jonathan was the first to try his, and he immediately elicited his grunt of approval, shooting me a thumbs up from across the room. I dug into mine and found that these tacos were pure heaven. So yummy! And not soggy at all. Once again, phew!
I was actually really sad when dinner was over and my tacos were all gone. Jonathan even went so far as to tell me that he never wants 'regular' tacos again. Good thing these are so simple to make. I can easily (and happily) whip them up for Taco Tuesdays from now on.  I also think this would make a great filler for quesadillas. In fact, I have a bit leftover from last night, and whatdoyouknow- it's lunch time! Quesadilla it is! 

What about you? Do you have a weekly food tradition?


  1. London doesn't have Mexican cheese either :( serious problem over here! Those look yum! But the carb-nazi would not approve of this one unfortunately. He's got problems too.

  2. Oh I love it!! i'm so doing this. We are big on Hispanic food. My husband is south American and my mother is Puerto rican and my grand father lived in Meixco for 10 yrs. We got a Tex Mex restaurant here just over 2 yrs ago. Chiquitos and it is SO good!!! I think they have one in Aberdeen! Check here::


    You must try them. We've been really impressed. This is as close to the border as we're going to get but this is the best we've found. We love it!

    1. We do have Chiquitos (possibly 2) but when we first moved here, someone told us it wasn't very good so we never bothered to try it. Now that I've heard a good review, I'll have to give it a go! Also, we just got a Las Iguanas which is kind of a Latin American fusion. The service isn't very good, but the food is yummy. You'll have to check it out when you get here!

  3. Throw your taco shells in a ziplock bag and put them in the freezer until you need them again. They will stay nice a crisp. Works well with chips too!

  4. Looks yummy!! I'll have to try these! I get so excited when I find someone who is familiar with West Texas!! :) I'm from West Texas! I always try to go to Rosa's when I go back home to visit.

    1. Not a Tuesday goes by when I don't think of Rosa's:) Definitely one of the perks of living in West Texas!

  5. I think I'll try these when I find someone willing to eat my cooking and a dish to mix in and a pan to bake in. Sound yummy. Love your writihgl