I have a confession. Up until recently, I was a taco spice packet user. I tried to make my own spice mixture, but it was just never as pungent as the kind from the yellow packet. After taking a gander at the nutritional information, and the whopping amount of sodium (I’m a salt lover folks, but come on. How do they pack that much sodium into that tiny little package? The world may never know) I decided it was time to ditch the packet for good!
As far as taco shell selection goes, we like to fry our own corn tortillas in this house. Every once in a while I get a hankering for a boxed shell that you just warm up in the oven. But, there is definitely something to be said for the pan-fried corn tortillas. They aren’t soft, yet they aren’t completely crispy either. I find that the outer portion of the shell gets nice and crispy, while the center stays soft and pliable.
I’m sure this recipe would be just as wonderful with ground turkey or chicken as well.
1 lb ground beef (at least 80/20)
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp hot sauce (I like Frank’s)
1/2 cup jarred salsa
12 6-inch corn tortillas
4 tbsp vegetable oil
kosher salt, for seasoning taco shells
iceberg lettuce, shredded
3 roma tomatoes, diced
shredded cheddar cheese
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef to hot skillet, breaking up with your hands as you add to the pan. Cook until beef begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove most of the grease from pan (leave a little bit for flavors sake!) and add chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute to bring out the flavor in the spices. Add in the hot sauce and the salsa. Cook for another minute to warm through, then place the beef into a bowl, cover, and set aside.
In a clean skillet warm 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. Fry tortillas in pan for about 1 minute on each side. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and season with a pinch of salt. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
I like to serve with shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, diced tomato, red onion, hot sauce, and sour cream. Or, whatever floats your boat!
Leftover taco meat is good for stuffed peppers, taco salad, or quesadillas.