Since I discovered this recipe for crunchy baked tacos a few months ago, we've had it for dinner four times. The kids went from not liking tacos before to now cheering when I make these. Each time I've adapted them to be slightly healthier until this is what I came up with. Yes, I've had to compromise a little - they are not vegetarian, but they are still healthy. And the kids love them. It's a win-win.
|That beautiful lettuce is homegrown from our garden....mmmh! :)|
Crunchy Baked Tacos
*Makes 20 tacos
*Note: This makes too much for my family so I usually freeze half of the filling for a quick meal later on. It freezes great.
1/2 Cup red quinoa*See Note Below
1 Cup water
1-1/2 lbs. ground beef*
20 corn tortillas
2 Cups homemade refried beans or 1 16-oz. can refried beans
15 oz. tomato sauce (again you can use homemade if you want)
3 Tbsp. homemade taco seasoning
1-2 Cups shredded cheese (my choice would be a cheddar or jack blend)
Toppings (my choice would be chopped lettuce, tomato, salsa and sour cream)
Preheat oven to 375 F. In a small saucepan add the red quinoa and water and cook on medium until boiling, then turn down to medium-low and cook until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender and has a little white curly cue protruding (about 10-15 minutes). While quinoa is cooking, brown ground beef in a large skillet. While beef is browning, place 5 corn tortillas at a time in a damp cloth and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Lay the tortillas on a clean surface and spray or brush both sides with a light coating of canola oil. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Carefully drape the tortillas in preheated oven directly over two bars of the oven rack. Bake 375 F for about 10-15 minutes or until crispy. Corn tortillas will droop and harden to the shape of taco shells. Remove tortillas from the oven and place standing up into two greased 9"x13" casserole dishes, then turn up the oven heat to 400 F. Once meat is browned drain off any fat and add cooked quinoa, refried beans, tomato sauce and taco seasoning. Stir mixture well and heat just until simmering. Spoon the taco filling mixture into standing taco shells. Then sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 400 F for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted.
*Note: If you're unsure about the red quinoa, you can use 2 lbs. of ground beef instead of 1-1/2 lbs. of ground beef and 1/2 cup red quinoa, which is what the original recipe called for. Each time you make it you can increase the nutrition by substituting red quinoa. Red quinoa is a great meat substitute for kids because it's color disguises it so well.
Recipe Source: Recipe adapted from Eating Well and Mommy I'm Hungry