Well, maybe eat them both, but first hear me out.
I was at Trader Joe’s the other day, starving, wandering the aisle for the first time ALONE sans kiddos. You see, now that everyone’s in school, I’ve been knocking off items on my “kid-free” to-do list, like fabric shopping, stationary shopping, crystal stemware shopping…you get the idea. Trader Joe’s just happens to be on that list because, well, I’ve always heard that it’s a fun place to shop, but with screaming kids in tow it never really was for me, until now.
It wasn’t quite lunch time when I went in, which we all know can spell disaster if you’re starving while grocery shopping. I pushed on despite being hungry and stuck to my list for the most part. I did, however, get lured in by some tasty looking mini tacos, and thought, “these would be perfect for the boys—and if they don’t like them, I guess I’ll have to eat the leftovers.” See? Now that’s a window into how some moms really think!
So I plucked them from the cold case, put them in my cart, and threw them in the oven for dinner once home. Despite being a frozen food, the ingredient list was fairly good and simple. Once they began to cook the smells coming out of my oven were heavenly. I pulled them from the oven minutes later, let them cool and then served them to the boys where they received rave reviews.
Now, we all know that I’m not getting paid by Trader Joe’s to promote this product, which is good because as I was watching the boys scarf these mini tacos down, I had an idea. Why not make these at home myself and write a post about it? I mean come on, how hard can they be? And what better to have stocked in your freezer than quick and easy mini tacos that are not only healthy but take no time to heat up on a busy night? Plus they are great finger food for kids. I did adjust the size of these tacos from true mini’s to adult-sized, since I don’t exactly have my hands on a manufacturer that will make me 2-inch diameter corn tortilla circles. One can only dream…
At home the next day, I had gathered all of my ingredients and begun my process. First, I browned some ground turkey (was looking for chicken but the store was out that day) with diced yellow onions, 1 large can green chiles and taco seasoning.* Then I added a can of no fat added refried pinto beans with out any additional flavoring. I filled the empty can full of water, poured that on top and let the mixture simmer until the water was absorbed into the beans. Then I tasted and adjusted for seasoning.
*I like to make my own taco seasoning: equal parts salt, cumin, paprika, chili powder, oregano. But if you buy it in the store, look for a packet with those ingredients and nothing more.
While my delicious taco filling was simmering, I laid out my corn tortilla and got them ready for filling.
Next, I preheated my oven to 375 degrees F. After simmering for about 20 minutes, I turned off the heat and let my taco filling cool. Then I filled my tortillas and folded them in half.
Next up was the baking and/or freezing part. At this stage, you can bake off however many you want and freeze the rest! These not only make an awesome dinner served with rice and salsa+sour cream or a dollop of guac, but they are also perfect for after school snacks. I prefer to bake mine in the oven for that crispy effect but your little one could just as easily pop one (or two) of these in the microwave. Before baking, just make sure to line them up on a baking sheet in a manor that allows them to overlap. This will keep them closed.
Finally, here they are, baking and ready to eat. The whole thing takes about 30 minutes when done at the same time but you could just as easily do everything in stages: brown the meat mixture one day, fill the tortillas another day and bake on yet another day. Genius! And while I can’t say that this is any less expensive that buying them from Trader Joe’s, I can tell you that it’s well worth it when you’re done and you’re sitting down to a plate of homemade tacos, especially when you know exactly what’s in them.