Taco Pie

This past fourth of July, we decided to break from our normal routine of staying put in our neighborhood, and instead decided to go to our sister-in-law’s house for the weekend. It was fun to say the least. We were able to go fishing along the Rock river, as well as just spend good old time with family. Granted we did not catch many fish, but my kids were able to spend some good quality time with their cousins, and they loved every second of it! With that said, my cooking responsibilities were set aside as well. My sister-in-law did not even let me help. WITH ANYTHING. I will be honest, it actually felt pretty good not to cook for a bunch of people. Regardless, there was one dish she threw together that was so simple, and one where everyone devoured. It was a taco pie.

Taco Pie Recipe
Taco Pie

This taco pie is everything you could probably love about tacos, but done in a pie kind of form. In my case, I decided to use pre-baked puff pastry sheets as my top and bottom crust. Did my family love it? Heck yes, and it was so, so good.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sheets of puff pastry, cooked according to directions
  • 1 1/2 lb ground chuck, cooked and fat removed
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 1 whole jalapeno pepper, diced (seeds removed if you do not want it spicy)
  • 1/2 tbsp salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of cooked corn kernels
  • 1 cup of your favorite salsa (I used a blend)
  • 3 cups colby jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups Doritos, crumbled
  • black olives, optional
  • sour cream, optional
  • shredded lettuce, optional
  • additional jalapenos, optional
  • lime wedges, optional
  • hot sauce, optional

Start by heating a large skillet on medium-high heat. Once heated, add in your ground chuck, and cook until browned. Strain and discard the fat.

Return the ground chuck back to the heat, and toss in the onions, corn, jalapenos, salsa, and seasonings. Stir and cook until the vegetables have softened. Once softened, remove them from the heat, and prepare your taco pie.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To a baking dish, one large enough to fit one of the pre-cooked puff pastry sheets, place the puff pastry sheet on the bottom.

Ingredients for making a Taco Pie

Top with some of the cheese, then layer on the meat mixture, then layer on the rest of the cheese, and then the crumbled Doritos. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and melted. Once melted, remove and top with the remaining puff pastry sheet, and then back in the oven and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the top puff pastry is warmed through.

Now you are ready to dig in. I let the pie rest for about 5 minutes before slicing into squares, but you do what you want.

Once sliced, place onto your plate, and add sour cream, olives, hot sauce, lettuce, and limes. Or don’t. It’s your call.

The ultimate is the taco pie. It’s a bit sweet from that awesome puff pastry, and then an explosion of flavor from everything you love about a spiced taco meat mixture. You could do this with chicken or pork if you want, but the classic ground beef mixture hit a homerun with my kids. Did I mention my oldest even ate it, and loved it? To me, that’s a win, win, and I’m thankful my sister-in-law turned me on to something so easy, yet so comforting to make. Hope you enjoy!

Taco Pie
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry, cooked according to directions
  • 1½ lb ground chuck, cooked and fat removed
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 1 whole jalapeno pepper, diced (seeds removed if you do not want it spicy)
  • ½ tbsp salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of cooked corn kernels
  • 1 cup of your favorite salsa (I used a blend)
  • 3 cups colby jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups Doritos, crumbled
  • black olives, optional
  • sour cream, optional
  • shredded lettuce, optional
  • additional jalapenos, optional
  • lime wedges, optional
  • hot sauce, optional
Instructions
  1. Start by heating a large skillet on medium-high heat. Once heated, add in your ground chuck, and cook until browned. Strain and discard the fat.
  2. Return the ground chuck back to the heat, and toss in the onions, corn, jalapenos, salsa, and seasonings. Stir and cook until the vegetables have softened. Once softened, remove them from the heat, and prepare your taco pie.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  4. To a baking dish, one large enough to fit one of the pre-cooked puff pastry sheets, place the puff pastry sheet on the bottom.
  5. Top with some of the cheese, then layer on the meat mixture, then layer on the rest of the cheese, and then the crumbled Doritos. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and melted. Once melted, remove and top with the remaining puff pastry sheet, and then back in the oven and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the top puff pastry is warmed through.
  6. Now you are ready to dig in. I let the pie rest for about 5 minutes before slicing into squares, but you do what you want.
  7. Once sliced, place onto your plate, and add sour cream, olives, hot sauce, lettuce, and limes. Or don’t. It’s your call.

 

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Slow Cooker Carne Guisada

If you have never heard of carne guisada, well now you have. It is essentially stewed meat, and typically done with pork, it can be done with chicken, or beef, and in my case, pork. It’s one of those comfort foods that everyone can identify with, and one that is super versatile as it can be used in tacos, enchiladas, burritos, or event stand on its own. This is my take on a slow cooker carne guisada, as one I was pinched for time during the work week, and two, who doesn’t love the slow cooker?

Slow Cooker Carne Guisada Tacos

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of boneless pork ribs, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped, seeds removed
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 whole tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • flour tortillas, warmed, optional
  • fresh cilantro, optional
  • hot sauce, optional

Start by heating a large skillet on medium-high heat. Once heated, add in the oil, and let it come to temperature for about 10 seconds. Add the pork, and sear the pork on each side. Once seared, place the pork into your slow cooker. Return the skillet to the stove, and toss in the chopped onion. Cook for about 2 minutes, then add in the water to deglaze the skillet. Pour everything into the slow cooker.

With the remaining ingredients, with the exception of the tortillas, cilantro, and hot sauce, add to the slow cooker, and give everything a cook stir. Cover, and cook on low heat for 7 hours.

Carne Guisada Ingredients

Before serving, I like to lightly shred the pork, however leaving some cubes together. Now you can go ahead and serve as is, but I like to sear mine on the stove once again. So what I do is add a skillet on medium-high heat to the stove. Next I add in however much carne guisada I think will hold with two tacos, and mixing it around for a couple of minutes until some of the pork caramelizes, and some of the juices run clear.

Add to the warmed tortillas, and dig in.

Words can’t explain how awesome this meat mixture is. It’s super tender, and just loaded with great spices and flavor. It’s a definite winner for tacos, that’s for sure. So if you are looking to steer away from your standard taco meat, give this one a shot. Hope you enjoy!

Slow Cooker Carne Guisada
Author: 
Recipe type: Tacos, Stews
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds of boneless pork ribs, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped, seeds removed
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 whole tomato, chopped
  • ½ cup water
  • flour tortillas, warmed, optional
  • fresh cilantro, optional
  • hot sauce, optional
Instructions
  1. Start by heating a large skillet on medium-high heat. Once heated, add in the oil, and let it come to temperature for about 10 seconds. Add the pork, and sear the pork on each side. Once seared, place the pork into your slow cooker. Return the skillet to the stove, and toss in the chopped onion. Cook for about 2 minutes, then add in the water to deglaze the skillet. Pour everything into the slow cooker.
  2. With the remaining ingredients, with the exception of the tortillas, cilantro, and hot sauce, add to the slow cooker, and give everything a cook stir. Cover, and cook on low heat for 7 hours.
  3. Before serving, I like to lightly shred the pork, however leaving some cubes together. Now you can go ahead and serve as is, but I like to sear mine on the stove once again. So what I do is add a skillet on medium-high heat to the stove. Next I add in however much carne guisada I think will hold with two tacos, and mixing it around for a couple of minutes until some of the pork caramelizes, and some of the juices run clear.
  4. Add to the warmed tortillas, and dig in.

 

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Beef Cheek Tacos

I have been thinking about making tongue tacos lately. I know, many might think of this being gross, however if you have never ordered ‘lengua’ from your local tacqueria, well you are missing out. The great thing about using other cuts of beef are that they are not only tender, but the beef flavor escalates into something extraordinary, and to me that is pretty awesome. So this past weekend when I was shopping for both Asian and Mexican ingredients, and devouring some great tacos from El Rey in Milwaukee, I decided to browse around and try to find tongue. They had pork tongue, but not beef, but with that said, I saw this great package of beef cheeks. I was all in.

How to make Beef Cheek Tacos

I was not going to let my family know what I was making, and as far as they knew, it was just beef. If I mentioned beef cheeks, I knew that they would probably hesitate, and back out from trying it. So the night before, I decided to brine it, as I would have if making beef tongue. Trust me on this one, find and make beef cheeks.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the Brine:

  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 lime, cut in half, squeezed
  • 1 orange, cut in half, squeezed
  • 1 whole guajillo chili, stem and seeds removed
  • 1 whole dried chipotle chili
  • 1 whole puya chili
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 lbs of beef cheeks, fat trimmed

Ingredients for the tacos:

  • 2 cups of water or beef stock
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1 whole lime, cut into quarters
  • warmed flour tortillas

Make your brine by adding everything but the beef cheeks to a stock pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring along the way, ensuring you dissolve the salt and sugar. Once dissolved, remove from the heat, and let it cool.

Beef Cheek Tacos

Add the beef cheeks to a large sealable bag and pour in the cooled brine. Seal and place in the refrigerator overnight.

The following day, pour out the brine, and add the beef cheeks to a large saute pan or dutch oven. Add about 2 cups of water or beef stock, bring to medium heat, cover, and cook for about 3 hours. Reduce the heat to a medium-low once it comes to a boil.

Beef Cheek Tacos

After 3 hours, remove the beef cheeks onto a plate, and let them cool. Once cooled, slice and then chop the beef cheeks.

When you are about ready to serve, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and add in the oil. Add as much beef cheeks as you want, and cook until those beef cheeks get a nice sear on them. You want to get that great crispiness on it.

How to make beef cheek tacos

When you are ready to serve, add the beef cheeks to a warm and toasted tortilla, top with fresh cilantro, minced shallot, a bit of avocado and a squeeze of lime juice. Repeat.

My son, who is now getting into onions, and one that was lingering around when I was making these tacos, tried one (I was surprised as he was not a fan of avocado, but was convinced by my sell) and devoured it.  These beef cheek tacos are probably now my favorite, and I do not kid you when I say that. The texture was spot on, and the beefiness escalated from that of skirt or flank steak, plus a heck of a lot cheaper.  Give these a shot if you are looking from some really great beef tacos. Hope you enjoy!

Beef Cheek Tacos
Author: 
Recipe type: Tacos
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • Ingredients for the Brine:
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 lime, cut in half, squeezed
  • 1 orange, cut in half, squeezed
  • 1 whole guajillo chili, stem and seeds removed
  • 1 whole dried chipotle chili
  • 1 whole puya chili
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1½ tbsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 lbs of beef cheeks, fat trimmed
  • Ingredients for the tacos:
  • cups of water or beef stock
  • Brined Beef Cheeks
  • tbsp canola oil
  • fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • shallot, minced
  • /2 avocado, diced
  • whole lime, cut into quarters
  • warmed flour tortillas
Instructions
  1. Make your brine by adding everything but the beef cheeks to a stock pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring along the ways, ensuring you dissolve the salt and sugar. Once dissolved, remove from the heat, and let it cool.
  2. Add the beef cheeks to a large sealable bag and pour in the cooled brine. Seal and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. The following day, pour out the brine, and add the beef cheeks to a large saute pan or dutch oven. Add about 2 cups of water or beef stock, bring to medium heat, cover, and cook for about 3 hours. Reduce the heat to a medium-low once it comes to a boil.
  4. After 3 hours, remove the beef cheeks onto a plate, and let them cool. Once cooled, slice and then chop the cheeks.
  5. When you are about ready to serve, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and add in the oil. Add as much beef cheeks as you want, and cook until those beef cheeks get a nice sear on them. You want to get that great crispiness on it.
  6. When you are ready to serve, add the beef cheeks to a warm and toasted tortilla, top with fresh cilantro, minced shallot, a bit of avocado and a squeeze of lime juice. Repeat.

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Spicy Beef and Kimchi Tacos

Recently I made a stop at one of my favorite taquerias in town, El Rey Supermercado, as I normally do, and decided to shop around for a few minutes after I had a delicious taco lunch. Often times when I go there, I load up on limes, chilies, avocados, and corn tortillas, but this time around I loaded up on fresh fruits, and meat. I can say I get a bit intimidated when ordering from their butcher as my ten years or so of Spanish is a bit weak, but heck, I give it a try every single time.  One thing that stood out to me while I was browsing was these great beef ribs that we thinly sliced.

When I arrived home that evening, I decided to come up with a kimchi style beef rib, only to be slow cooked overnight, and chopped into a killer beef for tacos.

Spicy Beef and Kimchi Tacos

If you have never had beef that is cooked with peperoncinis, well, that is a must, but cooking beef with kimchi just elevated that whole recipe. Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs beef short ribs
  • 6 sport peppers
  • 2 cups spicy kimchi
  • 1/2 cup water
  • flour tortillas
  • 1 jalapeno chili, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, minced

This recipe is so easy, only because you can do this in your slow cooker. You could braise this in your oven if you would like, but who doesn’t love a slow cooker, right?

Start by adding the water, beef short ribs, sport peppers, and kimchi to your slow cooker. Give a gentle stir, then cover, and cook for 8 hours.

When you are ready to prepare your tacos, carefully remove the beef short ribs from the slow cooker and place them on a large platter. Your goal here is to remove all of the bones. As you can see in my photo, there are plenty of bones to remove.

How to make Spicy Beef and Kimchi Tacos

Trim any excess fat, then chop the beef ribs. Once chopped, add the beef back to the kimchi mixture, and give a good stir.

Heat a skillet on medium heat. To another skillet, lightly toast the flour tortillas, just until they get a bit of  char, the place them on a place, and cover them to keep warm.

To the skillet, add some of the beef mixture, and get a nice sear on the beef, then place the beef mixture into each tortilla and top with the shallots and jalapeno chili.

Dig in. The flavors will blow you away. Not overly spicy, but you get this great, almost sweet, flavor from that kimchi. No one would know, but you, if there was even kimchi in this dish as it mellows out in the cooking process. These tacos might be one of my favorites now, and if you know me, I love tacos. So the next time you are near a Mexican supermarket, stop in, look around, and pick up some beef short ribs! Hope you enjoy!

Spicy Beef and Kimchi Tacos
Author: 
Recipe type: Tacos
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs beef short ribs
  • 6 sport peppers
  • 2 cups spicy kimchi
  • ½ cup water
  • flour tortillas
  • 1 jalapeno chili, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, minced
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the water, beef short ribs, sport peppers, and kimchi to your slow cooker. Give a gentle stir, then cover, and cook for 8 hours.
  2. When you are ready to prepare your tacos, carefully remove the beef short ribs from the slow cooker and place them on a large platter. Your goal here is to remove all of the bones. As you can see in my photo, there are plenty of bones to remove.
  3. Trim any excess fat, then chop the beef ribs. Once chopped, add the beef back to the kimchi mixture, and give a good stir.
  4. Heat a skillet on medium heat. To another skillet, lightly toast the flour tortillas, just until they get a bit of char, the place them on a place, and cover them to keep warm.
  5. To the skillet, add some of the beef mixture, and get a nice sear on the beef, then place the beef mixture into each tortilla and top with the shallots and jalapeno chili.
  6. Dig in. The flavors will blow you away. Not overly spicy, but you get this great, almost sweet, flavor from that kimchi. No one would know, but you, if there was even kimchi in this dish as it mellows out in the cooking process. These tacos might be one of my favorites now, and if you know me, I love tacos. So the next time you are near a Mexican supermarket, stop in, look around, and pick up some beef short ribs! Hope you enjoy!

 

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