Thursday, October 7, 2010

Beef Taquitos (aka Taquito Night!)

Long before my days of cooking consistantly, Jeff had a few staple frozen dinners he would consume on a regular basis.  One of these staples was El Monterey's taquitos, either in chicken or beef flavor.  Jeff had a wonderful method figured out for preparing them: microwave them for a minute, then cover them in shredded cheese, then microwave them another minute or so.  After all this, top with salsa, and eat.  Delicious. 

Then came the age of Hamburger Helper, aka introductory cooking, where I was looking for easy recipes to experiment with.  I found a recipe for baked taquitos (I believe they are normally fried), and Jeff and I tried it.  In comparison with the El Monterey taquitos, well, there were no comparison.  These were way better, and likely much healthier.  After a lot of modification, we found that we could make a large batch of taquitos in a night and freeze the rest of them.  Now, we were able to make our own staple, and feel good about it.

Doing this recipe takes both me and Jeff, because I cannot roll taquitos as well as he can.  When we are making the taquitos to freeze, we make a batch of twenty in a night.  First, we cook the onions and ground chuck, and drain the extra fat.  We add "vegetables" (salsa) and spices to the beef, and cook until the flavors mesh together.  After the meat is done cooking, put the beef onto the toritillas, and bake.  Very simple, but time consuming.  And delicious. 

Beef Taquitos (10 Taquitos)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup salsa
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
10 6-inch flour tortillas
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the onion and garlic, cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.
Add the beef and cook until browned; drain.
Stir in the salsa, chili powder, salt, and pepper.
Cook mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
Place 10 tortillas on a plate, and cover them with a damp paper towel.
Microwave tortillas until warm and pliable, about 45 seconds.
Top each tortilla with 1/4 cup of the beef mixture, spreading it in a line slightly off center.
Sprinkle cheese evenly over the beef.
Roll up tortillas and place them on a foiled lined baking sheet.
Brush the taquitos lightly with oil.
Bake them for 8 to 12 minutes.

3 taquitos is a serving size.

To reheat in microwave:
Cook for 1 minutes on high.
Place shredded cheese on top of taquitos, cook for 1 minute 30 seconds.
Top with salsa.

When Jeff and I were making these, we eat some the same night.  Instead of microwaving them, we take advantage of the oven's heat to melt the cheese.  After we are done cooking all of the taquitos, we put our six, topped with cheese, back in the oven for 3 minutes. 

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