Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Taco Heaven

I have a confession to make.  There is one fast food place that I love the tacos from.  I meant to say LOVE!  I'm sure all of us have that one guilty pleasure from a fast food restaurant.  It must be in our nature or something.  Anyway, I love the tacos at Taco Cabana.  (If you are not a Taco Cabana fan, I'm sorry.  Please don't be mad at me.)  I'm not sure what they put in the taco meat, but gosh it's good.  When you pick up the taco, the juice runs down your arm as you eat it.  I call Taco Cabana "Taco Heaven."  I told you, I really do love those tacos.  The little Pico de Gallo they put on them is pretty darn tasty too.

So I set out to try to recreate these tacos.  Now, while the tacos I made were pretty fabulous, it wasn't the exact same as Taco Cabana.  But my family will attest to how good these tacos were.  I used 2 pounds of ground beef, and my son ate all of the leftovers.  For breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Must be good.  These are a little different than just cooking ground beef and throwing in some taco seasoning.  You'll need to find what's called masa harina or corn flour, which is what is used to make corn tortillas.  And a surprising ingredient in this is soy sauce.  Interestingly enough, a lot of restaurants use soy sauce in Mexican food or in marinating steaks.  It gives it a great flavor.  Trust me.  It works.  And my Pico de Gallo?  I could just sit and eat it with tortilla chips 'til I'm full.  Darn tasty.

2 lbs ground beef (I used 75/25 to get the "juicy factor")
3 T masa harina (corn flour)
1/4 C chili powder (yes, I'm sure)
1 T onion powder
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 T cumin
1 T beef bouillon (the paste kind)
2 C water
2 limes
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 T soy sauce
Salt & pepper, to taste

Flour tortillas
Shredded cheese
Pico de Gallo (recipe to follow)

Brown the ground beef in a skillet until done.  Add in the remaining ingredients (cut the limes in half and squeeze over the meat.)  Cook until most of the liquid is cooked out and thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Serve in warmed tortillas with shredded cheese and Pico de Gallo.

**A trick for heating up flour tortillas quickly:  Wrap them in a moderately damp towel and microwave for 1 minute. Rearrange them so that the middle tortillas are on the outsides and heat again for 1 minute.

3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 C red onion, diced
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
3 T jalapeno, chopped (fresh or the jarred slices will work)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
Salt & pepper, to taste
2 limes

Mix the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapenos, garlic, and cumin together in a bowl.  Cut the limes in half and squeeze over the mixture and season with salt and pepper (taste it again to check for enough salt).  Cover and put in the fridge until ready to use.


  1. paste kind.. do you mean like "Better than Bouillon"? I love that stuff!

    1. That's exactly what I mean, Terri. I love that stuff too. Been known to lick the spoon after measuring some out. LOL

  2. Sounds very yummy! Although, the heat from the jalepenos would probably be too much for me. I like fresh sweet red bell pepper in my pico, and I would probably double the amount of cilantro. But sounds like a good start! Oh, and putting masa flour in the meat - what a great idea! I used to like to make my own tortillas with masa, since it tastes so good. But don't have the energy for that anymore, so maybe the masa in the meat would give that good taste. Thanks for the recipe!