Friday, April 26, 2013

Mini Taco Cups

Taco Cups
These little things are so good and easy.  Four-inch rounds, cut from tortillas, are nestled into lightly greased muffin cups, filled with a spiced beef and tomato sauce mixture, topped with cheese, and baked until the tortilla crisps a little bit.  Then, top with your favorite toppings.  Most of the kids really love these and were excited about them.  They are very tasty! 
Taco Cups
We've had them twice now.  The first time, I only made 12, since I thought the beef wouldn't go far enough to make more than that (as stated in the original recipe).  We needed a little more than that, so next time (last night), I opened a can of refried beans and placed a small spoonful on the bottom of each little cup, before adding the meat mixture.  I had already thought of using beans somehow, when I went to the original recipe and noticed it was stated as a note above the recipe- you could add beans to stretch it out more.  I hadn't noticed that note the first time.  I really loved it with the beans, too.  With the beans, (I used 1/2 can), I made 18 good-sized cups. 
Taco Cups
I didn't take photos last night, but we had them with homemade Pico de Gallo, and they were SO good and so beautiful with the Pico!  I should have taken pics, but I was too hungry/tired to do so.  I highly recommend serving them with pico or another type of homemade salsa, though.  Maybe I'll take pics another time and add them here.

For me, it was hard, for some reason, to cut out the tortillas with my cookie cutter.  (I used the largest one from this set; love this set.)  I had to have my husband do it, with his big strong arm muscles.  I was just too dainty, I guess.  If you don't own a cookie cutter like that, or anything in a 4-inch circle suitable for using as a cookie cutter, you can use kitchen shears to cut the tortillas into circles.

PS:  I left out the salt; tomato sauce and cheese provided plenty.  Add salt to taste, if you must.   And, I used whole wheat tortillas.

Mini Taco Cups
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

4-5 large 10-inch flour tortillas, white or wheat (6-7 tortillas if using 8-inch)
1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1-2 cups shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese (or a combination)
1/2 can refried beans, optional
Taco toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, olives, avocado, salsa, etc.
1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2.  Lightly grease one and a half muffin tins.  Cut 4-inch circles (using a cookie cutter or a round shape, like a lid, you can cut around with a knife or kitchen shears) from the tortillas.  You'll need 16-18 (if using beans + meat.  Less (12-14) if just using meat).  Microwave the cut tortillas for about 10-15 seconds until pliable.  Nestle one tortilla in each muffin tin, pressing the tortilla into the bottom and corners of the tin.  Set aside.
3.  In a large nonstick skillet, cook the ground beef or turkey and pepper over medium heat, breaking up the meat into small pieces, until cooked through 5-8 minutes.  Drain any excess grease.  Stir in the chili powder, cumin and tomato sauce.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes.
4.  If using refried beans, place a spoonful of beans in the bottom of each cup.  Scoop a spoonful of meat and sauce into each tortilla cup (on top of beans, if using).  Top with a sprinkle of cheese.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until the tortillas are lightly golden around the edge and the filling is hot and bubbly.  Carefully remove the cups from the muffin tin and serve with any taco toppings of your choice.
Taco Cups
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