Tag Archives: tacos

Taco Cornbread Pie

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Our Little J is a Mexican food junkie. When she doesn’t like what I serve for dinner, she makes her way to the spice drawer and returns with her jar of “Taco Magic” (known to the rest of the world as chili powder). She then proceeds to turn any meal into tacos. Meatloaf, meatballs, any roasted or baked chicken dish: instant tacos. A generous sprinkle into most soups: taco soup.

So when she hears that I am actually making a “real” Mexican-flavored dish, she is giddy with excitement, and during dinner the Taco Magic jar stays in the spice drawer where it belongs.

If you have an oven safe dish that can also go on the stovetop (like a dutch oven, cast iron skillet, or skillet with oven-safe handles), this is an easy one pot meal. I always love cutting down on dishes.

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Taco Pie is the Mexican version of a Shepherd’s Pie or Pot Pie. The filling is a taco flavored combination of ground beef, black beans, tomatoes, corn, peppers, green chilies. All of the great ingredients of tacos without 600 little bowls to wash. The crust is a cheese-topped cornbread that bakes in the oven on top of the filling.

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(Please ignore that cheese-less wedge. How anyone could dislike cheese and end up in my family is beyond me)

RECIPE:

Taco Cornbread Pie

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Taco filling:
2 lb ground beef
1 red pepper, chopped
1-2 hot peppers, finely chopped (adjust to taste)
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 can chili-seasoned tomatoes
1 small can diced green chiles, undrained
1 small can sliced black olives, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can black or kidney beans, drained & rinsed

Cornbread topping:
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
2 eggs
2 cups shredded cheese

Optional garnishes:
Salsa, sour cream, diced avocados (or guacamole)

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Brown the ground beef in an oven safe skillet.** Drain fat. Add peppers and onions to the skillet. Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until onions just begin to soften. Stir in tomatoes, canned chilies, olives, corn and beans. Simmer mixture over low heat, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Taste and add additional salt, if needed.

Cornbread topping: In a mixing bowl, stir together melted butter, yogurt or sour cream and eggs. Stir in corn muffin mix with a rubber spatula until just mixed.

Spread the cornbread batter over the hot filling in the skillet. Bake at 375°F for about 30 minutes, or until cornbread is cooked through and lightly browned. (Exact cooking time will depend on the diameter of your baking dish. If the top of the cornbread is brown, but center is not set, cover with foil and continue to cook until set). Top with cheese. Cook 5 additional minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with sour cream, avocados, and/or salsa, if desired.

**NOTE: If you don’t have an oven safe skillet (or dutch oven), then cook meat mixture in a regular skillet, and transfer to a large baking dish

 

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Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro Dressing

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I wish I could say that fish tacos are a favorite meal in our house. Unfortunately, I have a few fish-haters who refuse to like any kind of seafood. Even when, as in this case, the fish is extremely mild, “unfishy” and full of flavors they already enjoy. But I love them, so I continue to cook them for those of us who appreciate a change from your standard ground beef taco. The others eat the beans and cabbage drowned in the delicious cilantro dressing.

In the summer, I would add fresh homegrown tomatoes to these tacos. After growing my own tomatoes, however, I have a real aversion to grocery store tomatoes. They are always mushy or mealy, regardless of how red and beautiful they appear. So I will wait for summer to add them.

I like to use Cotija cheese in these tacos. Cotija is a firm mild cheese with a texture similar to feta, but without the saltiness. It crumbles easily with your fingers. Cabbage is also a must in fish tacos. The crunchiness of the cabbage makes a great contrast to the soft texture of the fish.

I serve these with a creamy cilantro dressing. It is full of cilantro, and just barely spicy. You can adjust the heat by varying the amount of jalapeno and Sriracha sauce in the dressing. I often make a double batch of the dressing and use it later as a salad dressing or raw vegetable dip.

RECIPE:

Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro Dressing

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4 firm white fish fillets (halibut, cod, snapper)
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp Ancho chili powder
1/8 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 Tbs oil

Corn or Flour tortillas
Shredded green cabbage (about 2 cups)
Tomatoes, diced
Cotija cheese, crumbled
1 can black beans, drained and mixed with 1 Tbs lime juice

Cilantro Dressing:
1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 green onions
1 fresh jalapeno
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 Tbs diced mild green chilies (about 1/2 of a 4 oz can)
2 Tbs fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 – 1 tsp Sriracha chili sauce (adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp kosher salt


Prepare cilantro dressing: Place all dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for about one hour. Use any leftover lime juice to mix with a can of drained and rinsed black beans.

Remove fish from refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking. Mix dry spices in a small bowl. Pat fish fillets dry and rub spices onto both sides of fish fillets.

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place fish fillets in the hot skillet and sear until cooked through (do not crowd pan; cook in 2 batches if necessary). Depending on the thickness and variety of fish, it should take about 3 minutes per side. Check for doneness with a fork: fish should flake easily, but not fall apart. Remove from pan and let fish rest for 2-3 minutes. Use a fork to separate fish into 2-3 pieces.

Serve fish strips in warm tortillas with shredded cabbage, tomatoes, Cotija cheese, black beans and cilantro dressing.

Makes 8-10 tacos

 

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