My Mom had a way of making tacos that was delicious, filling and fed a lot of people, so I’m letting you in on the secret with Mom’s Taco Recipe.
Things were pretty simple in the 70’s. I remember shag carpet and an avocado-colored refrigerator. I remember polyester pants and our big, green station wagon with the seat in the way back that faced backwards. I remember playing outside for hours with kids in the neighborhood, not reliant upon any electronic toys to make us happy. I remember walking a mile or so to school at a very young age without parents having to worry. And most of all I remember the dinners that my Mom used to make.
In my first 7 years of life, there were six people at our dinner table each night. We had quite a lot of canned or frozen vegetables- they were affordable and easy for working parents. Mom always had her favorites that she liked to make- things that were quick and easy and fed a lot of people: chili, spaghetti, beef burgundy, split pea soup, boxed spice cake, and butterscotch Jell-O Pudding. But what I remember most about Mom’s favorites was our favorite dinner of all- Mom’s taco recipe.
- olive oil
- ground turkey
- ground beef
- chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and dried oregano
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- canned chili beans (or any beans)
- canned Ro-Tel
- corn tortillas
- desired taco fixings
How to make Mom’s Taco Recipe:
The complete, printable recipe is at the end of this post.
The beans are what I remember most about Mom’s Tacos. I’m pretty sure she snuck the beans in there so the filling would feed more people. It was a smart thing to do, really. My brother had quite the healthy appetite (he’s 6’4″ now) and tacos were (and still are) his absolute favorite. There were never any leftover tacos. I’ve added the Ro-Tel to expand that filling even more… and it’s mild enough that it just adds some good flavor and not a lot of spice.
You can tuck the filling into either flour or corn tortillas. Mom always fried corn tortillas in oil for her tacos.
How to fry corn tortillas in oil:
In a small skillet, heat 1/2 inch or less of oil over medium-high. When you can flick a drop of water in the oil and get a sizzle, you’re ready to fry your tortillas. Place one tortilla in the hot oil and use tongs to press it down so it cooks on both sides- you only need to cook it for about 20 to 30 seconds to soften it up. Remove the tortilla to a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining tortillas, placing paper towels in between each cooked tortilla to absorb the oil.
This is pretty much the way Mom used to serve them in the 70’s. She always used iceberg lettuce. But the avocado is my Southern California addition 🙂. This recipe is also easily served as gluten-free, which is something my Mom needed to watch in her final years. I hope you love Mom’s taco recipe as much as my family does. Enjoy!
The Best Taco Recipes:
- Oven Baked Beef Tacos
- Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean Tacos
- Tacos al Pastor
- Tequila Lime Shrimp Tacos with Chipotle Cream
- Flank Steak Tacos
If you happen to be following the Weight Watchers WW plan, you’ll find a link to the WW Points on the recipe card below.
Mom’s Tacos Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped sweet onion
- ½ pound ground turkey
- ½ pound ground beef
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- One 15.5-ounce can chili beans (or any beans), drained
- One 10-ounce can Ro-Tel (tomatoes & chiles)
- 12 corn tortillas, warmed or fried
- desired taco fixings (lettuce, tomato, sour cream, avocado, cheese, etc)
- Heat a large saute pan to medium-high; swirl in the tablespoon of olive oil. Saute the onions and mix in the ground meats. Cook until lightly browned. Tilt the pan and scoop out any accumulated fat (or take a bunch of paper towels and let them soak it up. Discard the fat.
- Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle the mixed spices onto the cooked meat. Pour in the chili beans and Ro-Tel. Heat for about 10 more minutes and your taco filling is ready.
- Fill heated tortillas with taco filling and desired taco fixings.
- For best results, use ground meat that is about 93% fat free. Any leaner & it might be too dry.
- WW Points were calculated using 93% ground beef and 95% ground turkey.
- Note that this recipe is only Dairy-Free if you do not add cheese.
- Chili beans are nice to use because they're spiced and in a light sauce. Drain the sauce slightly, but don't rinse. You can sub kidney beans or black beans if you'd like.
- If you don't have access to Ro-Tel (found in the canned tomatoes aisle), sub canned chopped tomatoes and canned chopped chiles).
- You can use flour or corn tortillas. Heat according to package directions. Mom liked to heat the corn tortillas by frying them in a little bit of hot oil. If you're making this as a gluten free recipe, be sure to use gluten-free corn tortillas and make sure that the chili beans are GF too (or use alternative beans).