Taco Tuesday isn’t just for restaurants anymore! Recently my wife and I started a weekly tradition of making Trader Joe’s Taco Tuesday dinner so I figured I should share this super simple recipe.
My wife and I love shopping at Trader Joe’s, we’ve been loyal customers ever since college. So this recipe is build 100% from Trader Joe’s products:
- 1 lb 80/20 Ground Beef
- 1/4 cup Salsa (any tomato based salsa)
- 1/2 packet Taco Seasoning Mix
- 1 Can Fire Roasted Diced Green Chile
- 1/2 Head of Iceberg Lettuce
- 1 Red Bell Pepper
- 1/2 Yellow Onion
- 1 Pack of Flour Tortilla
- 1/4-1/2 Shredded Mexican Cheese (not included in picture below)
The first thing you want to do is marinade the meat. In a large clean bowl mix together your ground beef, green chile, salsa and taco seasoning mix. Mash everything together until it looks like the below image.
While your meat marinades the next thing you want to do is cook your onions and bell peppers. Dice both your onions and bell pepper into small equal size. You are going to want to add a little bit of salt and cook your onions down until they start turning a little brown.
Once your onions start to take on some color you can move your cooked onions and bell peppers into a clean bowl. If you want you can cook your onions and bell peppers down even more, but I personally like a little bit of crunch still left in my onions when I eat tacos because the ground beef already has the soft texture so the vegetables add the crunch. If you cook down the onions and bell peppers all the way to the point where they are basically grilled, there won’t be any crunch in your bite.
Once you remove the onions and bell pepper make sure you DO NOT wash your pan, you want to see the light brown bits left on the pan, this is the caramelized onion and bell pepper flavor mixed in with the cooking oil. You want to use this flavor to enhance the flavor of your ground beef.
Immediately add in your marinaded ground beef mix into the hot pan. Using a large metal or plastic spoon flatten the meat so it completely covers the bottom of the pan. Cook your meat until the bottom starts to form a nice crust. You can usually tell by looking at the side of the meat, when you first start cooking ground beef only the bottom half of the side will look cooked. As the meat cooks through the cooked side of the meat will start to climb up the side, once the cooked part climbs up to about 2/3 of the side you should be ready to flip the meat.
When you flip your ground beef DO NOT try to flip the whole chunk of meat at once. I usually break the meat up into four corner pieces and flip each of the four pieces. Once you are done flipping your beef, it should look like the below image. Immediately wash your cooking spoon/spatula because up until now you’ve been using it to touch raw meat. We cook beef to ensure it is safe to eat, it would be horrible if you spent time cooking beef then you touch it with a spoon that recently touched raw meat and contaminated the cooked beef.
While your meat continues to cook you can turn your attention to the lettuce. All you need to do is cut it up into tiny shreds then wash/rinse it. Put your clean shredded lettuce into a clean bowl and set it aside. Now take your shredded cheese and put about 1/4 – 1/2 cup into a separate clean bowl. By now your meat should be fully cooked, use your clean spoon/spatula and break up the beef until it looks like ground beef. At this point turn off the heat because you don’t want to overcook your meat.
The final step is to heat up your flour tortilla. You can either do this over a clean frying pan or you can even eat them up directly over the stove (just be careful not to burn your tortilla or start a fire). Once your tortillas are nice a hot cover them with foil so they can stay warm. Now just serve everything and start making some soft shell tacos!