Beef Tacos with Homemade Tortillas

September 20, 2014
Beef Tacos with Homemade Tortillas - A recipe for good old fashioned taco meat, versatile enough for your choice of toppings. A great go-to for weeknights.

She began her slow descent on the escalator at the airport

Beef Tacos with Homemade Tortillas - A recipe for good old fashioned taco meat, versatile enough for your choice of toppings. A great go-to for weeknights.

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“Could a year really have passed since the last time we saw each other?”

The child she held in her arms a toddler now, with big brown eyes, a fluffy teddy bear, and a very slobbery smile


“Hi, Little One.  How are you?”

“Hi,”  his smile widened.  If you only know one word, I've decided that seems like a pretty good one.

For the next few days, we went to the park, ate organic baby snacks, had pancakes for breakfast, played peek-a-boo, and practiced petting the puppies and kitties.

How did I ever find the energy to do all of this when his Mom was a toddler?

Teddy Bear

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Life lesson #9032 – Not all relationships are easily repaired, no matter how badly you want it.

Sometimes life's currents too strong, and you can't simply reach in and pull someone to safety.  Sometimes there are more lessons to be lived.  Wisdom that can only be gained through experience.

I only wish it hurt a little less

“Hi Sweetie, don't forget your fuzzy green slippers.  I'm sure you'll know a few more words by the time we meet again.”

Beef Tacos with Homemade Tortillas - A recipe for good old fashioned taco meat, versatile enough for your choice of toppings. A great go-to for weeknights.

I've been thinking and writing a lot about stress lately.  There's head knowledge, and then there's behavior.  During dark times in the past I've eaten cookies, today there are walks and yoga.

“For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on earth”   ~ Sanskrit Proverb

I've become a true believer in the power of breath.  At the beginning of each yoga class, we're reminded to breathe in through our nose and exhale through our mouth.  I close my eyes, push everything else from my mind, and imagine my breath flowing into all parts of my body, tension and stress leaving with every exhale

The beautiful thing is, the act of deep breathing can be a calming technique wherever I happen to be.  If I notice I'm stressed, I'll often find a quiet place in the house, and spend five or ten minutes relaxing my mind.

Breathe 3

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The day she came home, it was nice to have taco meat simmering in the slow-cooker.  The recipe from Cook's Illustrated.  It's fantastic.

A couple of keys to a great taco?  The meat is really the star of the show and needs to stand up to toppings.  Taking a little extra time to make it without store-bought seasoning, will make a world of difference.

The second is a good tortilla.  Don't get me wrong; many store-bought tortillas are great, although if you have the time and curiosity, I think you'll find value in making them from scratch.  This dough is nice because it requires minimal kneading and a short rest (~ 30 minutes) before being rolled (you don't need a tortilla press, a rolling pin will work just fine)

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Beef Tacos with Homemade Tortillas - A recipe for good old fashioned taco meat, versatile enough for your choice of toppings. A great go-to for weeknights.

ps:  This recipe will work either on the stove-top or slow-cooker 

— — —

~ Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Beef Tacos


  • Beef Filling
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped small
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (more or less, depending on your tolerance for heat)
  • salt
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp natural sugar (Sugar in the Raw or Turbinado)
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper

  • Shells and Toppings
  • 8 taco shells or small tortillas
  • shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
  • shredded iceberg lettuce
  • tomatoes, chopped small
  • sour cream
  • avocado, diced medium
  • red onion, chopped small
  • salsa
  • hot sauce


  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat until hot and shimmering but not smoking (~ 2 minutes)
  • Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (~ 4 minutes)
  • Add garlic, spices, and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant (~ 1 minute)
  • Add ground beef and cook, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon until the beef is no longer pink
  • At this point, if you'd like to finish the taco meat off in the slow-cooker, add the seasoned meat & the rest of the ingredients to the cooker and set on low for ~ 6 hours. If you'd like to finish it on the stovetop, proceed with the instructions below
  • Add tomato sauce, chicken broth, coconut sugar, and vinegar and bring to simmer.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently and breaking up the meat so that no chunks remain and the liquid has reduced and thickened (mixture shouldn't be dry) ~10 minutes
  • Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
Serves: 4
Nutrition + Show
Calories 454
Total Fat 26g
Saturated Fat 8.7g
Carbohydrates 20.7g
Fiber 2.4g
Sugars 3.4g
Protein 32.9g
Print This Recipe


Homemade Tortillas


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter


  • Whisk flours, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. With a knife cut little pieces of the butter into the flour. Then with two knives cut the butter into the flour until mealy, smaller little bits of butter than in a pie dough.
  • Stir in ⅔ cup warm water with a fork until a shaggy dough forms.
  • Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 3-4 minutes until smooth, soft, and not sticky.
  • Cut the dough into 2-oz pieces for taco-sized tortillas or 3-oz pieces for burrito-sized tortillas. You will have 8 to 9 small pieces or 4 to 5 larger pieces. Shape pieces into a ball.
  • Cover with a very light kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Be careful that your room isn’t too hot. Let the dough rest 30 minutes and up to two hours.
  • Roll out each ball to about 9 to 10 inches (taco) or 11 to 12 inches (burrito) in diameter, or till you can see the counter start to come through.
  • (A tortilla press is nice to flatten the ball into a disk to get things going, but ultimately a rolling pin works best. The tortilla press is unnecessary if you don’t have one)
  • Heat a 12 inch non-stick or cast-iron pan (do not add any oil) on medium-high.
  • Lay the tortilla in the pan and cook until it puffs and little brown spots on the underside appear. Turn with tongs and cook.
  • Each tortilla takes about 45-60 seconds. You don’t really want the tortilla to brown at all.
Serves: 8
Nutrition + Show
Calories 170
Total Fat 6.3g
Saturated Fat 3.7g
Carbohydrates 30.2g
Fiber 3.5g
Sugars 0.4g
Protein 4.1g
Print This Recipe

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  • Reply Luci Coo April 29, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    I am going to have to try in making these taco shells maybe try them with a little flavor in them.

  • Reply Sarah Bailey May 17, 2017 at 3:17 am

    How amazing do these sound, I have to admit I just know my other half would adore these, I might have to treat him to some for dinner!

  • Reply Freya Farrington May 17, 2017 at 3:21 am

    Yes relationships are tough especially when one party loves the other more, but I believe if it is meant to be, it’s meant to be! One thing I’m sure of….I’ll be having tacos tonight!

  • Reply Sophia May 17, 2017 at 5:00 am

    Tacos are one of the few meals my WHOLE family agrees on. Taco Tuesday is legit in my house. My picky one even eats 3 or 4 some weeks.

  • Reply Joanna May 17, 2017 at 6:15 am

    5 stars
    Oh yum I’ve not had tacos in awhile

  • Reply Alli Smith May 17, 2017 at 6:22 am

    I’ve always wanting to make homemade tortillas ever since I saw them being made by a sweet old woman at a tiny restaurant in Cabo. This is just what I needed to kick my butt into high gear and make my own. Your tacos look delicious!

  • Reply Candy May 17, 2017 at 7:07 am

    Oh my gosh does this ever look so good. My family thinks I am nuts because I love color in my food. This is perfect and looks pretty as well.

  • Reply Amber Myers May 17, 2017 at 7:22 am

    5 stars
    Well, I’m drooling all over myself. These look fabulous. Homemade tortillas? Yes please! I just love tacos.

  • Reply Terri Beavers May 17, 2017 at 7:32 am

    5 stars
    Those tacos with homemade tortillas look absolutely scrumptious. I really need to try your recipe this weekend when the grand kids come.

  • Reply Betty May 17, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Yum yum I love me some good tacos! They are easy to make with simple ingredients but the combination of everything makes the tacos oh-so-tasty!

  • Reply Stella May 17, 2017 at 11:01 am

    I haven’t made tacos for ages – my son wanted enchiladas this week but I may change to tacos instead x

  • Reply Pam Wattenbarger May 17, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Tacos are the best. Everyone loves them! I have never made my own flour tortillas before though.

  • Reply Jenny May 17, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    I’ve never thought of making my own tortillas before, the recipe is so simple!

  • Reply Anosa May 17, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    I love Yoga and use the deep breathing as well, the beef tacos looks absolutely amazing.

  • Reply Claudia Krusch May 17, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    I always try to use fresh ingredients when I cook. I have never tried to make my own tortillas before. I will have to give this a try on the weekend.

  • Reply Stella May 17, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    5 stars
    Your tacos look so good! I use the same ingredients when I prepare the meat for my tacos too. However, I have not tried making tortillas from scratch. I might try yours. Homemade is always better.

  • Reply Angelic Sinova May 17, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    I think tacos are in my top five favorite foods! Beef, fish, chicken or steak, I LOVE all tacos. Those Beef Tacos with Homemade Tortillas look super yummy.

  • Reply TIm B May 17, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    5 stars
    I so want a taco right now! Those homemade tortillas look great. I’m going to have to use this recipe!

  • Reply Sandy N Vyjay May 17, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    Though, we are vegans, but the recipe sounds great for a meat lover. The story that came along would surely hold the audience and let the recipe be the climax. We will surely recommend to our friends. Its is a delight for those who love the crisp of meats and trying new dishes.

  • Reply Shirley May 18, 2017 at 12:23 am

    5 stars
    Recipe sounds great, I love tacos would love to make them my own 🙂

  • Reply Claire May 18, 2017 at 12:53 am

    5 stars
    I can’t imagine making my own tortillas. I hear there’s no store bought tortilla that is as good as homemade, but I just can’t imagine making it myself

  • Reply Ra'Nesha May 18, 2017 at 1:46 am

    5 stars
    I’ve never heard of coconut sugar. For beef tacos we normally cook them on the stove top and I only use two seasonings for flavor which is black pepper and seasoning salt. I would love to try to make my own tortillas next time and try your recipe.

  • Reply Mars May 18, 2017 at 5:48 am

    I want tacos! I used to do my own tacos at home. Its so easy to prepare and tortillas can be bought in store. Making your own tortillas seems fun too.

  • Reply Elena May 18, 2017 at 6:24 am

    5 stars
    This is great. Every time I make tortillas I mess up the toppings and after that they are dry and not tasty. I will follow this recipe.

  • Reply Kirsty May 18, 2017 at 7:30 am

    These tacos look super tasty. I normally use a box one so I might have to try these! Love the idea of the slow cooked too it makes life easier sometimes

  • Reply Rahul Khurana May 18, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    The tacos look so yummy.. I am surely telling my mom to make this for me someday. 🙂

  • Reply Kita Bryant May 18, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    I’ve always loved making homemade tortillas. They’re so much fun and remind me of my childhood.

  • Reply Sarah May 18, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    5 stars
    This is such a beautifully written post. And those tacos look amazing! I definitely need to make them again soon!

  • Reply Cathy May 18, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    5 stars
    Oh wow. Those tacos look so good! My family is a big fan of Mexican dishes and we like ours hot and spicy! I will try your recipe for tortillas. I agree that homemade is always better than store bought.

  • Reply DR May 18, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    5 stars
    “When the current is too strong to pull someone in…- “wisdom that can only be gained through experience.” This was the most powerful awe inspiring thing i’ve read all day. Things change and i find people are fearful of this, protective of their comfortable reality. We should all push forward, but a message from the familiar-a sort of “I’m always here” even in the fact of slow cooked beef tacos- could be a savior all by itself….

  • Reply Alexandra May 19, 2017 at 5:22 am

    This is amazing! You can never go wrong with tacos! I will definitely be making this soon.

  • Reply Helen May 19, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    These sound amazing! I love tacos but haven’t ever tried making the tortilla myself, I’ll have to give it a go.

  • Reply Valerie May 19, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    5 stars
    I am always looking for new recipes I can make in the slow cooker. These look so delicious. Perfect to make on busy nights.

  • Reply Lindsey May 20, 2017 at 1:42 am

    I am a big taco fan! They always go down a treat in my home. Great for all the family to get stuck in a build there own.

  • Reply Jess May 20, 2017 at 3:53 am

    Hope you had a lovely time with your daughter and her little one! I love when they only know a word or two, and use it in EVERY situation <3

  • Reply Laura May 20, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    My OH would love this as I don’t eat meat although swapping the beef for quorn would be simple. Great weekend supper inspiration and perfect for the family

    Laura x

  • Reply Joanna May 21, 2017 at 2:12 am

    5 stars
    We love tacos not had them in ages though. I like the idea of making the taco shells we normally just buy them.

  • Reply Surekha May 22, 2017 at 9:58 am

    I love how you also included the recipe to make homemade tortillas. I love tacos and would love to make them from scratch.

  • Reply Alina May 22, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    5 stars
    I love this recipe. Tacos are my favorite espeically if it’s with home made tortillas

  • Reply EG III May 22, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    5 stars
    I agree that key to a great taco is the meat, but I’ve actually never tried to season it my own without the store-bought kit. Hopefully this can be my inspiration to do just that!

  • Reply Rachel Palmer June 6, 2017 at 10:40 am

    ‘Hi’ was the first word that both my daughters learned too. I’ve never made tacos from scratch but I’ll save this recipe for when I do ?

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