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Tasty Kitchen Blog: Taco-Mania! Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen (Fish Tacos)

It’s taco time! We make tacos quite often for dinner, and I’m going to admit that sometimes when short on time, I’ll fill the tortilla with something a little unexpected but convenient. In a pinch, I’ll grab a cooked Mojo-seasoned rotisserie chicken from the deli department, a package of corn tortillas, shredded cheese and sour cream.

I don’t even bother carving the chicken at all, I’ll just stick the entire chicken, still in its plastic container right in the middle of the dinner table. We just each rip, tear, grab chicken pieces to put on our tortilla.

So barbaric, yet so good.

I also love making grilled fish tacos (photo above) and any fish on sale will do. Just season the fish with some taco seasoning, throw it on a grill pan and eight minutes later, I’ve got fish tacos. It goes really well with thinly shaved crunchy red cabbage, a sliver of avocado and diced fresh tomatoes. If I need a sauce, sometimes I’ll cheat and do a mixture of mayonnaise and Thousand Island dressing. It’s not authentic I know, but hey, after admitting the rotisserie chicken bit, I’m not afraid to tell ya all my shortcut secrets!

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Taco-Mania! Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen (Steak)

Leftover steak gets re-sizzled in the frying pan for 30 seconds and then thrown in a tortilla with crumbled Mexican cheese, shredded lettuce and tomatoes spiced with minced jalapenos.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Taco-Mania! Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen (Carnitas)

And then there’s my favorite: carnitas. Pork slow cooked so tender that it practically falls apart. A zesty, spicy corn relish pairs great with the melt-in-your-mouth pork!

So those above are my standby taco recipes. I don’t stray too far off from these combinations. Now that I’ve gotten the normal stuff out of the way, I’ll also admit that I once tried making tofu tacos. !!MASSIVE FAIL!!

Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite taco stuffin’ AND what’s the biggest taco fail ever? Please tell me I’m not the only one with massive taco fail! Pleeeeze?


Jaden Hair is a food writer, television personality, and food photographer based in Tampa Bay, Florida. Find more of her recipes in her blog, Steamy Kitchen, where you can also read more about Jaden’s new book, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook, and the rave reviews it’s received!



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Melissa Kelly on 5.29.2010

I love to put leftover teriyaki chicken into tacos. Just shred the pieces of chicken and throw in some lettuce and cheese and a little bit of soy sauce or Kraft brand catalina salad dressing and I’m good to go. Absolutely love these things!

Connie on 5.25.2010

Turkey Tacos! they are terrific the day after thanksgiving or any day that you’ve had roasted turkey. I just take the white and dark meat and chop it up in the food processor, then add Rotel mild tomatoes and green chiles to the mix and make the tacos with the usual topping…cheese, onions, pico de gallo and NO NO NO sour cream…we are traditionalists!

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Jared on 5.21.2010

OOH I love tacos.
Any anything with Avocado.
I just went to Baja Fresh a couple weeks ago and tried their Grilled Mahi Taco.
If i can recreate that, I’ll be set.

Janie Moore on 5.20.2010

Try putting an English beef roast in the crock pot along with 1/4 C. water and 1 jar of your favorite salsa. Cook on Low all day. Shred meat and stir everything together. Serve on taco shells along with your favorite veggies and cheese. My family loves this recipe and it’s soooooo easy on a busy day. :)

Ashley on 5.17.2010

My favorite actually IS tofu tacos!! Slice firm tofu, lightly season with taco seasoning, fry in a bit of oil for a minute or so, and place in a soft fryed corn tortilla with all the trimmings, yum :)

Cynthia Bunten on 5.17.2010

We had “Mashed potato tacos” from Sam the Cooking Guy a couple of weeks ago. Mashed potatoes, sour cream with a chipotle in adobo sauce mixed in, green onions, bacon and crushed kettle-cooked chips. All in a corn tortilla. Kind of tasted like a baked potato. Not sure if we’ll try it again but at least we tried it! My all time favorite is fish tacos, though!

Erin on 5.17.2010

OK, my grandma’s recipe is so awful, but so good! She mixes ground beef, seasonings, onion and BRICK CHILI (I kid you not). Then she puts the filling into a corn tortilla and FRIES IT! Then, THEN, she puts a slice of velveeta inside. Heart attack in a shell! But oh so heavenly!

Amanda on 5.17.2010

I love to sautee some red and yellow peppers, onions, and zucchini and squash up and put that as the filling in my tacos. Absolutely delicious!

Linda F on 5.16.2010

Most appreciated. Just picked up a Costco Rotisserie Chicken and we’re having tacos for dinner.

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beckysue on 5.16.2010

Our favorite is Halibut tacos! I broil the fish with lemon pepper and a squeeze of lemon, and we eat it with black beans, shredded cheese, cabbage, and a lime-yogurt sauce. Delicious! We also do this with leftover salmon sometimes.

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Karly Campbell on 5.16.2010

Mexican food has got to be the best thing ever created. It’s just amazing. Fish tacos are one of my favorites!

musingegret on 5.16.2010

In Reply to Kapur’s query about cooking ground chicken/turkey:

I use a sharp paring knife and cut cross-wise the long ‘strings’ of ground fowl in the package (1/2 inch dice). Then when I dump it into the skillet and start separating with a wooden spoon, it all breaks apart easily. Looks just like ground meat!

Therese on 5.16.2010

God bless rotisserie chickens. :)
Your tacos look delicious. I only started making fish tacos recently, what a nice surprise!

Here’s my favorite taco :

Saute onion and garlic. Place them on a tortilla with plenty of sliced avocado, some fresh cilantro leaves, and lime crema (just stir some fresh lime juice into sour cream). That’s it!
Very simple and fresh tasting.

Please try them “as is” the first time, then doctor them if you like next time. I think you’ll be surprised at how delicious they are. I first had them at a restaurant in Chicago and have been making them at home since.

Becca Riley on 5.15.2010

Back in the days when I could barely pay rent and basic bills, I discovered that chopped potatoes fried with some onion made a nice filling for corn tortillas. Potato tacos with a little salsa if I could afford it or ketsup if I couldn’t, were filling and really cheap.

Now days, the only thing I don’t like in a taco is fish, but then again I don’t like fish at all anyway. (Sorry all you fish taco lovers) My excuse is that I grew up in the desert and never developed a taste for sea food.

Molly Chase on 5.15.2010

This is a little more carb-heavy than I really like to be on a daily basis, and it might sound kind of weird, but a fried potato taco with pears and roquefort cheese is amazing. Peeled, diced potatoes, tossed with a little vegetable oil and microwaved for maybe three minutes, then pan fried in a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon of butter with a little ancho chile powder and salt. When they’re brown and crispy, I fold them in a flour tortilla, top them with diced pears, crumbled roquefort cheese, romaine lettuce, and sliced avocado. I occasionally will crumble a few slices of cooked bacon into it.

I think that anything that tastes good will taste even better folded into a tortilla.

Sharon Myers on 5.15.2010

So does anyone have a recipe for corn relish – I love the one they put in Chick Fil la southwest salad – I haven’t found one with any heat!

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hannahf on 5.14.2010

I also reckon that for the fish tacos, you could mix salsa and ranch dressing for a great dressing. :)

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hannahf on 5.14.2010

I make my own taco seasoning! I use garlic powder, lemon pepper, chicken salt, Mexican chili powder*, oregano, and cumin.

*I tried it with cayenne, once. It wasn’t nearly as good.

Holly on 5.14.2010

We love chicken tacos! Boneless skinless chicken breast cooked in green chili enchilada sauce and then shredded. Pile into a warm tortilla with homemade pico, avocado, shredded lettuce and sour cream! Whip up some fresh salsa and warm tortilla chips! Heaven! Probably my family’s favorite meal!

Maile on 5.14.2010

I think tempeh would probably work well for a vegetarian taco.

I LOVE my moms carnitas tacos, and fish tacos. I usually whip up a quick sauce of either sour cream, yogurt, or mayo with some salt pepper and vinegar.

As long as their is no lettuce in it, it is a win! (I will pretty much eat anything.)

Ralene on 5.14.2010

My favorite filling is shredded pork. I cook pork, tomatillos, anaheim peppers, jaleno peppers, cilantro and salt in my crockpot for 5 or 6 hours, shred, serve with all the yummy fixings and my family is in heaven.

For a vegetarian filling, we love homemade refried beans, quinoa flavored with lime, salt and cilantro served with all the fixings. The quinoa supplies some great protein and fiber and is delicious.

katie o. on 5.14.2010

my latest go to taco is a bbq pork taco. i created/adapted this recipe two weeks ago and have already made it (and enjoyed it) twice since that time.
It’s going into the official dinner rotation.

Dee Dee on 5.14.2010

I love chicken tacos. I throw chicken breasts in the crockpot with a bottle of salsa and 3 or so chipotle chiles, cook until they fall apart, and toss them in a tortilla with whatever looks good. My very favorite tacos, however, are the puffy tacos you can only get in San Antonio. Sheer heaven, no matter what the filling.

Amy (Minimally Invasive) on 5.14.2010

By far, my favorite taco filling is beef tongue! I even got over my squeamishness to prepare them last year, and now always have a few tongues in the freezer for whenever the craving strikes!

Brooke S on 5.14.2010

My mama/grandma’s tacos! Cook a whole chicken with an onion, two cloves of garlic, and a bay leaf. Pull meat off (not shred), saute with a couple tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, cilantro. Then stuff into corn tortillas and fry or not….. add lettuce or cabbage, cheese, sour cream! Another is terryaki grilled salmon, with chipotle yogurt and cabbage. Taco disasters…. my mom in law trying to get me to change this, and fry the taco shells “less”…… she doesn’t like them as crunchy as we do!

Barefootcookinggirl on 5.14.2010

Try the Eating Well Taco recipes on, which shows 3 recipes, one for meat filling, one for baking crispy taco shells, and one for putting it all together. I love the way the shells come out by baking them, but I did not have a taco rack, so I tried the suggestion and draped them over the bars on my oven rack. So good and crispy! Much much much better than store bought crispy shells out of a box! :)

laura on 5.14.2010

couldn’t resist commenting on the tofu tacos!! i make tofu tacos for myself whenever i do fish tacos for my family. my favorite trick with tofu is to freeze it, then thaw before using. it makes for a MUCH firmer texture. then i squeeze out all the water, slice in very thin strips, marinate it in an extra-seasoned version of whatever sauce i’m using for the tacos, and either grill in a grill pan or lightly pan fry until crispy. serve with all the “fixin’s”. delicious!

rob on 5.14.2010

My favorite camping trick when the kiddies were little was to make Smoritos

Put 4 large marshmallows, chocolate and peanut butter in a burrito and make it crispy in a cast iron pan with butter.


Lindsay on 5.14.2010

I love fish tacos. Speaking of shortcuts, I recently tried Marie’s chipotle dressing for tacos. It reminded me so much of the secret sauce from Rubio’s fish tacos. Now I don’t have to go there when I get my cravings.

Betsy on 5.14.2010

@Betsey–this is the cheese dip recipe that we like around here.

Wendy2 in Washington on 5.14.2010

YUM, we do fish tacos at least once a week and use a combination of sour cream, mayo, lime juice and taco seasoning for our sauce. To that we add the cabbage, avacado and a tiny bit of shredded cheese.

Adena on 5.14.2010

When I make tacos with ground beef, I always use a potato masher. As the meat cooks, I “mash” it and it keeps the pieces nice and small much more easily then just using a fork or spatula…

missmolly on 5.14.2010

Make blackened salmon tacos! Skinless salmon (1 inch thick) sprinkled thick with cajun blackening spices (or mix salt/pepper/garlic powder/cumin/cayenne/dried thyme), super-hot pan. Sear 90s-2min each side until blackened, finish for 4 mins in 375 degree oven. Pull into big chunks, throw it in a taco, spritz on lime. You MUST top with avocado. I also recommend chunks of cantaloupe melon. Sounds weird but tastes AWESOME!

jan on 5.14.2010

Regarding how to easily get ground chicken or turkey to resemble ground beef in texture and appearanec: Cook the chicken or turkey in a small amount of olive oil, then put it in the food processor and pulse a few times until it is crumbly, return it to the pan, add taco seasoning packet and however much water is called for, and there you have it! Just the same consistency as ground beef with hardly any artery clogging fat! It took me a long time to figure that trick out!

jan on 5.14.2010

Soy tacos can be VERY good! Just use the meatless crumbles the same way you would ground beef, following the directions on the taco seasoning packet. All the flavor,very little fat.

Veronica on 5.14.2010

I make every kind of tacos! Beef, shrimp, chicken ranch & fish. I don’t like pork that much (except for bacon, of course) so we’ve never tried pork tacos. I like making fish tacos with frozen, breaded fish filets and topping with red cabbage, a little cheese, tomato and creamy sauce made with mayo, buttermilk, chives, dill & a little sugar. Easy and delish!

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cookincanuck on 5.13.2010

My family loves tacos and, for some reason, I rarely make them at home. We do have a couple of great taco joints close to us – if I could just figure out the ingredients in their secret sauce, I’d make them at home all the time. Great ideas in this post!

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elise1mds on 5.13.2010

*drool* Carnitas *drool*

Tried fish tacos with salmon once… that was a fail!

Emily Smith on 5.13.2010

My favorite stand by is leftover pulled pork with spinach, soiur cream, cheese and dressing I make with tomatillos, ranch dip mix, cilantro, sour cream, and a bit of oil! So delicious.

My major taco fail – using the last of the tortillas in the house to melt the cheese on broil and frying them all to a crisp blackness. We ate tacos over tortilla chips.

bodyhacker on 5.13.2010

Definitely agree and love tacos. They are the perfect weeknight meal – quick, healthy and delicious all at the same time.

Not sure if you ever tried La Tortilla Factory Low Carb/High Fiber Tortillas. They are only 50cals per tortilla for their small taco size ones / 80 cals for their larger ones and taste great!

We love fish tacos and trying to find a good salmon taco recipe. If anyone knows one please share! Definitely would appreciate it! :-)

Laura on 5.13.2010

I am obsessed with taco salad(taco’s too, but taco salad makes me feel healthier!). Ground beef, black beans, salsa, romaine, crushed up chips, and cheese. Mexican Style Rice a Roni brown rice blend on the side…one of my favorite super easy meals.

Josh on 5.13.2010

My favorite quick condiment for fish tacos is mayo mixed with Sriracha chili sauce. It adds the perfect amount of kick and a nice garlic flavor to it.

DianaQ on 5.13.2010

Well, I was born and raised in Mexico, so tacos are kind of a staple at home, hehe.
One important thing is, that what people call “taco meat” doesn’t really exist in Mexico. We make tacos out of anything, as long as it chopped small.
Heck, my Dad won’t even bother with the chopped small, he eats salsa tacos :D

I really don’t have a favorite taco filler, but I do have a favorite potuluck: The Taquiza.
Basically, everybody brings in a dish to be used as a taco filler (and boy can you get creative there, from shredded meats and scrambled eggs with chorizo to last nights’ stir-fry leftovers). Host buys the tortillas and the salsas. Boy, now I’m hungry!

Stacey Rhea on 5.13.2010

love chicken fajita tacos made mostly in the crockpot. My biggest failure of a taco in my opinion was made for and eaten lovingly by my son when he was on an eating strike. Hotdog tacos. Gross as all get out to the rest of us but they were the only thing Josh would eat for about three weeks when he was five.

Dianne on 5.13.2010

Betsey- you might try this

White Queso Dip(Mexican Style)

1 pound Land o Lakes White American(I got this in the deli at Walmart)
2 cans small diced green chilis undrained
1/2 cup- 1 cup heavy whipping cream depending on thickness of dip you like

Simmer all on the stove in a saucepan until smooth. Serve with nacho chips
This is fabulous!!

Dianne on 5.13.2010

The best and eastiest chicken tacos are:

4 chicken breasts -uncooked
1 jar of Harry and David Black bean
Cook in crockpot 3 hours then shred and mix well.

Add your favorite toppings and you will be in Taco heaven!

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allisongray on 5.13.2010

These all sound so delicious, especially the fish tacos. And what an easy way to make them! I’ve always heard about these long drawn out fish taco recipes, but the way you make them sounds simple and yummy.

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KitchenTravels on 5.13.2010

Love tacos! Your recipes look strikingly similar to mine. Hmmm… leftovers? pre-roasted chicken? Tacos! ;) If you like carnitas, try the one from Trader Joe’s. It’s delicious, and for $5-$6 dollars, the package has enough to make tacos for our whole family of five. Well, that is, as long as we have sides, too. Our family eats a LOT.

Once I had to make meat-free tacos for a vegetarian friend. He doesn’t like mushrooms, so my portobello idea was out. Instead, I marinated firm tofu in a mixture of salsa fresca, OJ, garlic, cumin, and a few other spices, then roasted it in the oven with the sauce. YUM. Even the non-veg-heads liked it.

rebecca on 5.13.2010

My all-time favorite taco is the fish taco over at Rookie-Cookie. The mango salsa, the cabbage, the adobo mayo. Oh my good heavens!!!! I’m dying right now.

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kimba on 5.13.2010

Best Shredded Beef:
1 pkg taco seasoning
water (enough to cover bottom inch of meat)
tri-tip cut into chunks
Cover and slow cook Tri-tip for 4 hours @300. (check periodically to make sure water hasn’t evaporated)
Shred with forks.

Majorly serious delish.