For many families, tacos are a dietary staple that makes its way through the menu rotation now and then. Tacos tick all of the boxes for what we look for in an easy, delicious, and nutritious meal for the family – they’re healthy, they’re quick, and they suit all kinds of taste buds.
This traditional Mexican dish seems to have been adapted to suit Australian and American tastes, with Aussies having their own unique spin on them. The good news is, there’s no right or wrong way to make a taco, and it all depends on what your favourite toppings are, so they’re the perfect choice for fussy kids.
If you’ve never tried to make tacos for your family or just want a new way to spice up your tired old recipe, we’re here to help. This mini taco bar idea is such a fun way to enjoy family meal time and couldn’t be easier to prepare, so we’re giving it our stamp of approval. The best part is, the ingredients can be mixed and matched to suit any leftovers you might have, and you can use either beef mince or kidney beans to meet any dietary requirements. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 500gms of beef mince OR 2 x 400g cans of kidney beans, rinsed and drained;
- One packet of taco seasoning (more if using beans and mince)
- One tbs olive oil
- 12 packet of taco shells (hard or soft)
- Toppings (see below)
Making the Taco Filling
There are a couple of different options for how to make the filling, using either beef mince or kidney beans, so you might just like to use what you have in the cupboard or freezer if that makes it easier. You can also mix the two if you’re planning on serving more or just want a chance to sneak some more protein and fibre into your kids’ diets.
Place the oil in a frying pan and get it to a medium heat before adding the beef mince. Brown the mince until cooked through and then add the taco seasoning to the pan. If adding kidney beans, put these in at the same time as the seasoning and cook for a few minutes until heated through. Put cooked taco filling aside in a large bowl.
Ideas for Toppings
Now you can prepare the toppings for your tacos, and this is where you can really use your imagination. The standard taco fillings you’d see in most Mexican restaurants, and those that will be a huge hit for your home taco bar, include:
- Grated cheese
- Guacomale or avocado pieces
- Shredded lettuce
- Diced tomatoes
- Sour cream
If your cupboard or fridge is looking a little bare on these ingredients or you want some more variety, you might also consider serving up some of these ideas:
- Jalapenos (keep these away from kids if they don’t like spicy)
- Corn kernels
- Red onions
- Natural yoghurt
Try to stick to your child’s taste so that you can guarantee they’ll eat it, but don’t be afraid to help them experiment with the flavours that Mexican food encompasses. Be sure to have some napkins handy too, as everyone knows just how messy a good taco can be.
Bringing it All Together
Now that you have your cooked mince and beans ready to go, and your toppings all cut up, it’s time for the preparation. Grab everyone their own plate, cook up the shells for a few minutes in the oven or microwave, and lay out the toppings with serving spoons for everyone to enjoy. Tacos taste even better the next day, so pack up any leftovers and enjoy them with some freshly cooked shells tomorrow.