Crockpot Taquitos

The title of this post is actually misleading – the only part of these taquitos that get made in the crockpot is the shredded beef filling!

Taquitos (also referred to as rolled tacos, though I refuse to call them that) are a favorite of the whole family. A local quickie Mexican restaurant sells them, but I’ve only gotten them a few times because they taste like they’re just heated-up frozen taquitos from a box (and yes, we’ve tried those too!).

Anyway, so I wanted to figure out how to make these myself, and here’s what I’ve come up with. The first time I did it I tried to shred the beef with two forks, which, as you can imagine, took forever. Now I transfer the beef and about 3/4 of the liquid into a food processor, pulse it a few times, and voila, done! I also like my taquitos extra-crispy (see picture above) so I let mine cook just a tad longer in the oil.

I’ve got these in the crockpot right now (Cinco de Mayo!) and the house smells amazing after just a couple of hours.

Recommended equipment:
~ 1.5 to 2 qt crockpot
~ Heavy-bottom pan
~ Splatter screen
~ Cooling/draining rack
~ Tongs

Crockpot Taquitos

~ 1.5 – 2 lbs beef stew meat, or other beef of your choice (other than ground)
~ 1 packet of taco seasoning mix, or homemade taco flavors of your choice
~ 1 4oz can of chopped green chiles
~ 1 cup of water (or beef broth)

Put all ingredients into a small crockpot (I actually use my little guy for this, you don’t need a lot of room and it only goes up about halfway) and gently stir to combine. Set on low and let cook for about 6-8 hours.

Transfer beef and about 3/4 to 1 cup of the liquid into a food processor (you can add more liquid as you need to, especially if it looks dry). Pulse just a few times to get the beef shredded up (or, if you’ve got kids in braces like I do, you can shred it a bit finer, too).

Using warmed up corn tortillas (place about three tortillas and a cup of water in your microwave and microwave for 30 seconds), place about 2-3 tablespoons of shredded meat (I don’t actually measure, just put in what looks right) just off-center on the tortilla and roll up.

Shallow fry (about 350 degrees and no more than 1/2″ of oil) in a heavy-bottom pan on one side for about 30 seconds or until golden brown, and turn over. I use my tongs and a fork to keep the taquito in the oil just long enough that it doesn’t come apart, and after it’s “set” it’ll sit by itself in the oil just fine. I do three taquitos at a time in the pan so it doesn’t get overcrowded.

Remove finished taquitos from the oil onto a rack to drain and immediately sprinkle just a bit of salt on top. Serve warm or at room temperature with sour cream, shredded cheese, salsa, and whatever else you want!


Homemade Fish Tacos

Last summer, Mike and I were brainstorming, trying to come up with ideas for some light summer dinners. One of his suggestions was fish tacos and I agreed to see what I could find. This is significant for two reasons: I don’t like 99% of the seafood I’ve tried (I want to like it, I just don’t), and I’d never had fish tacos before.

I found a bunch of recipes online and discovered that it’s a pretty basic dish. So, since I’m a glutton for punishment, I decided to up the ante a bit with some homemade tortillas, too. Harina is really easy to find here in Las Vegas and is perfect for making some delicious soft flour tortillas. If you can’t find harina at your local stores, though, you can find some recipes online to use instead.

Tortillas are pretty fun to make on your own but they require a little bit of arm strength when rolling them out. Take turns with someone so you don’t get burnt out! Use a cast iron skillet because you don’t want to use any extra fat in the pan (like you’d have to with a non-stick pan), and you have to turn the heat up pretty high. Slap the tortilla in on one side for about 30 seconds, and then flip it over to the other side. I usually just peek to see how dark they’re getting. It’s not rocket science!

Keep them “clam-shelled” in a long paper towel to avoid them sitting in condensation, and then fold over with some aluminum foil to keep them warm and pliable. Just add new tortillas on top and then fold the paper towel and foil back over.

For the fish tacos, I made up a batch of Baja Sauce. Beware, that recipe makes a TON, and even halved it still makes a ton. (And to be honest, we’re kind of over that particular recipe so when I make these again I’m going to dig up something else.)

For the fish I used a package of good frozen fish fillets. We’ve tried frying up our own and just couldn’t seem to get what we wanted. The fillets were perfect and deliciously crispy with no mess. I cut each fillet in half length-wise, then chopped those into threes (for a total of six bite sized pieces per fillet).

To assemble, slather some sauce onto the tortilla, then some crispy shredded cabbage. Next, add the fish, then a little more sauce, and some fresh chopped tomatoes (the ones in the picture above were from our garden last summer).

Needless to say, these are a hit. If you’re serving these to fish taco fanatics, buy two boxes of the good fish fillets since each fillet is the perfect size for one taco.