Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Taco Cups

My family really loves Mexican food, especially me, my mom, and my brother. When we used to live in the states we ate Mexican food quite often and some of our favorite places included Qdoba and Azteca. However here in Vancouver there doesn't seem to be all that many restaurants offering Latin food so we mostly satisfy the craving by cooking it for ourselves at home. Some personal favorites of mine include fajitas and chicken tortilla soup.

Last week, my parents were away on vacation and I had to cook for myself and my brother. At first I was going to make chicken enchiladas because they're simple, easy, and pack well work work. However my brother complained that I have made enchiladas too many times and he wanted something different. I fulfilled his request by making these taco cups, inspired by my petite lasagnas but with Mexican flavors.

My brother was very grateful that I listened to his request and altered my plans to please his appetite. In fact he ate almost an entire tray (9 taco cups to be exact) in one sitting! He said that the taco cups were even better than the petite lasagnas because it included a lot of meat and cheese. I think another reason why they tasted so great was the use of smoked paprika, a new favorite ingredient of mine. Lately I have found that adding just a hint of smoked paprika into savory dishes brings out a wonderful taste and smell. It's also great because it gives a Mexican flavor without being overly spicy. Based on my brother's enthusiasm, I think it's safe to say these taco cups will become a repeatable favorite.

Taco Cups
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • ½ can tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • Shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat some olive oil over high heat in a large skillet and add the ground beef. Cook until no pink is visible then drain the beef and set aside.
  2. Using the same pan, heat some new olive oil and sauté the chopped onions over medium heat until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. 
  3. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant.
  4. Add the chopped pepper and zucchini and cook until the vegetables have softened. Once soft, return the beef to the pan.
  5. Mix in the tomato paste, smoked paprika, and chili powder. Stir well to ensure everything is coated evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
  6. Spray two muffin pans with non-stick spray and place one wonton wrapper into each well.
  7. Divide the beef mixture evenly among the wells, filling almost to the top.
  8. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over top of the beef for each well.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, or until the cheese on top has melted. Remove from the oven and cool for about 10 minutes in the pan before carefully taking the cups out of the pan.

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