Lately, Anthony has been on a taco kick! He has been asking me for “crunch tacos” every night, and has even learned to spell the word taco to increase his chances of getting tacos for dinner. Anthony, like most kids, likes ground beef in a crunchy corn shell and topped with; shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and a sauce of sorts – for Anthony (and D.J.), it’s Ortega, and this is the way we have been eating tacos, at least one night a week, plus leftover night for about a month now.
You’d think after eating ground beef tacos twice a week for a month, I’d get sick of them, or bored, and want something else, but I really don’t. Not just because I love tacos, but these sneaky are jam packed full of vegetables, and your kids won’t even be able to tell! Bonus!
This recipe really sets you up for meal time success, and makes every one happy. Moms, you can be happy knowing that;
1) even if your kiddos don’t add lettuce to the top of their taco, it’s okay, because there is still a full serving, if not more of veggies in the meat;
2) this meal will save you a few bucks! Adding vegetables to the ground beef not only stretches out the meat to go further, it will stretch out your grocery budget too, because you can use less meat in every meal, and make your groceries go further, and;
3) your kids will actually eat dinner! Kids LOVE tacos. I have made these tacos multiple times for the kiddos at school, and there are never any leftovers!
Taco night is also a great time to get kids involved in making dinner. Since a lot of the ingredients for tacos is the toppings, you don’t have to worry about your kids near the stove, and it gives them multiple tasks to do.
T0 really make taco night a success, set up your toppings in a divided dish – like one you’d use for veggies and dip, and let your kids build their own taco. This allows your kids to have to choice of what THEY want for dinner without any pressure. Eating tacos this way also makes dinner time more fun!
20 Minute Ground Beef Tacos With Hidden Vegetables Recipe
For The Taco Meat:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground beef
3 tbsp homemade taco seasoning
2 tsp salt
1/2, 14.5oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained (with or without green chiles) – save the rest for queso!
1/2 yellow onion
1/2 zucchini, peeled
1/2 red bell pepper
1, 8oz can tomato sauce
Your choice of Taco Shells:
crunchy corn taco shells
lettuce – if you can’t have corn or wheat
The first step to make these tacos is to puree your vegetables. Add zucchini, onion and bell pepper to a food processor with a pinch of salt, and puree until smooth. In the pictures below, I added extra diced onions to my tacos.
Prepare toppings for tacos, and place in a divided dish.
In a large pan, over medium high heat, add olive oil and heat until shimmering. If you’re adding extra diced onions like we did, add them now, and cook with a pinch of salt until translucent, about 5-8 minutes, and follow remaining steps of recipe. Add ground beef and 1 tbsp of taco seasoning to pan and cook, breaking up any large chunks of meat with a wooden spoon, until no pink remains – about 10 minutes.
Add diced tomatoes, pureed veggies and tomato sauce. Stir to combine, and cook, stirring frequently for another 10 minutes.
While you’re at this stage, add your crunchy taco shells to a preheated oven, and cook according to package directions – if you’re using soft shells, wait until you’re ready to serve and cover tortillas with a damp paper towel and then throw them in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.
Reduce heat, and let simmer 5 minutes.
To serve, transfer meat to a large bowl, and serve family style with a spoon for scooping in to taco shells along side prepared toppings and your shells of choice!