We are up to our chin guards in football season, so I’ve kicked up my family-friendly, meal-prepping madness into overtime. With just a little “overtime” work on Sunday, I can prepare a couple batches of my BBQ Beef, Black Bean and Sweet ‘Tater Taquitos and have enough for a couple quick-fix, weeknight dinners and leftovers for snacking on the big game day. By the way and sorry for the questionable rhyming (haha), I originally developed these onfleek-o taquitos for BeefLovingTexans.com, so check it out!
While my teenage boys and their always-hungry friends are munching what they assume to be merely crispy, crunchy, cheesy, beefy taquitos (rolled small tacos by any other name!), I snicker in silent satisfaction knowing I’ve snuck in some wholesome nutrition to fuel their busy, active bodies. Lean beef for muscle-making protein and iron, beans for even more protein plus fiber, and sweet potato in a whole grain tortillas for a double-whammy of healthy complex carbs for long-lasting giddy-up-and-go. As Guy Fieri would say in his own punderful way, “You can’t beato these taquitos!”
These tasty taquitos can be devoured right out of the oven, or freeze a batch and then just toss in the oven (or toaster oven!) on those endless days that have gone into double overtime. This is an easy way to pass the proverbial ball over to the kids and let them do some quarterbacking in the kitchen.
Just add a simple side salad and your favorite Texas-style condiments like guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo and barbeque sauce.My Mojo Citrus Guacamole makes a tasty team up!
One the taquito innards are made, assemble by adding a spoonful in the middle of a whole grain tortilla, rolling up and baking (no frying here and they are still super crunchy). While corn tortillas are traditional for taquitos, I’ve found that the corn-flour “mix” tortillas are more pliable and less prone to crack. If needed, insert a toothpick to keep tortillas secure, but don’t forget to remove before serving!
In large skillet, brown ground beef over medium-high heeat, add minced garlic in last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain fat and excess water. Mix in packet of taco seasoning and chili powder and 2 tablespoons of water (do not add amount of water taco season packet calls for). Stir and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Transfer cooked beef mixture to large bowl.
Add olive oil to same skillet (okay if beef residue stays in there). Bring to medium-high heat and saute diced sweet potatoes for 4 to 5 minutes or until softened and browning. Add sweet potatoes to bowl with beef mixture.
Add rinsed and drained beans to beef bow. Make sure beans have drained well to prevent soggy taquitos. Let entire mixture cool down for 5 to 10 minutes.
Gently stir in BBQ sauces and 1 ½ cups of cheese.
Working one at a time, transfer tortilla to a work surface; place scant 1/3 cup beef mixture into center of tortilla. Bring the bottom edge of the tortilla tightly over the filling, rolling from bottom to top until the top of the tortilla is reached. Secure with toothpick. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
Place taquitos onto rimmed sheet sprayed with baking spray. Spray tops of taquitos with baking spray and bake until crisp and cheese has melted, about 12-15 minutes.
To reheat from frozen, heat oven to 375 F degrees and place taquitos on rimmed sheet sprayed with baking spray. Lightly cover tops of taquitos with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and spray tops of taquitos with baking spray, increase heat to 400 and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until crisp, cheese has melted and tops are brown.
In my perfect world, I’m living on a remote tropical island with every creature comfort including Wi-Fi, a fully-loaded gym and well-stocked market to easily procure ingredients for all my recipe creations — like this wave-making Coconut Bacon Burger with Grilled Pineapple.
Let me just hit the highlights here so I can get back to my dream — gorgeous prime ground chuck, the signature flavor and scent of coconut, pineapple carmalized to maximize deliciousness, soft sweet onion buns — oh and bacon, from a slab of thick hardwood smoked pig.
So, do I have your attention?! I know what you’re thinking, I can’t inhale a burger and then hit the beach in bathing suit. Oh, yes you can! First of all, let me tell you one thing, eating burgers in bikini — it’s so freeing, soon you’ll loose all your inhibitions. Second, it can get hot grilling on the beach, so you’d be wearing a bathing suit anyway! And third, really-actually-trust-me, a burger is NOT a bad food choice — indeed, it’s quite balanced. Here’s why:
Quick Tip: Use a peanut butter jar lid to shape your patties!
If you start with a quarter-pound of ground beef, you’ll end up with a 3-ounce cooked patty which offers about 25g protein for just 213 calories for an 80/20 grind (of course your bun and topping selections add more). But this 25g is the optimal amount of protein to eat at one meal to keep you satisfied and binge snacking on carby snacks later. ** Note, I realize my recipe is for a larger burger than just described, but hey, i’m still on this mental vacation where anything goes. Feel free to scale your patty down.
Interested in learning more about what protein can do to help you on your health and fitness journey? Why not join me on a free 30 Day Protein Challenge with lots of tips, motivation and recipes.
So on to the Coconut Bacon Burger with Grilled Pineapple I originally created for BeefLovingTexans.com! Mahalo, my friends!
Coconut Bacon Burger with Grilled Pineapple Recipe
½ pound thick-sliced hardwood smoked bacon
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (preferably 80/20 grind)
2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (divided)
Salt and pepper
4 slices cored pineapple, preferably fresh
4 sweet Hawaiian or onion rolls, split
¼ cup store-bought Coconut Butter (sometimes called “Coconut Manna”)
1 teaspoon minced basil
½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
Cook bacon to desired level of crispness in large skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer to paper towels to drain excess grease.
Form beef into 4 equal-sized 6-oz. patties. Use finger to make slight indention in the center of each patty to prevent puffing up on the grill. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread all but 1 tablespoon of the unsweetened coconut in shallow dish. Roll sides of burger patty through coconut, patting on if necessary.
Head grill to 400F degrees and grill burgers and pineapple rings for approximately 4 minutes before flipping and cooking an additional 4 to 6 minutes. Burgers will be ready to take off grill when internal temperature measures 155 F degrees. Transfer burgers and pineapple to platter to rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile use a spatula to mix together coconut butter, remaining 1 tablespoon shredded coconut, red pepper flakes and basil together in small bowl. Set aside.
Toast split buns, cut side down, on grill for 2 to 3 minutes.
To serve, spread toasted bun with coconut spread and add lettuce, patty, pineapple and bacon.
What is your favorite tropical flavor? Going to the beach this summer? What is your favorite island? Have you ever run a marathon on a tropical island — which one, I’m thinking of signing up for one. Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
I hope you have a big spoon at the ready, my recipe for Best-Ever Beef Chili is, well, THE BEST! With freezing temperatures and heated football bowl games going down, this big pot of spicy, rich and blissfully beefy chili is what to serve by the mug, bowl or trough.
I typically make chili by breaking down a roast into bite-sized chunks, my kitchen stampeded causing Southwestern Steak Chili is a family favorite. However, the kids love ground beef (and so does my food budget) and requested a chili made with their favorite food group — hamburger meat!
Won’t lie, I was a little worried that the ground beef would come out dry and the beefy taste might get downed out by bold chili spices. After reading an article in Cooks Illustrated on achieving “better browning through science,” I knew I had to try their technique of using a baking solution on meat to enable proteins to attract more water and hold onto it during cooking and also create a higher pH level to speed up the desirable Maillard reaction (basically, the harbinger of caramelization). My dad reported success using this method to keep steaks juicy and tender, and I hoped this easy hack would help improve the taste and texture of my chili’s ground beef.
So, how does this baking soda beef hack work? Typically, when ground beef is cooked on the stove top, so much water and liquid is expelled that the beef chunks just end up steaming in their own juices — very little actually browning happens. When cooked to the point of most water evaporating, the batch of beef will be unpleasantly overdone. However, by gently tossing a baking soda solution with the meat (about ¾ teaspoon baking soda to 2 tablespoons water for 2lbs of grind) and letting sit for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking , beef loses less liquid, browns faster and tastes better. I tried it myself with 80/20 Chuck Ground Beef and I must say, I was impressed! The ground beef cooked “as-is” was almost immediately was sitting in a pool of liquids (as you can see from the picture) and when taste-tested seemed a little rubbery and bland.
However, the baking soda treated beef immediately started to brown in the pot. And, while there was still a fair deal of liquid released, it was noticely less so than the previous batch (Cook’s illustrated said about 10% less liquid, I felt like maybe even a little more). More noticeable though, was the taste – the baking-soda treated batch had a richer, more complex caramelized flavor and was markedly juicier. In fact, the cooked beef was so yummy; I worried about taste-testing my way through the whole pile before I even started the rest of the chili!
So, my final recommendation on this “baking soda treatment” is definitely try it and see what you think! It does take little bit of pre-planning because you have to let the solution sit on the meat for 20 minutes, but you can have that going while you prep the other ingredients.
So, here is my Best Ever Ground Beef Chili recipe, – every spoon is a mouthful of meaty goodness. It’s rich and spicy, without being too heavy or too “hot” for kids – I think you’ll really like it. But, feel free to use this baking soda technique with any beef chili recipe!
Add ground beef to bowl and drizzle with solution of 2 tablespoons water and ¾ teaspoon baking soda. Gently break apart beef with hands to distribute, but do not over knead (causes toughness). Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large Dutch oven pot over medium high. Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes until softened, stirring as needed. Mix in garlic and cook for another minute.
Add treated ground beef to pot and cook, while stirring and breaking up into chunks. Brown beef for approximately 12 to 15 minutes or until no longer pink.
Add chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano and salt to beef mixture and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until spices begin to bloom and become fragrant, about 2 minutes.
To pot of beef, add finely crushed tortilla chips, beef broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beans with liquid, and sugar. Bring to a boil and then put lid on Dutch oven and transfer to a 275 F degree oven for approximately 1 to 2 hours, or until flavors have developed and sauce is thickened.
Remove from oven and let cool, uncovered for 10 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed, to taste.
Serve with rice or tortilla chips and other toppings of choice including cheese, avocado, red onion, cilantro, etc