March Madness is almost upon us! I don’t really watch a whole lot of college basketball during the regular season (just a game here and there), but I love March Madness. I love filling out a bracket and the excitement of the games and the upsets and the underdogs. My husband and his buddies usually take off of work for the first two days of the tournament and spend the entire weekend (that’s 4 straight days people) just watching basketball. They all head over to our friend Derek’s apartment and set up 4 different TVs so that they can watch all the games at the same time and not miss a minute. Usually I go over in the afternoons to join in the festivities, but this year, I decided I didn’t want to miss out on any of the fun. So I took off of work too.
Before we get to watch March Madness though, we have to get through the conference tournaments. Last night, the Badgers played their first round game in the Big 10 tournament against Nebraska, and oh em gee, you guys. They looked horrific. It’s hard to believe that just a year ago, they were in the NCAA championship game . Now granted, there’s been a coaching change and a few of the team’s seniors left for the NBA at the end of the school year, but still. They just looked sloppy last night. Peter and I met up with a few friends to watch the game and imbibe in a few alcoholic beverages, and by the end of the game, I wished we had just stayed home.
Prior to going out for the game, we had to have some dinner and last night was taco night in the Nielsen household! I would like to introduce you all to my favorite way of making tacos. Next time you make tacos, rather than just cooking up some meat and shoving it into a cold shell with cold cheese and cold toppings, might I suggest that you try baking them? I can’t even tell you how much better they are after they’ve been baked.
Don’t believe me? Just look at those tacos at the top of your screen! In the oven, the shells become crispy and crunchy. The cheese becomes warm and melty. It’s pure taco heaven. I like to eat mine plain with just meat, cheese, and taco sauce (with a giant scoop of sour cream on the side), but Peter often likes me to add black olives, and occasionally lettuce, to his.
One day I’d like to start making my own taco shells, but I’m lazy and the store-bought ones are just so much more convenient. I like the Stand N Stuff version that Old El Paso makes because that way they’re not falling all over your plate. Tacos are messy enough as it is. No sense in making it worse.
When I make tacos, I actually like to have two layers of fillings. I do a regular layer with meat, taco sauce, and cheese, and then a smaller layer of the same fillings on top of the first layer, so that when you eat the top of the taco, you’re not eating just shell. There’s nothing worse than a bite of taco with no filling. This way, you get warm, spicy taco deliciousness in each and every bite!
Servings: 2 (3 tacos each)
- 6 hard taco shells (I use Old El Paso Stand N Stuff)
- 1 lb lean ground turkey (I use 99% lean)
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- 2 1/2 tbsp taco sauce
- 1 cup (about 4 oz) reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
- Olives, jalapeños, lettuce, sour cream, etc., if desired
- Preheat oven to 400. Place taco shells in a 7×11 baking dish. Set aside.
- In a medium saute pan, brown turkey. Drain off fat and return to stove. Add taco seasoning and cook according to package instructions.
- Scoop seasoned meat into taco shells. Top first with taco sauce, then cheese. Repeat process again with meat, sauce, and cheese, only in a smaller amount, on top of first layer. (Note: I only use about 1 1/2 cups of meat total to fill 6 tacos. I always have meat left over). If adding olives or jalapeños to your tacos, add those in between the taco sauce and cheese layers.
- Bake for 10 minutes. If you’ve made the meat ahead of time and it’s cold, bake for 15.
- Top with lettuce and sour cream, if desired.