Taco bakes, taco salads, tacos in soft shells, tacos in hard shells…no matter how I present them, tacos are always (always!) a hit with my family. And while I’m fully aware that there are a million-and-one ways to “do” taco night, I recently was looking for a new twist. I looked at the ingredients I had on hand, and the basic tools in my kitchen, and lo and behold, my trusty little muffin tin caught my eye. I figure if I can make meat loaves in it, why not try tacos?
The wonderful thing about this recipe is you can customize the meat to suit your family’s tastes. For my first batch of muffin-tin tacos, I went with chicken, but ground beef, chorizo, refried beans or barbecued meat would also be delicious. For the chicken mixture, I used pre-cooked chicken breasts, which I shredded and mixed with the salsa I had on hand.
Then I got to work on cutting up the tortillas. Using a four-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, I cut circles from the tortilla. (Don’t throw those scraps away! You can use the leftover tortilla pieces to make chips. Just arrange them on an ungreased cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven until crisp.) You could also get two circles if you used larger tortillas.
Place tortilla rounds on a microwavable plate and nuke on high for 15 or so seconds, or until they are softened. While those are softening, spray your muffin tin cups lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Once the tortillas are softened, place one round over the top of each muffin cup, using the bottom of a small juice glass to smoosh the round into the cup.
Spoon a teaspoon of shredded cheese into each cup, followed by a heaping tablespoon of the chicken mixture and another teaspoon of cheese. I used shredded cheddar cheese, but you could also try it with Monterey Jack, Mexican cheese blend, pepper jack or any other kind of shredded cheese your family enjoys.
Once all your cups are filled, bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and the tortilla shells are a little bit crisp. While they bake, round up your taco toppings. I like my tacos with sour cream, green onion, cilantro, lettuce and, as weird as this sounds, western dressing. (Try it!)
Once they’re out of the oven, pop ‘em out of the muffin pan, put ‘em on a platter and serve ‘em up plain, letting everyone participate by handling their own toppings. I guarantee these two-bite taco cups will have your family and friends asking for seconds and thirds!