Beef and Cheese Taquitos Recipe, A family and Freezer-Friendly Meal.
These are a few of my favorite things . . .
Beef and cheese taquitos: an all time family favorite around here. This beef and cheese taquitos recipe is impossible not to love. As a mom, my favorite thing might be that you can substitute almost any ingredient. My other favorite thing is that I have never heard a complaint about this meal. When these beef and cheese taquitos come out of the oven it’s all praise for the best mom ever — every time. Another favorite thing is that I can make them ahead of time and pop them in the oven on a busy night. This is also my favorite dinner to bring to families who need meal help. I guess there is a lot to love about this beef and cheese taquitos recipe.
A word about substitutions in the beef and cheese taquitos
When I say you can substitute just about anything I am not exaggerating. We have used shredded chicken, shredded beef, ground beef, ground turkey, leftover meat surprise . . . Okay, I have never used leftover meat surprise, but I bet you could. In all my substitutions, I have found the key to delicious and creamy taquitos lies in four key ingredients:
1) Yummy meat. In other words, does it taste well seasoned all on its own?
2) Salsa verde. I have tried regular salsa and I don’t think it makes the cut.
3) Room temperature cream cheese. You can’t skip the cream cheese.
4) Shredded cheese of your choice.
You can change the kind of meat you use, you can change or omit spices and seasonings, but you must have those four ingredients in your taquitos. The final step is also important. The taquitos are finished by brushing with oil before cooking to give them a nice crunch. If you skip this step, you will have rolled tacos instead of crunchy, creamy, beef and cheese taquitos. (Scroll to the bottom of the post for a taquito video!)
Let’s get started
First thing you are going to do is dice an onion. Here is a pro tip for you onion weepers out there. Stick your onion in the freezer for ten minutes before chopping. It freezes the onion juice just enough that it stays relatively at bay while slicing and dicing.
Saute the onions until soft and fragrant, about 10-15 minutes. I love to use left over bacon fat to saute my onions. If bacon fat is not available a little oil and butter will work nicely. At this point, if you haven’t taken your cream cheese out of the fridge go ahead and put it on the counter so that is can start to soften.
Once your onions are cooked, add a few cloves of minced or pressed garlic and saute for one more minute. (If we are truth telling, most of the time I skip the garlic because I’m too lazy. I won’t tell if you do the same — it all just depends on your garlic love-level.) Place the onions and garlic in a bowl and use the same pan to cook the ground beef (If you are using leftover meat then you can skip this step). You want to get a good sear on the meat so make sure the pan is still hot when you start the meat. The deep brown you see works like a flavor seal (the scientific term for this is the Mallard reaction) on the meat. You still want to be able to taste the meat after it is mixed will all that cheesy goodness.
Time to get spicy . . . and cheesy
Take your meat and onions and place them in a large bowl. Then you will add your cream cheese, shredded cheese, salsa verde, and spices. When I am in a hurry I dump in a bunch of taco seasoning. When I have planned ahead, I zest and juice a lime and add cumin, chili powder, paprika, and fresh cilantro. The wonderful thing is that, because the meat is already cooked, you can taste your filling and add more spices to fit your taste.
Stir it up and fill them up.
Stir everything together (The warm meat helps to further soften the cream cheese) and then you are ready to fill the tortillas. I generally use small flour tortillas but I also use small corn tortillas for my gluten-free daughter. If you are working with corn tortillas, be sure to warm them in a paper towel before filling. This will help to prevent cracking when you roll them.
Place your rolled taquitos on a well greased cookie sheet or stone, then brush the tops with more oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for 15 minutes at 425. You want the taquitos, especially the ends, to get nice and crispy brown.
Make more than you need.
The recipe below is for about 18 taquitos. If you are only cooking for one or two I encourage you to still make the whole recipe. You can freeze a few meals for yourself (or to share with others) and on really busy days you will save on takeout or pizza costs. It takes the same about of time whether you are making 6 or 18 — so make 18 and you can come back here and thank me later. When freezing you can either roll them up and freeze in a ziplock bag or simply place the extra filling in a bag (or in a few different single dinner serving bags), label them, and have them ready to fill up an empty tortilla after a long day.
I know you will get a lot of use out of this simple, go-to recipe. We eat it a ridiculous amount and never grow tired of it. Happy taquito to you.
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