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Thread: What's the best way to cook taco shells

  1. #1

    Question What's the best way to cook taco shells

    My dh and I have recently re-discovered taco night (really great for big crowds, which we often have) but I can't decide the best way to cook up the taco shells. I have baked them, fried them in a bit of canola oil but don't love either method especially the fried one. Any tips, recipes or taco suggestions in general?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Are you talking about the boxed variety? Those I just heat in the oven, 350 for 5-7 minutes.
    Homemade ones I have always fried.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  3. #3
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    For tacos, some folks like fresh corn tortillas just steamed (for soft tacos). I think in Mexico they often steam a couple and then layer them (if they are flimsy) to be one taco shell. (When they are not frying them for the crisp type taco, I mean.)

    I have microwaved them for soft tacos when I want a less fattening taco. (And I've heated a frying pan and hot grilled them using no fat.) But nothing, to me, compares to:

    Fattening fried way - (my most favorite ever comfort food)
    The way my mom always made them. Fry once in oil in a frying pan, don't crisp them at this stage. Drain in paper towels.

    Next step: Fill with hamburger (spiced with cumin, salt, pepper), shredded cheddar, sliced black olives, chopped green chilies, chopped onions. NOW, close them with a toothpick or use a clothespin like I do...and fry again in hot fat until crisp on both sides...and cheese is melted. Drain on paper towels. Fill with tomatoes, lettuce and inhale them. Left over ones: wrap in tin foil and refrigerate. These leftover ones are awesome because everything is in them all melted together...the olives, chilies, cheese and onion and taco meat and can be eaten cold or warmed up. Such ambrosia.

    Brenda

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Originally posted by catbatty
    For tacos, some folks like fresh corn tortillas just steamed (for soft tacos). I think in Mexico they often steam a couple and then layer them (if they are flimsy) to be one taco shell. (When they are not frying them for the crisp type taco, I mean.)

    I have microwaved them for soft tacos when I want a less fattening taco. (And I've heated a frying pan and hot grilled them using no fat.) But nothing, to me, compares to:

    Fattening fried way -
    I still can't get around loving them the way my mom always made them. Fry once in oil in a frying pan, don't crisp them at this stage. Drain in paper towels.

    Fill with hamburger (spiced with cumin, salt, pepper), shredded cheddar, sliced black olives, chopped green chilies, chopped onions. NOW, close them with a toothpick or use a clothespin like I do...and fry again in hot fat until crisp on both sides...and cheese is melted. Drain on paper towels. Fill with tomatoes, lettuce and inhale them. Left over ones: wrap in tin foil and refrigerate. These leftover ones are awesome because everything is in them all melted together...the olives, chilies, cheese and onion and taco meat. Such ambrosia.

    Brenda
    OMG, Brenda, I'm going to pretend that I never saw your mom's way to prepare tacos. That sounds so good.

    Personally, I heat up my pizza stone in the oven and throw corn tortillas on that until they're good and warm and a little crisp. Or if we're already grilling, I'll oil up the grill and throw some on that.
    "It covers your bread like a stinkyfishy tarp
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  5. #5
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    Oh my, JH, both of your ways sound great to me! I have been looking for a way to make them when not doing em my mom's way. (Note that I edited my post a bit to say: they are my fav ever comfort food.)

    Problem is, mom's way we can only do once in awhile. That's just too much oil absorbed into those tacos...and I eat lots of them...can't stop myself.

    I bet on the grill they get a great flavor. And on the stone they crisp at bit??? wow. I have a stone. THANK YOU SO MUCH. (But you might still try my mom's one of these days....cheap thrills and we all need a few of those these days.)

  6. #6
    Wow! Brenda your mom's way sounds amazing and I will have to try them. JHolcomb, I never thought of using a stone, maybe that will be my next try. Thanks for the tips. Will let you know if I learn of any others...

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Last summer, my husband and I went to New Mexico and had some wonderful tacos. I've been making them a similar way ever since. I take the corn tortilla, place in a medium high skillet sprayed with Pam and cook about 1 min. until soft. Flip it over and cook another 30 seconds. Remove from pan. Cook as many as you want this way. Then I fill them with cooked chicken seasoned with any good chicken taco mix, shredded cheese, and shredded lettuce. Fold in half, place on baking sheet. Add more shredded cheese and sliced green onions on top outer half of tortilla--(may need to use toothpick or wooden clothes pins (great idea Brenda). Bake until cheese is melted, about 10 min. at 350. Then eat with a fork. Yummy!! (You use a lot less oil this way, so not quite so fattening).

  8. #8
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    Donnalee: Your way sounds awesome!! Thanks. In fact, all the ways on this thread so far sound so good to me.... I can't wait to try them.

    PBeyers: I'm very glad you brought up this subject!!

  9. #9
    Oh my goodness- I've heard of fried taco shells, but not fried tacos! That sounds so sinfully good!

    We steam our corn tortillas- for the most part, I prefer them soft rather than crisp. Steaming makes them nice and pliable- less likely to tear. I wrap as many tortillas as we need in a kitchen towel, then place in a steamer over simmering water. Cover the pot and let steam for 15-20 minutes or so. I leave them wrapped in the towel for serving so they stay warm and moist. Oversteaming will result in tortilla mush in a towel.

  10. #10
    Ok, I'll admit I always used the boxed variety. And I simply hang them over the wire rack in my oven. They crisp up very quickly this way and are much less likely to close up when they cook.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    I also use the boxed variety. My DH taught me to fill the shells with the meat and cheese and THEN pop them in the oven for the 5-7 minutes. That way the shells hold together a little better instead of falling apart with the first bite. This method is very helpful to use with kids!!
    kathyb


    Less rhetoric, more cowbell!

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    WE do them different again! Just take your corn tortilla, put it on your GAS burner. Turn it on High, stand by with your tongs, flip it over quickly, have the makings ready! I usually hold the tortillas with a paper towel (they are hot) fold quickly, to give it the tortilla the right shape, fill it with prepared hamburger meat, anaheim chilies, grated cheese, lettuce and tomato. Close it up, at the table, add hot sauce or guacamole to the inside, AND EAT, have the beer handy!
    Curleytop

  13. #13
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    We have a flat,round cast iron griddle (a comal) that we use to heat up the tortillas. DH would rather they were fried, but eh....too bad. We've been on a chicken or fish taco run lately. Yummy!
    *Susan*

    "One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries."

    A.A. Milne

  14. #14

    Cool

    Wow. Never would've thought of all these ingenious methods of taco-making. If I'm doing ground meats I'd fry the tortillas; if the meat is grilled, I simply warm up corn tortillas on the gas burner (no tongs for this chica), put 'em in a tortilla towel to steam and let everyone wrap their own stuff.

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