Monday, October 10, 2011

Taco Pie--a Template

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on less than $10/day.

I threw this together one night when I was going to serve leftovers, but then realized that if I added some ground beef and taco seasoning, our leftovers could equal a taco pie. 

Which is one of the great things about a taco pie. In fact, the night I made this I had this Brilliant Idea to make a cookbook in which I took, say, 5 ingredients and some different seasonings/condiments and arranged them into 5 different meals. Brilliant Idea, right? Except that then I couldn't think of anything to make with these 5 ingredients except for taco pie. Although now that I'm sitting here without the pressure, I'm thinking that you could also make some kind of taco hamburger and taco pizzas and maybe a taco soup. So...hmmm. Perhaps it wasn't such a bust of a Brilliant Idea after all. But that's not what this post is about. 

This post is about taco pie as a leftover meal. Like so many of it's savory pie brothers, it's a pie that is about combining odds and ends that you have and making something that is often purely sublime. 

I had in my refrigerator 2 tortilla shells, various bottles of partially used salsa, some freshly made green tomato relish, the end of a block of cheese that was getting old, and some sour cream. I had nearly a pound of hamburger in the freezer and some slightly stale remnants of a bag or tortilla chips. And so I made a taco pie. 

But you could also do it if you had some pie crust dough in your freezer (or the ingredients for some dough in your pantry). You could do it with canned biscuits or canned croissants. You could do it with beef or chicken or possibly even beans. You could do it with a variety of cheeses (we sometimes end up with leftover bits in bags). You could do it with sour cream or yogurt or possibly even a bit of ranch dressing. And when it is all over, you can doll it up however you want--with sour cream or avocado or tomatoes or green onions. 

What leftovers/foods you need
-meat or beans or a combination
-some kind of cheese (sorry vegans, but you do)
-taco seasoning
-something to hold it in: burrito shells, crushed tortillas (stale is fine for this), a pie crust, biscuit dough, or some type of canned refrigerated dough
-taco seasoning or at least some chili powder and salt and pepper

What's nice to have around: 
-salsa or tomatoes (I almost put this in the need list because I like it so much). Green or red tomatoes are both fine for this
-sour cream or something else creamy
-veggies for topping

Taco Pie Template
something to hold it in (burrito shells, tortilla or corn chips of some sort, pie crust, or refrigerated dough of some kind)
1/2-1 lb beef, chicken, or beans (or a combination thereof)
2 Tbsp taco seasoning
6 Tbsp salsa or relish 
1/4-1/2 C sour cream, yogurt, or creamy stuff
2 C grated cheese (you're safe with cheddar, jack, mozzarella, or a cheese along that line)

Grease a 9-inch pan. Add your crust of choice or crumble a good layer of tortilla chips in the bottom (or do both).

Cook your meat/beans. Add taco seasoning to meat. Add salsa to meat. If you've got some corn, heck mix that in too. 

Layer meat/beans, then sour cream, then cheese. You can do one layer or you can do it in 2 groups--as in 1/2 of the meat/beans, 1/2 of the sour cream, 1/2 of the cheese, and then repeat (this is my preference).

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is starting to color a bit. 

Garnish with vegetables if desired. 

How I did mine (and it was now that I think of it a little bit of a taco lasagna):

1/2-1 lb beef, browned
1-2 Tbsp taco seasoning
1/4-1/2 C sour cream
2 C grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp green tomato relish
4 Tbsp salsa
2 burrito shells (10 inch)

Brown your beef. After it's browned, add taco seasoning. Then add relish and salsa

Grease a pie pan. Put one burrito shell in. Add 1/2 the meat, 1/2 the sour cream, 1/2 half the cheese. Add the second burrito shell and repeat layers, topping with some crumbled tortilla chips. 

Bake at 375 until the cheese on top is just getting some color, about 20-25 minutes. 

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