texas spicy beef tacos

with a california kick!

If I had to describe my cooking style, it would easily be TEXAS MEETS CALIFORNIA

You can tell I’m from Texas by the things I like but I like to add a fresh California twist.

Like I love a good cheese quesadilla, but I’ll mix it with kale & garlic, then top with an avocado, sliced jalapeños & a squeeze of lemon. Or steak nachos topped with all sorts of vegetables… & even with takeout PIZZA: I like jalapeños and pepperoni… then when I bring it home, I top with olive oil, greens, lemon & chili flake!

I like spicyyyy, savory, & salty mixed with bright freshness & lots of vegetables.

Ever since moving to California from Texas 7 years ago, I can easily say the thing I miss the most is good ole TEX MEX… especialllllllyyyyyyy Houston.

Ohhhh what I’d do for some Ninfas on Navigation green sauce or El Tiempo filet fajitas. & don’t even get me started on queso.

ANYWAYS- one of my go to cravings is a good beef taco {pref on a flour tortilla or crispy taco shells} topped with shredded cheese & greens!

But we gotta make it California, you know?

SO- to make things a little more filling, I add vegetables! In fact, I only use half of a package of the ground beef & supplement with the veggies. I promise you won’t miss the extra meat. My personal faves are carrots, onions, &/or potatoes!

You can customize it completely though – bell peppers, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, squash… really, the options are endless.

And the uses are endless, as well! Of course, you can make tacos out of it, but it’s also delicious over a baked potato, served on a bun like a sloppy joe {add some shredded kale!!}, as a topping to a salad, with eggs in the morning on a crispy tortilla {biggest hack that will blow you away: brush a tortilla lightly with olive oil & sea salt & a kiss of citrus, then microwave for 60 seconds, flip, another 60 seconds and it will be crispy! if its not crispy, just keep doing minute, flip, minute until it us.}.. you name it!

& it gets a lot of it’s bulk from the vegetables so it’s pretty cost effective AND makes TONS of leftovers. Make this & have 30 second dinners on lock!!

Quick note & I’ll do a full blown post on them soon but Erik & I have been using Imperfect Produce for all of our groceries. We LOVE them – it’s like the farmer’s market to your door! Erik was actually the one who found them and suggested we try & I’m so glad we did. 15/10 recommend!! check them out here

essellesse spicy beef taco meat!


olive oil, drizzle

garlic, as many cloves as you want! minced

onion, 1 diced

carrots, 2 diced

jalapeno, diced – save seeds & ribs if you want things extra spicy! if you prefer mild, discard them

potato, 1 – peeled & diced

85/15 ground beef, 1/2 pound {or half a package}

cumin, 1 tbsp

paprika, 1 tsp

cayenne, 1 tsp

sea salt & pepper, to liking {I go a little heavy w the salt!}



shredded kale or iceberg lettuce

shredded cheddar

spicy salsa {casa chicas is my fav}

sliced avocado

greek yogurt {the best sour cream sub! good mixed w a lil cumin & lemon or lime}


heat skillet to medium & drizzle with olive oil until the full pan is coated.

Add garlic. Cook until fragrant, taking care not to brown. Add onions & carrots && saute until translucent. Add jalapeno, & continue to saute ~3 mins. Use a wooden spoon to keep things moving!

Add ground beef & cook until browned, using a wooden spoon to break things up, ~8 mins. Add potatoes & mix everything together. Add all the spices & stir until combined. I like to go heavy on the spices 🙂

Add water to mix, adjust heat to low, incorporate & cover & cook, ~5 mins until potatoes are tender. Remove lid & continue to simmer over low, stirring occaisionally.

If you need to thicken things up, make a slurry with corn starch, paprika, & water. Add to skillet & stir over low heat, stirring occasionally Until everything is absorbed! The potato will thicken things too.

Seriously, these hit the spot every single time. In fact, I’m making them tonight!

As far as toppings, I like: flour tortilla, shredded kale, spicy salsa, & white cheddar, a small dollap of greek yogurt w a lil cumin & lemon, all topped with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.

To really spice things up, make bacon first, set aside to cool & use the grease in lieu of any oil for the first step. Crumble the bacon on top of the tacos & it’s SO GOOD.

& if you have some extra time, try brushing the outside of the flour tortilla after assembling your tacos with a little olive oil & flaky sea salt & bake them in the oven at 350 for 10ish mins until slightly crispy. The texture is INSANE – this is my absolute fav way to eat them!

A little California, a little Texas, a LOT delicious – these hit the texmex cravings every single time!!

Also, we LOVE dinners that you assemble together like this. I like to put everything in bowls & set it up at the table and part of the dinner experience is building your own. Really big on interactive diners – I find it makes things more intimate, especially since everything is shared.

Now to find a Texas-ish, California-ish queso recipe!

+ my tips for making a damn good quesadilla!

more easy recipes here!

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