Sunday, February 16, 2014

Quick Inspiration: Taco Bites

I'm just going to point you in the right direction because the concept for this dinner is flexible enough to let you make it your own thing.  Plus this is a weird combo of two different recipes that I am just dying to tell you about!  I didn't know if it would work out, so I didn't really document it. 

I started this dinner idea by wanting to use the 'heart smart' Bisquick baking mix we've got open and rarely use.  We used to use it for pancakes and other random things like biscuits, but I've found Kodiak Cakes flapjack & waffle mix, which I like better for pancakes.  It has whole grain wheat flour, oat flour, and just a few other ingredients, no weird chemicals with unpronounceable names.  But anyway, back to the Bisquick.  We might as well use it up in other dishes since we don't use it for pancakes.  There's a recipe from Better Crocker/Bisquick called impossibly easy mini cheeseburger pies that I wanted to try.  You use ground beef along with some other ingredients to make mini savory pies... and luckily we had some leftover ground beef!  Well, not so lucky when I looked in the freezer and realized it was very little meat, only about 1/2 cup.  Barely enough to do anything!  Certainly not enough for this recipe.  So then I needed to do a little problem-solving to figure out how to make this into a full dinner.  Some of the reviews for the mini cheeseburger pies said that the flavor was extremely boring, so I was happy to twist it to be taco pies instead to add more pizzazz. 

Shown in my hand for perspective, standard muffin size. 
You are totally not going to believe how I came up with enough filling to make these pies a meal... I remembered a recipe I had actually made fun of to my friend Chuck (vegetarian), Grape-nuts as taco filling.  I threatened to make him that for a taco feast, but after reading the positive reviews, I was intrigued.  How does an extremely crunchy breakfast cereal get turned into a savory Mexican meal?  Add salsa and taco seasoning, I guess. 

So I heated up my meager amount of pre-cooked ground beef, sauteed some peppers and onions, and added the salsa, taco seasoning, water, and cereal. As long as you didn't stir it too much, the granules of cereal stayed whole and actually looked like meat.  And even though Grape-nuts are sweetened, it wasn't sweet at all. I had Husband Jeff taste the leftover filling as he came in the door and he said it was great and I had to confess that it was Grape-nuts. 

I mixed up the Bisquick as indicated, added some chili powder and cumin to flavor it, and measured it out into the muffin pan.  I used my taco"meat" as the filling along with some shredded cheese.  Another dab of the baking mix batter on top and threw it in the oven.  Out came these adorable little filled savory muffins!   

A taco mini "pie", cold from the fridge, cut to show the interior.

They were great the first night, and just as excellent as leftovers for lunch the next day. 

Hot from the microwave with smashed avocado and salsa on top. 
I was so happy that they turned out so tasty and I was able to use up that little bit of meat and also find a new use for my Grape-nuts.  Plus Husband Jeff and I love Mexican food!  

You could probably make these in a mini muffin pan if you wanted to make them as an appetizer. I've also got a recipe bookmarked where someone used the same basic concept but made them into a mini handheld breakfast dish by putting various things in them.  Her family favorite was one with sliced banana in it and pancake syrup in the batter.  I want to try the same thing by mixing a little cinnamon, vanilla, and some mashed banana into the batter and add chopped pecans along with the slices of banana. 

So the moral of the story is to think outside the (cereal) box and give a new recipe a shot!  Don't be afraid to try a new concept, it might be your next great dinner! 

Wanna Chat?

I turned off the 'leave a comment' feature, so if you want to share what you're thinking about this or anything else, drop me an email at jhk1013 (at) It's so much more cozy than a comment, plus we can have a real conversation!