Did you know long before there was a Taco Bell, Glen Bell opened a drive-in taco stand in San Bernardino called Bell’s? That was way back in 1954, before the notion of chains and fast food franchises. By 1962, the first Taco Bell Restaurant opened in Downey, California. Two years later, the first franchise opened in Torrance, and three years after that there were 100 Taco Bells throughout southern California. I haven’t a clue when the first Taco Bell opened in my hometown. All I know is that when I was in high school; we could dig change out from under the sofa cushions, fill up on tacos and still have money left over for a tank of gas. Yeah, those were the days.
While my entire family loves good tacos – some made with shredded meats or a blend of ground beef and spicy chorizo and some made chorizo alone. These are all delicious, with all sorts of yummy fresh toppings wrapped up in a soft, warm corn tortilla. Still, every now and again we crave the “fast food” variety of tacos. At least Kiddo and I do. Hubby thinks we are both a little nuts when we elect to make fast food style food at home when we could be dining on the “good” stuff. And it’s not as though the good stuff takes longer or requires more work. If anything, the fast food variety usually requires more work – with all the fillers and food by-products it takes to get that true “junk” food flavor. If you ever crave a fast-food taco and don’t want to fire up the trusted family car, make them at home instead. Besides, home-made fast-food tacos are served fresh rather than bagged for later.
Taco Bell Inspired Crunchy Tacos
Ingredients – Taco Filling
2 tablespoon dried onion flakes
3/4 cup water
2 lb ground beef
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoon salt
For Taco Filling: Mix dried onion with water in a small bowl and let stand for five minutes.
Combine ground beef, flour, chili powder, paprika, and salt. Mix well. Add onions and water. Mix again.
In a large cast iron skillet, cook beef mixture until browned, about 15 minutes. Stir often while cooking so no large chunks form; it should be more like a paste. Remove from heat and keep warm.
Ingredients – Shells & Toppings – Taco Supreme
12 Crunch Taco Shells
1 cup sour cream
2 Cups shredded lettuce
2 Cups Long Horn Cheddar cheese, grated
1 Cup diced tomatoes
To Assemble: Build tacos starting with meat, then sour cream, lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes in that order. Top with hot sauce, taco sauce or salsa if desired.