Taco Night! Delicious, Frugal, Easy, and Healthy

My kids, somehow, despite never having had tacos before, heard about the concept of Taco Tuesday. (I don't even know the source of Taco Tuesday!) They asked me if we can please have a Taco Tuesday at our house. I kept the idea at the back of my mind, and when I saw taco shells being sold in a grocery store I was visiting, I decided that we'd have a Taco Tuesday night.

Boy was it a success!

I wanted to share with you how we did it, and relatively frugally as well, not to mention pretty healthily. Oh, and can I mention that it was pretty easy and quick to make, and enjoyed by every last family member, including a guest?

The most expensive part of our dinner were the two packages of taco shells, since I had to get them at a special store that imports American products.

For fillings, I made the following:

Ground beef bought on sale and cooked up into crumbles (we used 1 lb for the family for dinner) with some taco sauce I got from a friend, but since there wasn't enough of the sauce, I made more with tomato paste, homemade chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder.

 I bought some corn on the cob on sale and cut it off the cob and cooked it up in my cast iron skillet with cumin and garlic and salt.

I made the best vegan cheese sauce to go with it. My kids determined that this tasted even better than regular cheese would have with everything else, with the added bonus that it already was in sauce form so didn't need to be melted.

Bell peppers bought on sale and onions were sauted up with some salt and cumin.

I sliced up tomatoes and peppers and wild swiss chard/sea beet from my yard.

Lastly, I took out a jar of my homemade canned salsa from my pantry.

The entire prep time was about 25 minutes start to finish, and that is including making the vegan cheese sauce. While the potatoes and carrots for the cheese sauce were cooking, I made everything else.

Everyone enjoyed it so much, but the part they least enjoyed was also the most expensive part- the taco shells. I am going to see if I can find some gluten free corn tortillas for the family to have instead next time; I think they'd prefer something softer instead of shells that crack and are therefore very messy to eat. If I can't find store bought, I'll make some homemade corn tortillas or maybe some other kinds of tortillas. I may even make egg crepes to use instead of tortillas, and then make mine in a lettuce wrap.

Next time I make this I'll probably also make some refried beans to go in the tortillas to stretch out the meat.

Do you ever make tacos? Is your family a fan of Mexican food? What do you make to serve in your tacos? What are your favorite fixings? How much do a package of taco shells cost where you live? Is homemade tacos a cheap or expensive family meal for you?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


Thank you for leaving a comment on your blog. Comments are moderated- please be patient to allow time for them to go through. Opposing opinions are permitted, discussion and disagreements are encouraged, but nasty comments for the sole purpose of being nasty without constructive criticisms will be deleted.
Just a note- I take my privacy seriously, and comments giving away my location or religion are automatically deleted too.

  1. we use corn chips (doritos plain flavor) instead of taco shells, and we just dip them into the "fillings."

    We're simply not adept enough to eat tacos in shells. :)

    We go vegetarian for the meat and use real cheddar and sour cream.

  2. Before I started keto and have so far lost 45 lbs I was also looking for ways to do taco's and wanted to not use meat -- save money. So I mixed cooked quinoa with black beans and then added taco mix and you could NOT tell I did not use burger meat. We never added corn just green stuff (whatever we had on hand) and tomatoes. I like soft shells so we just used tortillas. Now with Keto we cut the shells completely and use meat and have as salad.

  3. You can also make shells from many sliced cheeses. Or just make taco salad. Same principle just in a bowl.

  4. Tacos are one of our favorites. There are so many variations and they are quite frugal and quick because I almost always have ingredients on hand. I never buy the boxed shells. We use corn or flour tortillas and heat them in the oven, in a dry skillet, or lightly fry them in coconut oil. For the base filling, I've used extra firm tofu, smashed up and seasoned with cumin, coriander, garlic powder, chili powder and a dash of cayenne. I've used ground turkey, ground venison, or cook chicken in the crock pot all day then shred the meat. For toppings, always shredded cheese and lettuce, then whatever is around like chopped onion, sliced black olives (which I get in bulk at the discount store),and chopped tomatoes. We use leftovers to make nachos. Spread a baking sheet with tortilla chips, top with meat, beans, cheese, salsa or taco sauce, and onions. Bake at 400 until heated through, then toss olives, tomatoes and lettuce on top. We eat it right off the pan, so no other dishes!

  5. We had a family reunion vacation in Orlando, Florida, and each family did a potluck dinner for 15 people, from toddlers to grandparents. Our soft taco buffet was by far the most successful! Softened tortillas, taco meat (chicken or beef), refried or canned black beans, canned corn, shredded lettuce, cheese, and Spanish rice, sour cream, salsa, plus cut fruit and various aqua fresca to drink! People can go vegetarian, or make a salad, kids can put in what they like, or you can easily make a melted cheese quesadilla for picky eaters. I think my nephew ate 11!

  6. Black beans make a tasty and nutritious addition at our house to stretch out the taco meat.

Previous Post Next Post