Kids Can Cook: Tacos — Not Just for Tuesdays

Help your kids learn a way to make quick, satisfying weeknight meals — and then eat tacos! That’s a win-win situation. Try this recipe from our friends at Basics Market.

Photo courtesy Lauren Salgado

Sauteing can help you make hot, tasty meals in a matter of minutes. As kids learn to cook and discover which flavors and textures they like to mix, they’ll learn the art of the skillet meal. They can combine vegetables, starches and protein-rich foods in a skillet to make quick, simple and satisfying meals. This recipe for a fast taco filling from the staff at Basics Market is perfect for busy weeknights. Set out different toppings and let everyone pick and choose to build their perfect taco! 

Beef Taco Filling


1 pound ground beef, such as Silver Sage™ Farms
1 cup of salsa, such as Late July Mild Organic Salsa
1¼ cups water
½ teaspoon dried oregano 
½ teaspoon onion powder 
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder  
1 teaspoon cumin 
1 teaspoon paprika
¼  teaspoon Kosher salt 
8 taco shells 

Optional toppings: pico de gallo, grated cheese, shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream, diced tomatoes or onions, and avocado or guacamole.


Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.

Heat the skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and saute, breaking up with a spoon to brown on all sides. Add salsa, water and the next six ingredients — oregano through Kosher salt.


Cover and cook for about 8-10 minutes, remove lid and cook for about 5 more minutes or until liquid has reduced and mixture has thickened.  

Place taco shells on a baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven. Heat 3-5 minutes until lightly toasted. 

Place toasted taco shells, taco meat filling and any optional toppings you desire in separate serving bowls. Let everyone build their own tacos. This versatile filling can also be used as a base for burritos, a great taco bowl or even a layered mason-jar taco salad!

Sauteing Tips  

Don’t crowd the pan — putting too much in a pan at once can result in an inferior taco filling that lacks flavor and texture. When in doubt, work in batches. Try to keep food in one layer for even browning. 

Allow the pan to get hot prior to adding the item you plan to sauté.  

Always add food to the pan away from you to keep any oil from splashing out of the pan onto the stovetop. (Or onto you!)

Stir frequently, but not constantly. It’s OK for ingredients to brown and caramelize.

Basics Market is a locally owned grocery market with a purpose: nurturing strong, healthy communities through food with simplified selection, fresh ingredients and healthful recipes. Find more info and recipes at

For more great recipes like this one, check out our PDX Parent Recipe Files.

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