Taco Meat Takes Center Stage in These Tasty (Re)Creations
Making more food than you need for one family meal isn't wasteful--it's brilliant. After all, any leftovers can be reworked into a completely new dish, side dish or special treat to enjoy later in the week without investing much more time in whipping up something new. Shh, don't tell anyone, but leftover taco meat is the star of the show in these five tasty creations.
1. Creamy Taco Dip With Meat
Forget about store-bought cheese dips. Whip up a batch of warm and wonderful creamy taco dip that contains only four ingredients: cream cheese, shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese blend, leftover taco meat and salsa. Bring on that giant bag of tortilla chips, because this dip is tasty enough to become a meal.
2. Rice Bake
A rice bake is the perfect dish for one of those nights when multitasking is a must. It's even better when you already have cooked rice on hand too. Along with cooked rice and leftover taco meat, all you'll need are kidney beans, sour cream and corn. Mix it all into a casserole dish, add a little shredded cheddar cheese as a topper, and bake or microwave. Ta-da! Instant meal remake.
3. Easy Chili
Leftover taco meat is a chili recipe's best friend, cutting down on the amount of time it takes to make a meat-based chili. Craft your own chili from taco meat, chili beans, tomato sauce, tomato paste and a few other basic ingredients you probably have on hand. Once everything is in the Crock-Pot, you'll have plenty of time to deal with other things or to take a well-deserved break. This version of chili even includes elbow macaroni, so it's hearty enough to satisfy those hungry kiddos.
4. Taco Pie
Taco meat is about as versatile as leftover Thanksgiving turkey and just as tasty too. Repurpose taco meat into a taco pie, complete with a crust made from taco shells and shredded cheese. This recipe is also a great way to use up broken taco shells, tortilla chips and refried beans too. Once the taco pie is ready, top it with lettuce, tomatoes and its own special spicy sour cream for a delightful dish that's bound to disappear in a flash.
5. Taco Quesadillas
Your family loves the flavor of just about any Mexican dish, but there's not much time to cook. The solution: 15-minute leftover-taco quesadillas. This dish has only three ingredients: taco meat, shredded cheddar cheese and flour tortillas. It's as simple as mixing the meat and cheese, folding the mixture into a tortilla, then heating the tortilla in a pan. Voila – instant meal makeover.
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Kathy Adams is an award-winning journalist. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, Kroger, SFGate and others.