May 2, 2013

Crunchy Taco Cups

We love Mexican food! My husband and I love spicy food in general so we are naturally inclined to love Mexican food. When we first came to the US, in particular to Grand Rapids, MI we were worried that we won't get much of our favorite Indian food....spicy curry. As you probably know, in the UK - curry is now the un-official national food!
Yes, it's that popular and the world famous Brick Lane in East London is where you can find some of the best curry restaurants in the world.
Because of this, curry is one dish we are always watching out for. We were thinking, we won't get a really good curry here - especially when we transferred to a much smaller city - Holland. Sadly, until today there is no good Indian Curry restaurant in Holland. There was one Indian restaurant that appeared a few years ago and we were so excited about it but in a few months, even weeks, it just vanished - I guess there is no market for a good curry in our small town.  :-(

Thankfully, we realized soon enough that there are a quite a few good Mexican restaurants where we are so we can still satisfy our cravings for spicy food! Yay!

Nonetheless,  once in  a while I try to make some Mexican food at home too - something that my family would love and that my kids would enjoy as well. We just adjust the spice level for us adults, a little higher on the spice scale!

One Mexican dish that my kids totally adore are Tacos, especially the crispy ones - how can kids say no to crispy chips (the crispy tacos are just big chips, right?)! However, it can truly get so messy when they eat it - yup and we do make a big mess, too! So I thought of turning the soft corn tacos into cups and then bake them right in the oven to make them crispy and crunchy. And since it's in cup form - it isn't as messy to eat...A win-win.

I pre-cook the Taco meat recipe and then just dump it on the cups with some cheese before I bake them. The version in the photo above is gluten and dairy-free so if you're into that diet - you can make exactly what's in the photo but if not, go on and load it with cheese and sour cream! Enjoy!

For the taco recipe, here's the link -- feel free to use your own recipe if you want. I use this because it's so quick to make and so loaded with flavors too but without the need to simmer for hours.


1 recipe of the Ground Beef Tacos
12 Soft Corn Tortillas, warmed up (so that it softens and becomes more pliable)
2 cups Shredded Cheese (Mexican, Sharp Cheddar or Monterey Jack or a combo)
A few Cherry tomatoes, halved or Plum Tomatoes, chopped
A bunch of fresh Cilantro, chopped


First, you need a muffin pan that's deep and wide enough to accommodate a tortilla. If  you don't have a large 12-cup muffin pan, you can use the 6-cup one (just double the amount of filling per cup). I use the Demarle Muffin Tray which is just perfect for each tortilla.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Over medium high heat, warm the tortillas one at a time in a dry pan or skillet until soft and pliable roughly 15-20 seconds per side. Brush each tortilla with a little oil - both sides (you may opt not to do this but a little oil will make it crispier and turn golden brown, too.).

Place the warmed up Corn Tortillas in a muffin pan and try to gently push each down until they form a mini-cup. Don't worry if the sides fold.

Once all the tortilla cups are in place, add about 1 Tablespoon of the shredded cheese at the bottom of each cup. Top the cheese with the ground meat mixture (you may have some excess after filling all 12 cups). 
Note: Don't forget to drain the meat filling first to remove excess grease to avoid tearing up the taco shells and so it will be crispier on the bottom of the cups instead of soggy. This is especially important if you are doing a dairy-free (no cheese) version as I have done for my first attempt. Below is the regular version, cheese and all!
Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake until the tortillas begin to brown on the edges and the cheese has nicely melted approximately 15 minutes. Serve it top with cherry or plum tomatoes and chopped Cilantro. Enjoy!!! 
Below is the dairy-free version.

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  1. I love this idea. Recipe sounds delish!

  2. Oh My! I have never seen soo cute taco's! I love the idea. I never though of that! I always go for the traditional crispy tacos. However, I did not see that they have smaller size of soft corn tortilla to fit on the cupcake molders. hmm. I have to find one! Thanks for the share!


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