Grocery List Staples for a Tex-Mex Meal Plan

If you’ve got the staples of family-favorite recipes on hand, a delicious meal is never out of reach. Take, for example, the basics of Tex-Mex cuisine—ground beef, turkey or tofu, tortillas, beans, cheese, seasoning, salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream. Stock up on these items, and you’ll have the ingredients for multiple recipes you’ll make again and again.

Whet your appetite with three recipes that rely on the same ingredients: Tacos, Taco Salad with Chunky Tomato Dressing, and Protein and Bean Burritos.

(All beef can be substituted with turkey or tofu!)

Beef Tacos Recipe

Yield: 10 servings. Skill Level: Easy. Active: 30 minutes, Total: 45 minutes.

Courtesy: Ree Drummond on The Food Network. (Click here


1 Tbs olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, diced

2 lbs ground beef

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper


20 fajita-sized flour tortillas

18 hard taco shells

1 lb cheddar-Jack cheese, grated

15 Roma tomatoes, diced

1 head green leaf lettuce, shredded


For the beef: Add the olive oil and onions to a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until the onions start to soften and turn translucent, then add the ground beef. Cook the meat until it’s totally browned, then drain the grease. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper, and stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup of hot water and stir. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 15 minutes.

For the fixins: Meanwhile, wrap the flour tortillas in foil and warm in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Right before serving, crisp the taco shells in the oven according to package instructions. Serve with grated cheese, diced tomatoes, and shredded lettuce.

Beef Taco Salad with Chunky Tomato Dressing

Yield: 4 servings. Skill Level: Easy. Prep: 35 minutes, Inactive: 10 minutes, Cook: 12 minutes, Total: 57 minutes.

Courtesy Ellie Krieger on The Food Network. (Click here) 


3/4 lb lean ground beef

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 Tbs chili powder

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, plus more to taste

1/3 cup water

For the dressing:

4 medium tomatoes, diced

2 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs fresh lime juice

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

2 hearts romaine lettuce, chopped

1/2 cup grated cheddar

2 oz baked corn tortilla chips (about 32 chips)


Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until no longer pink, stirring occasionally and breaking the meat up with the spoon. Add the garlic and beans and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chili powder, cayenne, and water and stir until well combined and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly. Meat mixture may be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

To make the dressing, in a medium bowl, combine tomatoes with their juices, oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Tomato dressing may be prepared up to 2 days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Place 2 cups of lettuce on each plate. Top each serving with 1 cup of the beef mixture and 3/4 cup of tomato dressing. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of cheese and crush tortilla chips on top. If making a to-go lunch, pack the tomato dressing separately in a sealable container and about 8 chips in a separate bag.

Beef and Bean Burritos Recipe

Yield: 6 to 8 servings. Skill Level: Easy. Active: 35 minutes, Total: 35 minutes.

Courtesy Ree Drummond on The Food Network. (Click here


1 medium onion, diced

2 lbs ground beef

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp ground oregano

1/4 tsp salt

3 (7-ounce) cans of Mexican tomato sauce or enchilada sauce

1 (28-ounce) can refried beans

3/4 cup grated cheddar, plus extra for sprinkling

12 large flour tortillas

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves


Preheat the oven to 170-180ºF.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the onions until softened. Add the ground beef and cook until the beef is cooked through. Add the cumin, chili powder, oregano, and salt and stir to combine. Pour 2 cans of the Mexican tomato sauce into the meat and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Add a little water if the mixture gets too dry.

Meanwhile, heat the refried beans in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the cheese and stir it in until melted. Remove from the heat.

Heat the tortillas in the microwave for 1 minute, then spread a small portion of the bean mixture on each tortilla. Add a small amount of the meat. Fold over the ends of the tortilla and roll it into a burrito. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas. Place the burritos in a large baking dish, cover with foil, and keep warm in the oven.

When ready to serve, drizzle the remaining can of tomato sauce over all of the burritos and sprinkle with more grated cheddar. Return to the oven for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese. Sprinkle with cilantro leaves and serve immediately.

Pro tip for the best taco shells:

For extra flavor, don’t rely on tough, store-bought taco shells. Turn soft tortillas into taco shells that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Browning the outside of each tortilla takes only a couple of minutes. For the classic frying method, pour less than ¼ inch of olive oil into a frying pan and heat to medium-high. Fold the tortilla and gently place it in the oil. You’ll want to keep a close eye on it. The tortilla will lightly brown and be ready to turn in less than one minute. Turn the tortilla over and brown the other side. Keeping the tortilla folded, lift gently and let excess oil drip into the pan. Drain on a paper towel.

For a healthy alternative to frying, use the oven to crisp up your tortillas. Place a baking rack on top of a baking tray. Hang soft flour tortillas upside down on the baking rack. Bake them in a 375ºF oven for 10 to 15 minutes until browned and crisp.


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