Our favorite beef tacos with crispy taco shells, robustly seasoned taco meat, melty cheddar, and your favorite taco toppings!
PREP: Prepare everything for cooking the beef filling, because the process goes quickly! Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and stir together all of the seasonings. Place taco shells in a 9x13 baking pan (all 12 should fit) and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
BEEF: Heat oil in a large skillet (cast iron if possible) over high heat. Add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until lightly golden. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
BEEF CONT.: Add ground beef and cook for 2-4 minutes, breaking it up into small pieces as you go, until meat is no longer pink. Avoid stirring/breaking beef up too much, allow it to brown too. If there is a lot of extra grease (from higher fat percentages of beef), drain off. Add in all the seasonings: chili powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir for another 1-2 minutes or until beef is completely cooked through. Add in the tomato sauce and stir until thickened, another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to slightly cool.
STUFF SHELLS: Divide the taco beef evenly between the 12 shells. Add cheese on top of each (eyeball it, I add about 2-3 tablespoons per taco of even mixture of monterey jack and extra sharp cheddar). Bake for 6-8 minutes or until cheese is melty.
SERVE: While tacos are cooking, set out all the toppings in individual bowls or on a large platter. Our favorites: chopped cherry tomatoes, iceberg (taco) lettuce, sliced ripe avocado, chopped cilantro, fresh lime wedges, and a scoop of sour cream. Other ideas: guacamole, taco sauce, salsa, pico de gallo, chopped onions, etc. Serve hot tacos out of oven and let everyone add whatever toppings they like best! Enjoy with a squeeze of fresh lime!