GUESS WHAT? I’ve been featured!! I’m so excited! Ya’ll stop over to the What Ya Got Cookin’ blog link-up and say hello!
Recently I stopped in at a national fast food chain for a quick lunch with my husband and saw a new menu item called Bacon Ranch Tacos. I was intrigued; however, I have eaten tacos at this particular restaurant before and didn’t desire to give them a second chance so I ordered a burger on that particular day. Days later though, thoughts of bacon and ranch dressing on a taco continued to haunt me. I knew I had to try. I mean, seriously, bacon makes everything better – then they added ranch, too? Yes, please!
So, I made some. Yayy me!
Yes, I cheated a little and used already made taco shells, we can’t be perfect ALL the time. Haha. Other than that, this is all homemade goodness. I used a jar of pinto beans, and some tomato sauce that I had canned in my kitchen for this recipe, but for convenience sake, I will put a decent alternative for you in the ingredients list. So, let’s cook already!
1 pkg (10 ct) prepared taco shells
10 slices, thick sliced bacon** cooked crisp (keep the grease!!)
3/4 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 can organic refried pinto beans
8 oz. organic tomato sauce
A splash (seriously, like 1/2 tsp or less) white vinegar
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp granulated garlic (or garlic powder)
salt and black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups prepared pico de gallo
2 ripe avocados
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup prepared ranch dressing (I use Hidden Valley Ranch powdered mix and make it really thick with more mayo and less milk)
Preheat a large skillet (you can use the same one you used to cook the bacon if you like) with the drippings left from cooking your bacon. Add in diced onions and cook until they start to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add in your ground beef. Break it up with your spoon and stir until it’s only slightly pink. Add seasonings (adjust to your own tastes), tomato sauce and vinegar. Cook and stir until tomato sauce is reduced by half. Add refried beans to the pan and stir to combine and heat through (if the mixture gets too thick or dries out too much for your personal tastes, just add a little water – it’ll be fine). Reduce heat to low and cover to keep warm while you finish prepping.
Cut your avocados in half, remove the seeds and scoop the flesh into a medium-sized bowl. Smash the avocados with the tines of a fork until they are the consistency your prefer. Add 1/2 cup of prepared pico de gallo, salt, a squirt of lime juice (if desired to slow oxidation) and a pinch of cumin. Stir well.
Congrats!! You just made guacamole.
To serve, heat the taco shells according to the directions on the package and you’re ready to go. I serve dinner family style here, if I made up individual plates for everyone, I’d NEVER get a hot meal because I’m way too OCD about how my food is layered (or how it’s touching on the plate). I eat with my eyes as much as I do with my mouth so I let everyone just build their own. Here’s how I build mine: beef/bean mixture on the bottom with a 1/2 slice of bacon, then a little bit of cheese, then guacamole, then pico de gallo, then a little more cheese and the other 1/2 of that bacon slice and top with ranch dressing.
I have to tell ya’ll …. these tacos were everything I dreamed of and then some. I made a total pig of myself and ate THREE. Ack!! Since I know that you all have much more self-control than I do, I really think you should make these! You’ll be super-mom (or dad) – AGAIN!
NOTE: If you wanted to make this even faster, you could omit the chili powder, cumin, tomato sauce and vinegar and just use a jar of your favorite taco sauce, but what’s the fun in that? I’m always up for a kitchen adventure, myself.
P.S. – You might have noticed that little ** next to the word bacon in the ingredient list. I put it there because, while we’re talking bacon, I want to tell you about some seriously awesome bacon that I buy from Zaycon Fresh. It comes in 36 lb. cases and each case has 12 individually sealed 3 lb. packages in it. This bacon is so good. It’s not too salty, it doesn’t shrink down too much when you cook it and it’s a steal at $3.49/lb (price is current as of this writing). If you have a small family, you can split the case with a neighbor or two easily. Zaycon Fresh is about to launch their bacon and breakfast sausage sales events across the country so this post is just in time for you to order yours before your local event sells outs. If you want to learn more about Zaycon Foods, you can visit their website here.* Just sign up for a free account to find a location near you. It’s absolutely free to sign up, and there’s never any obligation to purchase anything. You will receive email updates when they are bringing an event to your selected area and that’s it. You should totally check it out. (*referral link)