I love this taco skillet recipe for so many reasons. Let me count the ways…
- I’ve taken a basic taco meat recipe and made it more economical. The addition of veggies, beans, and rice reduces the cost. Since beef (especially grass-fed) is expensive I’m always trying to look for ways to stretch it.
- I also look for creative ways to reduce our meat consumption. There is no way I would ever become vegetarian or vegan but I have tried to decrease the amount of meat we eat. Adding in the extras allows us to still enjoy things like tacos without eating as much meat as in traditional recipes.
- I love this recipe because everyone can enjoy a customized dinner. I like to eat mine in a salad or stuffed bell pepper. My husband and kids like the traditional taco. I can make one recipe and make everyone happy.
- I love that this recipe can be made with whatever you have on hand. You can take out or add in any ingredient that suits your needs. I think it would be great with some chopped up spinach or zucchini to increase the nutritional value. Or you could leave out the tomatoes and add in some salsa. Don’t be afraid to make it your own!
- I love this recipe because it makes a lot. And you know what that means – less cooking on other nights. For our family, this recipe made enough for dinner and leftovers, PLUS three bags of taco skillet for the freezer. That’s 5 meals! (If you have a larger family or older kids it might just be enough for 3-4 meals for you.) I am such a huge fan of utilizing my freezer. Once sports start back up in the fall you will be so happy if you have a stocked freezer for easy weeknight meals.
- The addition of veggies, beans, and brown rice adds healthy fiber to your meal that you wouldn’t get with meat alone.
- And last, I love this recipe because there are so many ways you can eat it:
- tacos (both soft and hard)
- taco salad
- stuffing for burritos or enchiladas
- stuffing for stuffed bell peppers
- burrito bowls (place taco skillet in a bowl, top with toppings of your choice, and use chips for dipping)
To freeze leftovers, portion the taco skillet mixture into freezer safe bags. Label and place in the freezer. When ready to use, pull out of the freezer and let it defrost in the fridge. Warm in the microwave or over low heat on the stove. If you don’t want to freeze any leftovers just cut the recipe in half and you will still likely have enough for two meals.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 small onion
- 1 bell pepper, any color
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 lbs lean ground beef (or turkey or a combination)
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 4-5 T taco seasoning (homemade or store bought)
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 2 cups black beans, drained and rinsed
- possible garnishes: cheese, cilantro, tomato, avocado, lettuce, salsa, chips
- Heat a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the oil.
- Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook about one more minute.
- Add the meat and cook until cooked through. Drain excess juices if needed.
- Add taco seasoning and tomatoes. Mix well and simmer for about 3 minutes. (Add in a few tablespoons of water here if your mixture seems dry.)
- Add in the rice and beans and cook until warmed through.
Real Food Tips:
- If your budget allows, grass-fed (pastured) meat is best. The healthier the cow, the healthier the meat you are consuming.
- If you use store bought taco seasoning check the ingredient label. Some brands add in MSG and other unnecessary ingredients. Or consider making homemade taco seasoning. There are tons of recipes on the internet and it only takes a few minutes to throw it together. When I make it I usually make a big batch and keep it in a jar in the pantry.
If you make this recipe and try a different variation I’d love to hear how you changed it up and how it turned out!