Using basic ingredients, you can prepare low cost, pleasing meals with Mexican food that the whole family will enjoy. Hot sauces and salsa will add flavor and spice. Try mild varieties for children and others who do not enjoy hot and spicy foods. Jalapeño peppers are hot - use them sparingly or remove some or all of the seeds to cut down on the heat. Also, wear gloves or wash your hands thoroughly after chopping.

Build Your Own Tacos

Shell & Tortilla
  • Hard shells
  • Corn tortillas
  • Whole wheat tortillas
  • Lean ground beef (15% fat or less)
  • Ground turkey
  • Refried beans (or refried black beans)
  • Cooked black beans (or canned, drained and  rinsed)
  • Cooked pinto beans (or canned, drained and rinsed)
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Green pepper
  • Zucchini
  • Mushroom
  • Avocado
  • Cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Taco sauce
  • Hot sauce
  • Salsa
  • Olives
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Red pepper flakes


A plate with three soft shell tacos containing meat and vegetables.

Cooking Tacos

  1. Warm taco shells or tortillas in a 350°F oven for 5 minutes.
  2. Cook the meat or warm the beans. Stir in the spices.
  3. Prepare the vegetables and extras. (Chop the tomatoes, shred the lettuce, etc.) You may want to lightly sauté some of the vegetables.
  4. Let each family member choose from the ingredients available. Choose a shell/tortilla, protein, lots of vegetables, and a little bit of the 'extras.'

Featured Recipes

Mexican Pinwheels

Drain the corn and green chiles.Collect, chop, and measure all ingredients beforestarting to prepare the recipe.Mix cream cheese, corn, green chiles, onion, and salsain a bowl.Spread mixture on tortillas, roll up tightly, and wrap inplastic wrap.Cut in 1-inch slices, and serve immediately, or store inthe refrigerator until ready to serve.Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours. Eat within 3 to 5days.

mexican pinwheels

Southwestern Lunch Wraps

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place beans, corn, tomatoes, and spices (if using) in a large bowl and toss to mix. Add in cheese. Mix well.Spoon the mixture evenly between the tortillas and roll up.Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.