Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Creating A Taco Bar

I would highly recommend this as a meal or snack option for any large gathering. It looks pretty. It takes hardly anytime to prepare. It's a huge hit. Can you go wrong?


This photo was taken before we had set out the warmed soft shells, the sour cream or the cheese. Also, I had plans of doing corn and beans but then decided basically forgot about them.

Martin had a great idea that we should have a taco bar for our New Year's Eve party and I couldn't be more happy with this plan. It just came together so well! All night long people were raving about the tacos and asking for recipes, etc.

So, in the spirit of feeling particularly instructional this evening....some steps to creating your own taco bar.

As you know, I got really into crockpot chicken tacos early in the fall. The basic recipe of chicken breast, a jar of salsa, taco seasoning, and diced chilis really can't be beat.  For this taco bar, I wanted to have lots of options so I decided to do Pork, Chicken and Beef.

Pork: Buy a pork shoulder roast. I cut out the bone and cut a bunch of the fat off before cooking. The preparation of the pork for the crockpot was definitely the longest of the three and when I say a long time I mean 15 minutes. Put the pork in the crockpot. Season with taco seasoning (Here you could either do a package of taco seasoning or do what I did and just roughly throw some garlic powder, cayenne powder, paprika, chili powder and black pepper onto the pork.) Pour a jar of salsa over the top. Open two cans of green chilis and add those into the pot. Mix everything together. Turn on low for 5 to 6 hours. When it is done everything will literally fall apart with a slight touch of a fork or tongs.

Chicken: I used a five pound bag of frozen chicken breats. Thaw the chicken the day before. Put the chicken in the crockpot. Follow the same seasoning process as with the pork. Cook on low. It will also fall apart, but not quite as easily as the pork does (I think it has something to do with the fact that there is more fat in the pork but don't quote me on that, I'm really just making stuff up as I go along)

Beef: Use a chuck roast. I think mine was about three pounds. I wish it had been slightly bigger. Place the roast in the crockpot. Follow all the same instructions.

The amazing thing about these is they are so customizable. If you're going to be gone all day at work....who cares....you really can't overcook them! They just continue to get better and better! We were having a lot of guests and I am paranoid about running out of food, so I made sure we had a lot of meat. You can always decrease the recipe if you wish!

The toppings!
My favorite part about a taco bar are the variety of toppings to choose from. I made these super cute tortilla bowls by taking large soft shell burritos and putting them in the oven, pressed down in a large bowl at 350 degrees. This yielded great results but I only had one bowl that was oven safe and big enough for what I wanted (a soup or cereal bowl isn't really large enough to allow your tortilla shell to hold its shape before it hardens) To move the process along faster I would keep the shell in the bowl until it was sort of firm and the top was brown and then let it finish the browning and hardening process directly on the oven rack so I could start a new tortilla. For the smaller ones I turned a muffin pan upside down and positioned the smaller tortilla shells between the muffin cups. These definitely browned up more quickly, but I found them to be a little bit harder to form into very nice bowls.

And don't be afraid to go crazy with topping options
Lettuce
Tomato
Onion
Cheese
Olives
Sour Cream
Gaucamole
Rice
Beans
Corn
Cilantro
Salsa
the possibilities are almost endless.

So there you have it! A taco bar. A delicious and easy addition to your next party!

2 comments:

  1. I love your taco bar.. even the bowls you put the toppings into.. We make chicken and beef tacos all the time, but I never thought to do pork. I make Charitie pulled BBQ pork a few times a year, and this might be something new we should try.. Glad you guys had a nice new years.. have a Happy and Healthy 2013!Gretchen

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  2. Great simple idea

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