Mom's Tacos

My Mom’s Tacos

Mom's Tacos

I don’t think more than two weeks ever passes at our house without my husband asking me to make tacos for dinner. But he doesn’t mean authentic Mexican roadside tacos, or fish tacos with fresh guacamole, or even hipster tacos with kimchi or pork belly. He wants my “tacos,” which are really my mom’s tacos. This is weeknight, working mom, dinner on the table in 20 minutes food. It’s not pretty or trendy or sophisticated. It’s just damn good. No need to set the table or uncork the wine. These tacos are meant to be eaten in front of the TV with a big glass of milk. That’s how I did it when I was a kid, and that’s how I do it now.

taco ingredients

It’s so simple I hesitate to even share it with you, except for the fact that this is literally the most eaten dinner in our house. My mom’s secret is a can of refried beans mixed into the meat. It bulks up the tacos in the best possible way. Tacos that are just ground beef are so boring. Why aren’t they doing this at every drive thru taco place on the planet? My mom was so clever.

She also fried the flour tortillas in a bit of hot oil. This is delicious, but I’m mostly too lazy, and trying to keep the calories down ever so slightly, to bother with this step. But by all means, if you want to make these extra ridiculous, slide your flour tortilla into about an eighth of an inch of hot oil. It only needs about 30 seconds a side. Just stand right there and turn it when it gets brown. Drain them briefly on a paper towel, then load up your taco meat and toppings. It’s 80’s suburban familial bliss.

Mom's Tacos

My mom died in 2009, so I’m always looking for ways to keep her close by. Cooking the food she made when I was a child is one of my favorite ways to do that. Don’t tell anybody, but I still put ketchup on my tacos, just like when I was 10. I don’t recommend it to normal humans. I’m not normal.

Next time you’re exhausted on a Wednesday, make these tacos. They’re so simple you could make them in your sleep, and so freakin’ good you won’t be able to move afterward. 

Moms Tacos3


Mom's Tacos
Yields 6
Fast and simple week night tacos just like the old days
Write a review
Total Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
  1. 1 pound ground beef
  2. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  3. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  4. 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  5. 1 packet hot taco seasoning (you should probably make your own, but I always forget)
  6. 3/4 cup water (or just refill the seasoning packet)
  7. 1 can spicy jalepeno refried beans
  8. whole wheat tortillas
  9. shredded cheese
  10. sour cream
  11. salsa
  12. and all your other favorite taco toppings
  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, break up your ground beef with a wooden spoon and season with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Cook until browned, about 8 minutes.
  2. Drain the fat from the ground beef by pouring it into a colander. Return it to the pan.
  3. Sprinkle your seasoning packet over the cooked meat and add water. Stir to combine.
  4. Add refried beans and smoosh everything together. It will become easier to stir as it heats. Simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. For a softer tortilla, heat it in the microwave for 15 seconds. Spoon your taco meat onto your tortilla and add all your favorite toppings. You can even have ketchup. I won't tell.
Adapted from my mom, Traci
Adapted from my mom, Traci
Tiki Town

Burgerology: Tiki Town

*This restaurant has closed. A similar venue can be found nearby called Cuckoo Coconuts. Tiki Town

Welcome to our new occasional series, Burgerology. I have repeatedly proclaimed my love of cheeseburgers, so I’m on the hunt to share with you the most awesome burgers on the island of Oahu. 

Our first burger is from Tiki Town, which is tucked away in my favorite den of nostalgia in Waikiki, The International Marketplace. This joint is exactly as tacky as it’s name implies, which makes it deliciously fun. I don’t care how big their plastic volcano is, I’ll try anywhere that serves a $3.95 mai tai.

Volcano Bar

We’ve only been here during the day, but the atmosphere has always been fun and relaxed. The service is fast and accurate, considering the wait staff all have Japanese accents. They get it right the first time, and quickly. It’s the kind of place where you can laugh as loudly as you want, and no one will care.

Mai Tai

The mai tai is potent and tastes good. It appears to come from a mix rather than freshly squeezed organic pineapple juice and other such nonsense, but for $3.95, I’m not complaining. I also love that they bring you peanut butter stuffed pretzels while you wait for your food, or just to snack on if you’re only having drinks. That’s one of my favorite snacks, so getting them for free is sweet. It’s especially awesome that they’re served to you in a coconut.

Volcano Burger

The burgers are cooked on essentially a big backyard gas grill, so they taste homemade. It’s a good size burger, and mine has always been cooked perfectly with gorgeous grill marks that lend the flavor of flame. I get the classic burger with cheese, and Geoff usually orders the volcano burger with plenty of hot sauce and jalapenos. My only complaint is that they use processed cheese, rather than the real thing. It’s not a big deal, I just prefer cheddar.

Tiki Town Burgers

Another great feature is that they bring you a literal bucket of condiments with your food. I got to put mustard, ketchup, and mayo on my burger just the way I like it, and even better, there was a bottle of ranch dressing for my fries. Genius.

The price is about mid-range at around $9, cheap for Waikiki, and if you only order one round of drinks, you can definitely get out of there for less than $20 per person. It’s a great place to stop into for a midday drink or a quick lunch. 


We’ve never been here for dinner or late night drinks, and it’s usually not that busy when we go in. It’s not gourmet. It’s a tacky tiki bar. They have good simple food and cheap drinks, so if you know what you’re getting yourself into, and you don’t take yourself to seriously, you’ll quite enjoy it. We’d definitely go back again.

Geoff at Tiki Town

« Previous
Next »
Mom's Tacos

Awesome in May


Awesomest Cheap Date

We had a most fantastic mid-week date night for about $25. Get this. One of our local movie theaters, Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 & IMAX, has $6 movie tickets all day Tuesday. And, it gets better. This movie theater happens to be right next to Costco, where you can get the cheapest dinner ever. Here’s the plan. I meet my husband straight after work, he buys turkey paninis that we stash in my purse, we buy tickets for a 4:30 show before the crowds arrive, and we’re home by 7. When was the last time you had dinner and a movie for that cheap? I think we’re going to do this every week.

images (4)

Awesomest Super Hero Facial Hair

What movie did we see, you ask? We finally saw Iron Man 3. I realize everybody in the world has already seen it, but we don’t like crowds, so we don’t mind waiting. I was thoroughly entertained, as always, by Tony Stark, and I was pleased to get to see a bit more of Robert Downey Jr.’s face. He’s an excellent actor, even when he’s not busy punching people in the face. I’ll also watch anything with Don Cheadle. What did you think? I love to talk movies. Let’s get into it.


Awesomest Thing to Happen to TV Since Cut-Offs

Are you absolutely in love with Arrested Development? Have you been excited about the new episodes ever since the rumors started flying a few years ago? Did you geek out when they started tweeting photos of the cast filming the new stuff? Yeah, me too! I’m so glad I have Netflix. Honestly, we haven’t even gotten to the new episodes yet because we decided to start from the beginning. But just the joy of watching the old episodes again has already made my month extra awesome. I’ve heard mixed reviews, but I’m excited to make it to the new stuff either way. It will be like catching up with old friends.


Awesomest Joke that Never Gets Old

Not having cable or a radio, I’m usually not up on the latest thing. It doesn’t bother me at all. My vocabulary, though, is riddled with outdated references. I need everybody to know about Strong Bad. It’s often essential to understanding the words that are coming out of my mouth. Spend some time. And don’t skip Teen Girl Squad. Some things are funny forever.

Other Awesomeness

Having another month of work is super awesome. I need cheese and chocolate. Which means I need a paycheck. I’m grateful for a boring office job.

By far, the most awesome thing in May was launching this very blog. You are so awesome for being here. I don’t think I can say how excited I am without sounding horribly cheesy. But yeah, it’s awesome! So way very awesome!!!

Bacon and Egg Salad
« Previous
Next »
Tiki Town
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...