Taco Appetizer

Looking for a recipe for something quick and easy to make for a snack or appetizer? Try these taco appetizer shells. Lovely little bites, super yummy, and no mess! Also makes a fun lunch for the kids!

Recipe for Taco Appetizers or Kid-Friendly Snack - so quick and easy! Try other fillings too, like chicken with enchilada sauce

I wasn’t originally going to post a recipe today, but I whipped this one up for lunch yesterday, and with the holiday weekend, I thought you might want an idea for a quick and easy appetizer or afternoon snack for this kids. Plus, I needed to start posting something in this category!

I was getting hungry so I checked the refrigerator as usual to see what needed to be eaten up. (I’m the garbage disposal in the house.) I had a little leftover taco meat, but no shell or tortilla to go with it. And a little bit of corn from the last night’s dinner. Hmmm. I thought I’d make myself nachos, so I went hunting through the bags of potato chips, pretzels, cereal,… no tortilla chips, but I found these Tostitos Scoops. That’d work! (Quick note: I am not getting any endorsement deal or in any way getting reimbursed to talk about this product.)

Tostitos Scoops bagAs I started to assemble my little morsels, I thought how they’d make cute little appetizers. So I started to photograph it (ah, the life of a blogger… always needing to document EVERYTHING).

Have you ever had these Tostitos Scoops? They are like cute little bowls, just like the tortilla bowls a taco salad comes in at a restaurant, only smaller.

You can make the taco meat in advance and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to assemble. To make this even easier on you, you can buy already prepared taco meat at most supermarket meat departments. Not a big fan of ground beef or taco seasoning? Try shredded chicken! Or use enchilada sauce instead! Or make a meatless version with a yummy chunky salsa.

Tostitos Scoops mini tortilla shellsTortilla shell with taco fillingTaco appetizer topped with cheese

First, I mixed the corn with the taco meat (cooked, obviously), and then added a little spoonful of the mixture to each little shell. Then I covered all of them with shredded cheese. I had a Mexican mix, pre-shredded bad of cheese, but you could use any cheese you like. I like some of the finely shredded pre-packaged cheese, because it melts nicely in the microwave.

Okay, at this point you are probably going to be asking how many of these and how much of that? Well, I rarely follow recipes. I think of them as suggestions. A starting point. Like a box of crayons waiting to be put to use to create a drawing. So, I do not have any exact measurements here. If I had to guess, I’d say I had about a cup of taco meat, which is probably roughly half a pound? (Anyone out there feel free to correct me.) And that filled maybe 20-24 shells? Each shell takes a little less than a teaspoon (depending how full you want them). If you are making a large quantity, I’d buy 2 bags of the shells just in case because some in the bag are broken or not shaped as nicely. I just used of few large pinches of the shredded cheese (maybe half a cup?) sprinkled not too heavily, so if you’d like more cheese, adjust accordingly.

Once my plate was full, I popped them in the microwave on 70% for about a minute. This is the only tricky part! If you’ve ever used the microwave to melt cheese on something, you’ll know that if you don’t watch it, next thing you know it’ll go past the gently melted, gooey, yummy stage to the bubbling stage, and once that happens, the cheese will usually be rubbery or even crunchy. Now, I’d still eat it, but if I’m serving these little guys to my friends, I don’t want that. If you see some get to the right stage, stop the microwave, remove those to a separate plate, and put the unmelted ones back in. It’s okay if there is a little bit of cheese that doesn’t melt. The key thing is getting it to melt enough so it doesn’t fall off.

Of course you could use your oven or broiler for this, but especially as summer is fast approaching, who wants  to heat up the kitchen when the microwave is so quick!

Taco appetizer closeup

You can serve them warm, but they are equally yummy at room temperature. I know because I brought my plate up to my office and snacked on them while working over the course of a couple of hours, and the last was just as good as the first!

The best part of these snacks? They are so mess-free! Easy to pick up, not awkward to bite into. No utensils required. And maybe just a hint of salt left on your fingers to lick as you sip your margarita.

I didn’t have anything handy to garnish them, but you could add finely chopped red pepper, tomatoes, green chilies, sliced black olives, and/or a dollop of sour cream.

Have you ever served these for an appetizer? Tell us about what you used to filled them!


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