Taco Tarts

I get tired of Taco Tuesday, but variation comes with a challenge.  Taco Tuesday is looked forward to by the little monsters and produces joyful cheering by all.  I know if I’m going to try to switch things up, it better be good!  I didn’t think taco pastries would disappoint. Yes, it did complicate things a bit, but not by much.  Cutting those shells out of the package annoys me and getting my hands on some dough is always a bit satisfying, especially when I’m not making it from scratch. Browned ground beef w:sliced onions and Zesty tomato sauce Preheat oven to 350º. Heat about 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet.  Slice 1/2 onion, thinly.  Brown onion in heated skillet until onion starts to brown.  Add 1/2 lb very lean ground beef.  I use organic.  Once beef is browned and no pink remains, add 1 package of reduced-sodium taco seasoning and 1/4 cup canned tomatoes with sauce.  Break up any large pieces of tomatoes with spatula and combine well. Beef, Onions, Tom Sauce w:Blk BNS & Corn Add 1 can rinsed and drained black beans and 1 can rinsed and drained corn into skillet.  Mix well.  Maintain at medium-low temperature, stirring occasionally while preparing pastry. Pastry dough Roll out slightly thawed pie crusts onto a cutting board and slice into squares or rectangles.  I used three boxes, so about 6 pie crusts for a family of 6 and we had plenty of leftovers.  We even froze several tarts for lunches, after school snacks or a last minute dinner.  Place one layer of cut crust onto a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet. Cover with Cheese Top each square with 2 heaping Tbsp of beef, onion, bean and corn mixture.  Top taco mixture with about 1 Tbsp of shredded cheese.  I used Mexican blend but, any shredded cheese will do. Top each with more cut pastry and seal each side by gently pressing edges with a fork.  Baste tarts with egg wash (whisk one whole egg with a bit of water for a nicely browned and slightly glossy finish).  Cut a cross shaped slit into center top of tarts.  Bake for 20 minutes or until nicely browned on top.  Serve with fresh, sliced avocado, cilantro and low-fat sour cream for dipping. Taco Tarts Served 2 These would make a great appetizer!  Serve with a choice of dipping sauces; lime sour cream, cilantro aioli or guacamole.  Make this a vegetarian meal by simply leaving out the meat.  Add more beans to replace beef, using black beans, pinto beans or vegetarian refried beans. *something you may not know: beans make a superior plant-based meat substitute as they are packed with protein, folate, fiber, iron, potassium, B vitamins and antioxidants!  Plus, they’re low in fat! Beans prevent heart disease, lower cholesterol, fight cancer, manage diabetes and can even help you lose weight! These were a hit! Time savers: Use dehydrated onion or onion powder as a substitute for fresh (use 1 Tbsp dried, minced onion or 1/2 Tbsp onion powder).  Stack pastry sheets to cut all at once.  The egg wash can be skipped and you can use a store bought guacamole of choice instead of chopping fresh avocados.
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