A Squared: What's For Dinner Wednesday: Slow Cooker Beef Tacos & Grilled Corn Salad

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Slow Cooker Beef Tacos & Grilled Corn Salad

I'm usually a very organized cook and grocery shopper-- I make a weekly menu and then we go shopping on Saturday or Sunday afternoon for everything we need for a week's worth of dinners.  Usually I frame the menu around whatever meat we have in the freezer or whatever is on sale at our store that week.  I find that this system works much better (financially and logistically) than when I first started doing my own "adult" grocery shopping back when I lived in Boston and would just stop in at the store (starving) on my way back from work only to come home and find that I had impulsively purchased a random assortment of wine, yogurt, pasta, popsicles, and bananas.  Try making a week's worth of dinners out of those ingredients.

Since we were traveling this weekend and didn't get home until late Sunday evening, my weekly dinner schedule was all thrown off so I was scrambling on Monday to come up with a few low stress dinners to make this week.  We've been on a Mexican kick lately and we had a beef roast in the freezer so when I found this slow cooker beef recipe on Pinterest I jumped at it.  It doesn't get much easier than dinner in the slow cooker!  I paired it with a delicious and summery grilled corn salad that was a great compliment to the tacos.  Enjoy!

For the Grilled Corn Salad:

  • 1 red or orange bell pepper 
  • 2 ears of corn, shucked
  • Olive oil spray or cooking spray
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. light sour cream
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 Tbs. cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. dry parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
Preheat the grill to medium heat.  Cut the bell pepper in half and remove the membranes and seeds from the inside.  Spray the corn and peppers evenly with olive oil or cooking spray and season with salt and pepper.  Grill the corn and peppers until softened and grill marks appear, turning to make sure they grill evenly.  Remove from heat and allow the vegetables to cool enough to handle.  Cut the corn off the cobs and discard cobs.  Chop the peppers into 1/2 inch pieces and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, lime juice, cilantro, parsley, pepper, and salt. Add corn, peppers, tomatoes, and onion and toss to combine.  This is best served at room temperature, but be careful not to leave it sitting out for too long (since it includes dairy).

For the Slow Cooker Beef Tacos:

  • 1 (2 lb.) boneless beef roast
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 2 1/2 tsp. chili powder 
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano 
  • Whole wheat tortillas
  • For serving (optional): Diced tomatoes, guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream.  You could also serve the corn salad (recipe above) as a garnish/salsa for the tacos, though I prefer it as a side dish.
Heat a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat, and add the oil to the pan.  Sprinkle the beef roast liberally with salt and pepper.  Once the oil is hot, add the roast to the pan and brown on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Place in the slow cooker.

Add the onion to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes before stirring in garlic and tomato paste.  After another 2-3 minutes, stir in the beef broth and spices.  Scrape up any browned bits, and then pour the seasoned broth and onions over the top of the roast.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Shred with a fork.  To thicken up the sauce if it is too liquidy (it likely will be), you can turn the slow cooker to high after shredding the beef and cook with the lid off for an additional 30 to 60 minutes or until the liquid has cooked down enough to serve.

Original taco recipe courtesy of Elly Says Opa!


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