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Feeding the kids: Taco night!

Tacqueria-style Carne Asada Tacos courtesy of

Tacqueria-style Carne Asada Tacos courtesy of Credit: Handout

In my ongoing quest to find tasty kid-friendly meals for you that are healthy and appropriate for the whole family, this week I was inspired by the children's book "Dragons Love Tacos," by Adam Rubin, Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri (Dial Books for Young Readers; $16.99). Dragons love tacos, from chicken and beef to big and small ones. But if a dragon accidentally eats spicy salsa, watch out, you're in red-hot trouble.

While the book didn't include a recipe, I was motivated to have a taco night. It's a great recipe to make along with your kids after reading "Dragons Love Tacos." Don't get discouraged by all the ingredients, you can do a lot of the prep work ahead of time and it's relatively easy to make.

Tacqueria-style Carne Asada Tacos, courtesy of

-3 pounds flank steak
-1/3 cup white vinegar
-1/2 cup soy sauce
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-2 limes, juiced
-1/2 cup olive oil
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon ground black pepper
-1 teaspoon ground white pepper
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon chili powder
-1 teaspoon dried oregano
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1 teaspoon paprika
-1 white onion, chopped
-1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
-1 lime, juiced
-2 large tomatoes, chopped
-2 jalapeño peppers, chopped
-1 white onion, quartered
-4 cloves garlic, peeled
-4 dried New Mexico chili pods
-1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
-1 (32 ounce) package corn tortillas
-2 cups grated cotija cheese (optional)
-2 limes, cut into wedges

1. Lay the flank steak in a large glass baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, 4 cloves of garlic, juice of two limes, and olive oil. Season with salt, black pepper, white pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, cumin and paprika. Whisk until well blended, then pour over the steak in the dish. Turn over once to coat both sides. Cover with plastic wrap, and marinate for 1 to 8 hours.

2. In a small bowl, stir together 1 chopped white onion, cilantro, and the juice of 1 lime. Set aside to use as a relish for the tacos.

3. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Toast chile pods in the skillet for a few minutes, then remove to a bowl of water to soak for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

4. Place the tomatoes, 1 onion, jalapeños, and 4 cloves of garlic onto a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, until toasted but not burned. Place the roasted vegetables, and soaked chili pods into a blender or food processor, along with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.

5. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cut the marinated flank steak into cubes or strips. Cook, stirring constantly, until the meat is cooked through and most of the liquid has evaporated.

6. Warm the tortillas in a skillet for about a minute on each side to make them pliable. Tortillas may also be warmed in a microwave oven. Arrange two or three tortillas on a plate, and lay a generous amount of beef over them. Top with a sprinkle of the onion relish and a large spoonful of the pureed salsa. Add as much cheese as you like. Garnish with lime wedges, and serve.

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