Taco Bell is famous for its inexpensive, no fuss fast food Mexican dishes. If you are a big fan of Mexican food, there are a variety of ways to customize your order, create your own versions and bring your experience to a whole different level with these 10 hacks.
10. Tacos, Tacos & more Tacos
Everyone is familiar with the hard-shelled Taco at Taco Bell, but it is not just all about tacos, all the time! Even though tacos are the most purchased and have remained their best-selling item for the last 57 years now. Are you hooked but tired of eating the same old ground beef tacos, served with the usual typical Mexican accoutrements? You can always swap out your hard-shelled taco for a soft -shelled one. You can change out the beef for spicy chicken or steak. Prefer hard shelled but need more flavor, change you regular corn tortilla to a Dorito tortilla shell, make it a Locos Taco Supreme, which packs quite a powerhouse of flavors, add Pico de Gallo and sour cream and extra nacho cheese to make it a creamy mess. Want extra spice, you can add-on jalapenos peppers and packets of hot sauce. Basically, you can create your own better and improved taco. For those die-hard vegans, you can order the Bean Crunchy Supreme or Soft Shell Supreme filled with mounds of refried beans, add diablo hot sauce for added flavor and spiciness. A new and popular item on the menu for vegans is the Bean Cheesy Gordita Crunch, a crunchy, refried bean-filled taco shell with zesty Spicy Ranch sauce, crisp shredded lettuce and real cheddar cheese, all wrapped up in a melted 3-cheese layered flatbread. Yum Yum is their brand.
9. Burritos Por Favor
Another long-time proverbial favorite at Taco Bell is Burritos. There are so many to list here and too damn confusing. But basically, they all come served with a soft-shelled tortilla filled with a world of goodness and all your heart’s deepest desires. The basis is some sort of meat like ground beef, spicy chicken, and even steak. You can virtually have anything in them and create your own with upgrades. At Taco Bell them come filled with every combination and permutations. Hearty beans, rice, sauce, shredded lettuce, diced onions, tomatoes, potatoes, zesty Pico de Gallo and even Doritos. Feeling lazy and want everything, a must try is the Seven Layer Burritos served warm, with fixings of your choice, the difference is it has a blend of three cheeses like cheddar, Monterey Jack and mozzarella, sour cream and guacamole. A really good hack, is to lay a few of them in a casserole, top with more of your favorite cheese, loads of store-bought chipotle sauce, and pop in the oven till cheese is melted, you have yourself enchiladas! Serve with homemade Spanish rice and a Power Menu Bowl, or Taco Fiesta salad and your guests will think you are a Mayan god. If you can’t decide between a taco or a Burritos, then the way to go is a Crunchwrap Supreme. They are so hot right now. A Mix between a crunchy tostada shell wrapped between a soft tortilla, with layers of fixings, the perfect balance in a one-handed lunch staple for all those busy and undecided Libras.
Gotta love the name! A dish originating from Cholula in the state of Puebla Mexico. Chalupas are made by pressing together masa dough and molding it into a concave shell and deep frying it. It looks like a container resembling a boat, hence the origin of the name. A crisp, shallow corn boat filled with your favorite ingredients. A closer look reveals that it may pass for a thick pita or naan bread. They are crunchy, crispy and chewy and can be filled with seasoned beef, or chicken and usually come with three types cheeses, sour cream, crisp shredded lettuce, and diced ripe tomatoes. In the mood for a fusion instead, try this Mexican/ Indian hack. But you will have to do take-out foe this one to complete your creation. Customize your order by asking for a plain Chalupa with spicy chicken, no cheese, no sour cream or veggies. Just add your own curry spice, plain yogurt, or your favorite prepared butter chicken sauce from the grocery store and you have a totally different and exotic meal. Want to stick with the Mexican theme. Remember Chimigangas? They were all the rage and a proverbial favorite. Well here is a chance to redeem yourself with this hack, order a chalupa and deep fry it in some peanut oil and you have a Chimigangas, add your favorite hot sauce and it’s a whole other meal. A little trick from the food industry, the same can be done you’re your favorite burritos from Taco Bell.
These delicious pockets of flatbread are the Mexican version of a grilled cheese sandwich. The original quesadillas are typically filled with Oaxaca cheese, a stringy Mexican cheese made by a method of stretched curds called pasta filata. But it is hard to find it in North America in most fast food outlets, instead they substitute mozzarella or cheddar cheese. Simple, yet tasty, they are commonly just served with just cheese, but can be filled with anything. Quesadillas are made with two soft tortilla, melted cheese. For a more substantial meal and a bang of flavor you can add any type of meat. An inexpensive item on the menu at Taco Bell, they are usually under $ 3.00, but did you know you can get a mini quesadilla for just a buck. The cheapest hack on the menu item at Taco Bell is ordering two mini’s and you have a whole one. You can also make loads of them yourself, by purchasing a dozen tortilla shells, adding some grated mozzarella and your favorite type of cold cuts, such as chorizo, mock chicken and roast beef slices. Place them in a griddle or panini press and you have enough for six of your friends and a quick lunch for a week. In a hurry, wrap it up and it’s a Quesarito. Makes a good morning breakfast on the run, just add scrambled eggs and refried beans. At Taco Bell you can order this with an order of potatoes, and save yourself $ 2.00 for a full breakfast. A quicker version is taking one tortilla and folding into a half moon shape.
6. Mexican Pizza
Yes, Taco Bell serves Pizza, and it will knock your socks off. Of course, its Mexican style but nonetheless still delicious. The ultimate fusion cuisine, Pizza is more often associated with Italy, but who says Mexicans can’t have their own version. The Mexican variety is quite different and original in flavor. It contains all the favorites Mexican ingredients that you love so much. The common thing of course is that it all begins with some sort of a base, either flour or corn tortilla. All pizzas are always topped with cheese, tomatoes sauce, some sort of meat and veggies. The similarities are not any different with a Mexican pizza. Like many Mexican dishes the main ingredients are a mix of refried beans, ground beef, cheddar cheese and Pico de Gallo and the kitchen sink. You can customize and add as many toppings as you like to make it your own. But this hack will have you scratching your head, it’s purely ingenious. Turn your Pizza into Lasagna, by ordering two or more Mexican Pizza at Taco Bell for a total cost of under twelve dollars. You will need lots of nachos cheese sauce, and maybe extra chili, refried beans and plenty of cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Start by layering the pizza one on top of the other and adding lots of nacho cheese and mozzarella cheese in between the layers. Bake for 10 minutes to reheat and you can serve this with a Taco Salad from Taco Bell or Power Menu Bowl. The cost saved is at least half of a regular pizza or lasagna and you will have a meal that is totally new and original, rarely seen in any Mexican restaurants.
5. Tortilla Chips
Another staple that originated from northern Mexico. These tiny morsels of chips were created by the Zapotec native women from the state of Oaxaca. Mostly made with corn tortillas, the natives would bake round tortillas in a clay oven known as a comixcal, then salt them for preserving. The fried or baked tortillas would then be cut into triangular squares called tortilla chips. A staple to many meals served in lieu of bread. A whole round tortilla is known as Tostadas. Taco Bell and many Mexican restaurants serve both these items on their menu. Many high-end Mexican restaurants serve tortilla chips complimentary with drinks at the onset of a meal. Sometimes they are served with salsa or salsa Verde. Tortilla chips also make a great snack with a glass of sangria on a hot summer day, when you are not too hungry. Tostadas are a whole different thing and an absolute craze these days. Deep fried and served hot, they are open faced whole tortillas shells topped with most anything. At Taco bell, you can have any variation of tortilla chips, even Doritos. You can customize your order with nacho cheese or guacamole on the side. The more the better, top with any combination of cheese, vegetables, beans and salsa to maximize your meal. Combine them with a Power Menu Bowls Combo or Fiesta Taco salad, use as additional croutons or scooper when you have eaten all the shell and need more chips with your plain salad. A spicy Tostadas will only set you back one dollar, a total steal.
Nachos are usually heated tortilla chips or totopos. The ‘twisted sister’ counterpart of tortilla chips they are covered with melted cheese or a cheese-based Nacho sauce, Pico de Gallo, even beans, chili and sometimes meats. They can be served as a snack or appetizer, but can be a meal in itself. Don’t go for just plain, boring and simple nachos. Spice up your life by creating a junky gooey mess. This dish came to be and was originally was created by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya in 1943 in the city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, just over the border from Texas. The dish came to be when some wives of U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Duncan dropped in after the restaurant had closed for the day. Ignacio the maître d’ at the time created a new snack for them with what little he had available in the kitchen, tortillas and cheese. He cut the tortillas into triangles, deep -fried them, added shredded cheddar cheese, quickly heated them, topped it with sliced pickled jalapeño peppers and the traditional Nacho dish was born. This dish’s’ popularity quickly spread, these days they are being served in every pub, Mexican restaurant and fast food outlets across North America. Fed up of just plain nachos, order a few bowls of Taco Bell Supreme Nachos or the Belle Grande for take-out. Power them up with a Candy Freeze Drinks, you can get one for free if you order multiples, add some tequila and invite some of your friends over to sit on the terrace for Happy Hour at your place.
3. Mexican Poutine
Still in the mood for nachos, but love those tater tots instead and can’t decide. You don’t have to! This is an actual dish, but not served at Taco Bell. The good thing is, you CAN CUSTOMIZE and be inventive! These days anything goes and when you are craving a fusion of cuisines, you need to be creative. If you are the type of person who likes variety, this hack is for you. It is all about self-gratification anyways, at least when it comes to what you want to put in your body. This hack will pack that extra crunch in your taters. Order a side of Cheesy Fiesta potatoes or fries plain, also order a side of chips and nachos cheese sauce. Squish the chips up and add them to the top of an order of taters. Be creative and top as many layers of goodness as you want. You can also add Pico de Gallo, beans, chili and meat as well, don’t stop there, the more the tastier. Don’t forget loads of diablo sauce or hot sauce for that kick. Place them in the microwave or oven with extra mozzarella cheese and bake for 10 minutes till cheese is melted. You will get a Mexican poutine without spending lots of money and guaranteed to satisfy your deepest cravings. It’s simple and fun, and makes a delicious side dish.
Have you noticed that wraps have become really popular for quick lunch time meal. Taco Bell has also jumped on the bandwagon, by offering their version of a wrap called Grillers. They are not burritos or enchiladas, but actual perfectly round rolled flour tortilla filled with all your Mexican favorites, but wait! They also have the traditional Chicken and Ranch Griller (available in Canada only) and it’s better tasting than most fast food versions. They even have a vegan version with 5 layers of dip and beans wrapped in a grilled flour tortilla. In the US, you can make this version by ordering a Cheesy Roll for one dollar and customizing it with sides. A similar item on the menu is the Beefy Nacho Griller or Cheesy Potato Griller for a few dollars more. Get a Power Menu Bowl with your preferred meat of choice and a cheesy roll and create your own. Ask for ranch dressing instead of sour cream. Add spice to your chicken, add avocado, guacamole, green peppers and onions and make fajitas wraps. Be a chef, deconstruct by asking for items on the side instead of the usual items on the menu. Put them back together to your liking, people will look at you weird, but it will be fine. At least you are getting exactly what you want. The client is King!
The best way to complete any meal is dessert. Taco Bell has three desserts if you crave something sweet. Treat yourself to the Cinnabon Delight, Taco Bell version of a Churro munchkin. Doughnut-holes filled with a sweet cream cheese frosting, dusted with cinnamon sugar. An ingenious and inexpensive version of a Churros shaped differently for only a $1.00. As a matter of fact, all desserts at Taco Bell will set you back a buck. Finger foods for the soul, just pop in your mouth, such delicious pockets of goodness. If you want something lighter, the puffed corn cinnamon twists are also decadent and not as heavy, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar they are equally addictive but better for those calorie counters. Yep! Another old-time favorite dessert at Taco Bell and a direct competitor to McDonalds boring Baked Apple Pie is Taco Bell’s Caramel Apple Empanada. Ummm Ummm Ummm! Move over, Baked apple pie, this is so much better. Drizzle some Dulce de Leche over the dessert, the caramel will bring it to a whole other level of sweetness. Diabetics be forewarned, this can be very hazardous to your health. But so decadent.