Taco ‘Taters – $5 Dinner Challenge

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on September 19, 2011

Last week before our spontaneous camping trip (more on that tomorrow), I was on a mission to clear out the fridge and use up items from the pantry and freezers. And come Friday night, there wasn’t much left to choose from. I went digging in the freezers and I found the a bag of my favorite taco meat, some shredded cheese…and then pulled out the potatoes from the cupboard…using those we didn’t need for the campfire hobos, and I made this.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure it was going to work. We really enjoy Chili Topped Potatoes, so why not try it with taco meat on top instead of chili. I was nervous. I was.

But we really enjoyed it!

The kids had them cheeseless and didn’t complain one bit. And the ONLY thing I would do differently next time is use shredded Pepper Jack cheese for some extra kick. If I’d had any on hand, I’d have used it. But the cheddar was just fine!

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Taco ‘Taters

Yield – 4 servings

Preparation Time – 15 minutes

Cooking Time – 1 hour for the potatoes,  10 minutes for the corn,


  • 4 large or 6 medium potatoes ($.75) Yay for a potato sale last week!
  • 2 to 3 cups leftover taco meat ($2.50)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese ($1.25)
  • Corn cobs, or other vegetable side dish ($1)
  • Butter ($.10)


  • Bake the potatoes, or cook them in the microwave if you are short on time.
  • Add the taco meat on top, then sprinkle cheese on top and microwave or run under the broiler to melt the cheese.
  • Boil the corn cobs or prepare other vegetable.
  • Serve Taco ‘Taters with buttery corn cobs.

Cost $5.60


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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Carrie@Bakeaholic Mama September 19, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Sounds good to me! I just pulled some chili out of the freezer tonight for my husband and I. Kids are in bed and we are eating late… I wanted to top something with it… but I wasn’t sure what… after seeing this post I’ll bake some potatoes up!


Jessica September 19, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I am confused by the potato. Do you just open the potato and put the rest of the ingredients on top of the potato or do you smash the potatoes up and then put everything on top


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom September 19, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Hey Jessica,

I baked them, then opened them up some and smashed a little. Then, we ate bits of potato with the taco meat. Hope that helps!



Kristia@Family Balance Sheet September 19, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Yay for using up what is hiding in the freezer.

Thanks for the link-up.


Liz@PocketChangeGourmet September 19, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Looks yummy! My gang would love them!
Thanks for hosting Erin!
~Liz@HoosierHomemade & Pocket Change Gourmet


Nicole September 19, 2011 at 9:59 pm

This is similar to the stuffed popatoes they serve (or did serve, not sure anymore) at Wendays w/chili on top. In England they call it a “jacket potato”. There are jacket potato fast food joins all over. One of their favs is baked beans over a baked potato. Not sure about that one, but we have either a chili or taco stuffed jacket potato at least once a month. Best topped w/sour cream too!


Lonna September 19, 2011 at 10:10 pm

We like to add salsa, sour cream and olives.


Jade September 20, 2011 at 1:19 am

Sounds like a good idea when theres no food left. I might just try that tonight. Thanks Erin.


Wanda September 20, 2011 at 6:47 am

Thanks for the idea, I made the “Chunky Spaghetti” again Sunday night and have leftover meat sauce in the freezer and will be using that tonight over some baked potatoes. Can’t wait to see how they turn out!


Beth in Dublin OH September 21, 2011 at 9:49 am

I like your idea. I LOVE taco meat, and my daughter LOVES potatoes in any form. Another thing I do with taco meat, is to make Bun Tacos (some call them Mexican Joes or Mexican Sloppy Joes). Growing up in the Los Angeles area, Taco Bells had a menu item called a Bell Beefer. I make the home version all the time! A Bun Taco has the same ingredients found in a regular taco (taco meat, shredded cheddar, shredded lettuce, diced tomato), but on a hamburger bun instead of taco shell. YUMMO!


Sara September 24, 2011 at 11:23 pm

I made these with pepper jack cheese and added salsa and sour cream. My husband loved it and asked that I make them again! I love that the use of potatoes is a cheaper and healthier alternative to chips or tortillas we would use for a similar meal like nachos or burritos. Thanks for the recipe.


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom September 26, 2011 at 11:42 am

You’re welcome! Love it when husbands ask for more!



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