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The Core Tenet of Thrifty Cooking (& How to Apply it to Breakfast Tacos)

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Remember during the election, when that guy went on TV and “warned” that, with immigration proceeding the way he perceived it to be, we were headed toward a taco truck on every corner?

I still can’t fathom how he could think that was a threat (and, clearly, neither could the news anchors...)—it sounds incredible. Tacos are delicious, inexpensive, and versatile: They can be lunch, dinner, or breakfast, and they offer a low-risk opportunity to get comfortable with loose, pantry-inspired cooking.

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Breakfast tacos, in particular, are a great place to start branching out: I, personally, always have a carton of eggs in the fridge (and it's likely that most of you do, too), and lots of us feel comfortable enough preparing classic breakfast foods (eggs, sausage, hash) to begin exploring ways to combine them.

We can start super simple, with scrambled eggs in a tortilla topped with your traditional taco toppings of chopped onion and cilantro, maybe a splash of hot sauce, too. Add cheese and you have the bodega/deli breakfast sandwich of tacos. If you have a can of green chiles or a fresh Anaheim or poblano, you can go full Austin-style breakfast taco (highly recommended).

Then there’s the question of potatoes or sweet potatoes to bulk things out. And do we want meat, like bacon, breakfast sausage, or chorizo? Or do we want meatless protein with black or pinto beans? It’s all up to you and the substance of your pantry, of course.

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Breakfast Tacos for Dinner (With Eggs & Chorizo)
Breakfast Tacos for Dinner (With Eggs & Chorizo)

My breakfast tacos of choice include green chiles and Mexican chorizo, which I often have leftover from another dish. If you happen to have made my lentil stew with Spanish chorizo, you can finely chop that up and use it instead: It’s not traditional, but I'm fine with that because finding multiple uses for one item is a core tenet of cooking thriftily. (And even if you do go out to buy Mexican chorizo, rather than using what you have, the meal for four will still cost you between $10 and $13.)

To keep dishes and fuss to a minimum, I like to make the taco filling all in one pan, finishing with the eggs to make one big messy scramble. That way, you can toast your corn tortillas in another pan on the burner alongside you at the same time as you scramble. As usual, please tell us about your breakfast taco making adventures in the comments!

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Breakfast Tacos for Dinner (With Eggs & Chorizo)

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Serves 4

For the tacos:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 1/2 ounces green chiles (1 small can)
  • 12 ounces Mexican chorizo
  • 12 small corn tortillas
  • 8 eggs
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
  • chopped cilantro, for topping

For toppings and add-ons:

  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • avocado, chopped or sliced
  • lime wedges
  • scallions, chopped
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How do you take your breakfast tacos? Tell us in the comments below.