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Tex-Mex Tacos

For maximum taste per bite, layer the ground beef, guacamole, beans, and cheese side-ways rather than vertically. Note also that the shells should be just crisp enough to hold their shape, but still pliable. If they are too crisp, they will be difficult to fill and will break with the first bite.

Yield: 8 tacos 
1 T. plus 
1 tsp. cooking oil 
1/2 c. minced onion 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 lb. ground beef (85-90% lean) 
1 tsp. chili powder, or to taste 
1 tsp. dried whole oregano 
1/2 tsp. ground cumin 
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste 
3/4 c. water 
8 Taco Shells (see recipe below) 
1 c. refried beans (homemade or canned), heated 
1 c. grated, mild cheddar cheese 
1 c. guacamole 
1 1/2 c. shredded lettuce 
1 c. finely chopped tomato salsa 
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, add onion, and cook until it begins to soften. Add garlic, and cook another minute. Add ground beef, increase heat slightly, and cook until done, stirring to break meat into small pieces. Stir in chili powder, oregano, cumin, and salt; cook 1 minute more. Add 3/4 c. water, bring to a simmer, and cover. Continue simmering over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until most of the liquid evaporates, stirring about every 3 minutes; lower heat, and keep warm until serving time. Prepare Taco Shells. To assemble tacos, spread about 2 T. beans on one side of each shell, then sprinkle about 2 T. cheese onto the beans. Spread about 2 T. guacamole onto the other side of each shell, then spoon some of the filling into the shell between the two sides. Top with lettuce, tomato, and any remaining cheese; serve with salsa. 
Taco Shells 
cooking oil 
8 corn tortillas 
Heat about 3/4-inch of cooking oil in a medium-size skillet until a drop of water instantly vaporizes when dropped into the oil. Using kitchen tongs, place one tortilla in the hot oil, and allow it to cook for a few seconds. Flip tortilla over, and cook another few seconds. Grab one edge of tortilla with the tongs, and fold it into a wide V-shape (one-half of it will be out
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