BBQ Guacamole Tacos

Becky’s BBQ Guacamole Taco

(Becky, the Butter Lovin’ Mama)

“Taste memory” occurs when you take a bite of a food that transports you instantly to a time and place from your past. The experience can be positive or negative, depending on the memory around it.

My husband cannot abide green beans. He picked beans in the summer like every good boy growing up in Oregon, then he spent his spent late teens working at a green bean cannery. You know those clinics where they make you smoke cigarettes until you are sick as a dog so you’ll never smoke again? Well, Greg went through the same sort of green bean aversion training. To this day he will not eat, or even smoke, a green bean without protest.

On the other hand he adores blueberries. Never tires of them. As it turns out, his mother-in-law used to bake a special blueberry pie just for him. Blueberries are forever wrapped with the message that “somebody thinks I’m special.”

One of my favorite food memories as girl was a now 50-year-old restaurant in Arlington,Texas called The Candlelite Inn.  (I understand it recently closed but new ownership plans to resurrect it.) It was a curious place, an Italian-themed eatery with red-checked tablecloths that was somehow known for its amazing Mexican food. Thinking back on it now, that seems odd, but at the time it just was what it was. We went to the Italian joint to eat great Mexican fare.

Photos of Candlelite Inn, Arlington
This photo of Candlelite Inn is courtesy of TripAdvisor

On special occasions we kids got to choose a restaurant to eat at, and if given my choice of where to go out for my birthday, I picked The Candlelite Inn. I always ordered their famous guacamole tacos.  (A friend reminded me today that they served their tortilla chips with a big ball of butter! Paula Deen would have been proud.)

For some reason I thought about those tacos the other day, and could somehow remember the exact taste of the guacamole even though it has been at least twenty-five years since I’ve tasted them. Suddenly I knew exactly what was in that guac that made it taste so amazing. The secret ingredient was Italian dressing! (Apparently the chefs here were creating Italian-Tex Mex “fusion” before ethnic fusion cooking was cool.) The tacos were filled at least half way with guacamole and for someone who loves avocados as much as I do, this was bliss.

I made my own version of Candlelight Inn tacos this week and at first crunchy creamy bite, I was transported back to a darkened red and white checked table in Arlington,Texas, my family around me laughing and celebrating by the glow of …yes.. candlelight. Since I’m trying to cut back on meat and expand the veggies and fiber, the filling is made from half ground beef, half beans with my favorite “Becky BBQ Style” seasoning.

What are some of your favorite  Taste Memories?

Becky’s BBQ Guacamole Tacos


12 corn taco shells, warmed according to package directions

1 lb ground beef

1 can chili beans, drained (I like an organic three bean combination as pictured below)

1/2 c. picante sauce or salsa

1/2 c. bbq sauce

1 t. cumin

1 t. smoked paprika

1/2 t. grill seasoning (or salt and pepper to taste)

Guacamole from recipe below

½ cup grated cheese

1 tomato, slice in twelve pieces


In a skillet, brown the beef and add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer until flavors have mixed and the sauce has thickened.

Fill taco shells ½ way full with bean/meat mixture and ½ with guacamole from recipe below. Sprinkle with little grated cheese and top with slice of tomato.

Variation: For Vegan Version, omit beef and use extra can of drained beans or crumbled meat substitute instead. Skip cheese or use vegan cheese substitute.

Meat Lovers: You can add more ground beef and skip the beans!

“Candlelight Inn” Memories Guacamole

3 ripe avocados, mashed

1 clove garlic, minced

½ fresh lime juice (1 Tablespoon juice)

1 t. sugar

1/3  cup Italian dressing (I love Olive Garden’s new bottled dressing)

1/2 t salt (or to taste)

Peel and mash the avocados. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue mashing and mixing to desired consistency.

Storing Hint: Put leftover guac in a sandwich bag, push out as much air as you can. It won’t turn brown! Then the next time you use it, just snip a corner of the bag and squeeze out what you need.

Store any leftover guacamole in Ziploc sandwich bag


Snip corner of sandwich bag when ready to use leftover guacamole and simply squirt the amount you want to use.

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White Bean Guacamole Dip

White Bean Guacamole

Lower fat, higher protein, and less expensive guacamole that tastes just as good (if not better) than the original.

On Thursday, Jackson and I flew out to Denver to spend the weekend at my mom and Greg’s house. A typical trip to mom’s is never short on activity and this weekend was no exception. In our quick four day visit, we drove to the mountains for a barbeque at my brother and his wife’s new place, went to a nephew’s t-ball game, and hosted a girls night/baby shower for a sweet friend (due any day)! I love packing in as much as I can into a trip. It’s the packing and traveling part that I don’t love so much, especially with this little guy in my suitcase…literally.

Packing is exhausting!

As my mom mentioned in her post yesterday, Jackson is the busiest little baby you ever did see, into everything and always on the go. So sitting with him on my lap for the 3 1/2 hour plane ride home just about wore me out. Trying to keep him off the floor and out of my seatmates’ laps was like trying to hang onto a block of jello wiggling through my fingertips and bouncing out of my hands.

Getting there and back is no easy task, but we make it all worth while by fitting in as much as we can while we are there. That’s how I feel about cooking sometimes too. If I’m going to go to the trouble of messing up my kitchen, I want to get as much out of it as possible. I double a recipe and freeze half or splurge on the best ingredients for maximum taste, or sneak in some extra nutrition when I can.

Guacamole is a pretty healthy snack, it’s full of good fats and fiber, but it doesn’t have any protein and those good fats are still fats, so moderation is key. You have to be like super human to only eat a moderate amount of guacamole though, right? So I like to add a secret ingredient to my guac…white beans. You don’t even know they are in there, but per bite, they increase the protein and lower the fat and calories. Seriously, you have to try this. If you are going to make guacamole, you might as well get as much of a nutritional punch out of it as you can. Also, try replacing the chips with rice crackers to health it up even more.

White Bean Guacamole Dip

White Bean Guacamole Dip

Serves up to 8 small servings


1 15oz can of white beans (Great Northern, Cannellini, or Navy), drained with 1 T. liquid reserved
2 ripe avocados, halved and pitted
1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 T. lime juice
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 t. garlic powder
1 c. cilantro (if you like it)


In a food processor, blend beans and 1 T. reserved liquid until beans are pureed. Scoop the avocado flesh and chopped peppers into the food processor and pulse a few times. Add the lime juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cilantro. Pulse until the desired consistency (I like a little bit of texture and a few chunks of avocado in mine.)

Serve with crackers or chips. I really like these Brown Rice & Flax crackers from Wal-Mart even better than chips with this dip. They’re not only much lower in fat, but they hold up better to the thick dip and I just think they taste delicious.

Brown Rice & Flax Crackers

Just 2.5 grams of fat in 16 crackers, compared to 6.5 grams in tortilla chips.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
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