Take this party-friendly dip and make it a family-sized meal with these tricks.

Karla Walsh
January 13, 2021
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rachael ray
Getty / John Lamparski / Stringer
| Credit: Getty / John Lamparski / Stringer

Can we just outsource all of our festive menus from now on to Rachael Ray?

From her cozy Thanksgiving-inspired lasagna to her showy yet simple noodle-stuffed peppers to her brilliant pizza charcuterie, the Food Network star/author/daytime TV show host has a knack for putting uber-creative twists on some of our favorite flavors, holiday foods and recipe concepts.

The latest aired on Tuesday's episode of the Rachael Ray Show, and comes just in time for NFL playoff season and to practice before the big game on February 7. It takes the beloved Mexican-inspired seven-layer dip—you know, that stacked-high concoction of beans, avocado, cheese, tomatoes and more that often disappears first on the party spread next to the tortilla chips—and makes it a meal. Introducing: Seven-Layer Hard Shell Tacos With Chicken and Chorizo.

Yes, we know it sounds complicated with the multi-layer process, but Ray's demo made it look totally doable.

For the beans, sauté chopped garlic, onions, jalapeño peppers alongside a pinch of cumin and salt. "Add a little water. That's a cheat to make it cook quicker," Ray says, referring to the half cup of H2O she poured into the pan. (She's used this trick before to speed up caramelized onions as well. Brilliant!) Stir a handful of chopped cilantro, a can of pinto beans, hot sauce and lime juice right into that pan. Once tender, puree in a food processor for DIY refried beans.

While that simmers away, in a separate skillet, brown up a pound of ground chicken breast and a half-pound of chorizo. Season this with cumin, coriander, chili powder, oregano salt and black pepper. Drain off the grease, if desired.

Then it's time to prep some more layers: Mash up a couple ripe avocados with fresh lime juice and chipotle paste, if desired, then stir together the sour cream topping with sour cream, salt and sliced green onions. Next up: A batch of homemade salsa using a pantry staple. (Score!)

Ray says to drain the liquid from the canned cherry tomatoes and let them sit in a strainer for a few minutes. "They're super sugary sweet and more red than a fresh tomato," she says. Something like these Cento Cherry Tomatoes ($21.32 for six, 28-ounce cans on Amazon) would work great—then chop those drained tomatoes and mix them with one fresh diced tomato, chopped onion, garlic, jalapeño, salt and lime juice. Allow this all to stand for 10 minutes.

That gives you just enough time to flip on the oven to oven at 325˚ F and melt some cheese in the hard taco shells (like these Old El Paso Gluten Free Stand 'n Stuff Taco Shells; $2.69 for 15 at Target), which Ray says are "her fave," preferring the hard shells over something like a soft corn or flour tortilla.

On top of each shell filled with melty cheese (layer one), add a scoop of the bean mixture (layer two), a pile of the chicken-chorizo blend (layer three), then the lettuce (layer four), the salsa (layer five), avocado mash (layer six) and "a nice dollop of sour cream and chives. Seven-Layer Tacos!" she exclaims with delight, anticipating her meal that's now ready to join her husband John's Pomegranate Margaritas on the dinner table.

To join us in trying these for dinner fiesta later this week, get the Seven-Layer Hard Shell Tacos With Chicken and Chorizo recipe here.