Love hot, crispy tacos loaded with cheese, sour cream and spicy sauce? Think you can only get them at Taco Bell? This recipe makeover delivers the taste without the fat, additives or mystery meat.
There isn’t anything quite like Californian Mexican food. I’m talking about those crispy fish tacos, hot chimichangas and smothered burritos. I’m talking about those margaritas the size of your head. I’m talking about everything that is a meld of cultures and pure comfort.
I’m going to tell you a story. It’s a story set in the sandy beaches of San Diego. It’s set during the summer after my freshman year of college. I had been dating this cute boy for a couple of months. He was smart, he made me laugh, he made me wonder. But most of all, he made me feel at peace, like slow waves rolling in. All that summer, after we would get off from our menial jobs, he would pick me up and we would drive. We would drive to Encinitas, Leucadia, Oceanside with the sun hot and bright overhead, washing out the colors of California to oranges and blues. There would be a quick stop. We’d pick up sandwiches or sushi, but mostly we’d pick up tacos with horchata for him and agua de jamaica for me. And then, we’d sit. Toes buried in the sand that was quickly cooling off after a long day, we’d sit and talk and watch the waves crashing onto shore while finishing off crunchy tacos that dripped oil. His blond hair went pale like wheat that summer and he tanned deep golden while I went from cinnamon to caramel. The sun would slip down over the horizon as we talked and laughed for hours, until it was finally so cold we had to run back to the car.
We spent a few more summers like that. And, I hope, we will have a lifetime of more summers like that.
Crunchy, Spicy Hole-in-the-Wall Style Tacos
- 1 lb. ground beef, 95% lean
- 1 can El Pato tomato sauce, 7 ¾ ounces (check here if you’re unfamiliar with it)
- 8 corn tortillas
- 2 cups refried beans (you can open a can but homemade is so much better)
- ½ cup shredded cheese
- Olive oil cooking spray
- Nonfat Greek yogurt
- Shredded spinach or lettuce
- 1 avocado, diced
- Salsa (click here for some ideas)
1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
2. Brown the meat in a skillet until most of the pink is gone.
3. Stir in the can of El Pato tomato sauce. Add the oregano and salt. Simmer over low heat until the sauce has been reduced by half.
4. To get the tortillas nice and pliable, you’re going to have to steam them in the microwave. Wrap the tortillas with a clean, damp towel. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes.
5. You’re going to have to work quickly for the next part so line up everything that’s going inside the tacos- the meat, the beans and the cheese.
6. Take a nice, hot tortilla. Quickly spray both sides with the olive oil spray. Fill with the following- ¼ cup ground beef, ¼ cup refried beans and 1 tablespoon cheese.
7. Fold into a taco and place on a baking sheet. If the tortillas don’t close, you can use a toothpick to hold them in place. If the tortillas start to crack or just aren’t pliable enough, return them to the microwave.
8. Bake for 10-12 minutes until just crispy.
9. Set out any of the optional ingredients as toppings.
Serving Size: 2 tacos
WW Points+: 10
Calories 400, Carbs 49g, Fat 11g, Protein 33g