Anyone who listens to my podcast, 2 Keto Dudes, which I do every week with Richard Morris, knows that my weakness is a certain tex-mex fast food chain which shall remain nameless. I'll give you a hint. It might rhyme with Choco-smell. okay? Yeah. I've blown my ketogenic diet on this food at 3AM and it took me a week to recover. Well, turns out you can make tacos at home that BLOW AWAY the fast food stuff. The key is to make taco shells out of cheese. That's right! Cheese. In this recipe blog post I'll also show you how to make taco meat without any of those crappy flavor packets. I use real spices and fats. The upside is a better shell than a taco shell because a) it doesn't crumble in your hands, and b) it actually has flavor. The caveat for this recipe is that I'm not going to give you exact measurements. This is definitely a "season to taste" kind of thing. Everyone is different. The only thing to remember is to buy more shredded cheese at the store than you are used to when you make tacos, because it takes a good 3/4 cup (a handful) to make one shell. The upside is you will only want to eat 2 because they are so filling.
You will need:
- 1 to 2 pounds of ground beef.
- ~2 pounds of shredded cheese (pre-seasoned blended taco cheese, monterey jack, whatever).
- parchment paper and a cookie sheet
- seasoning: chili powder, cumin, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cinnamon (optional), smoked paprika (optional), red pepper flakes or cayenne (optional).
- 1/2 cup of tomato sauce (Rao's or even Hunts).
- 2 tbsp butter
- garnish: chopped lettuce, chopped tomato, sour cream, hot sauce.
- Some kind of contraption for curling the cheese shells. I use a couple shallow bins and plastic straws from plastic water bottles.
The first thing to do is move your oven rack to the middle, and preheat the oven to 300 F.
Place a fitted sheet of parchment onto a cookie sheet. You can use other non-stick methods of baking, but this works well for me.
Grab a good handful (3/4 of a cup to a cup) of grated cheese and make a pile on the parchment, leaving room for 2 more piles. Spread the cheese out so it's evenly distributed. Make sure to clean up any stray shreds.
Now let's make the taco meat while the oven is warming up.
Heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
Add ground beef and chop into small chunks with a spatula while it's cooking. Brown.
Add spices. This is where you can spice to taste. You definitely want up to perhaps a teaspoon of salt. Start with 1/2 tsp and work your way up. Taste it (after it has browned a bit) to test for saltiness before moving on.
Add the tomato sauce. Be careful of carbs, but a little makes it much tastier!
Add any combination of chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, etc.. add some heat if you like. I like just a dash of cinnamon and a tablespoon of smoked paprika, but that's me.
Once the oven is up to temp, place the cheese on the middle rack and set a timer for 10 minutes.
Now, set up your contraption for bending the shells. This is the setup I use:
You can use spatulas, dowels, whatever.
You know the shells are done when they are brown around the edges and still have a little cheese color in the middle. They will be crispy and flexible. In my case, I used a blend that was pretty oily, and I had to tip the tray so the oil would run off to the edge. It pooled in the middle of each shell. YMMV.
Using a spatula (and perhaps rubber gloves, because these guys are hot!) place a shell onto a straw/dowel/whatever and bend it over with your fingers.
Let them cool for a few minutes and assemble your tacos!
Now, everyone is different, but here's how I eat mine:
First, I put a little sour cream in the bottom:
Next, I add the taco meat
Then the cheese
That's it. Add guacamole if you like! Heck, add bacon! What do I care! It's yummy!!!