08 October 2009

Homemade Double Decker Tacos

As I get older, I find myself steering away from fast food. What used to be a fun treat as a kid has now turned into something, well, yucky. Like Taco Bell--when the Double Decker Taco came out, I thought it was the best creation ever. Still do, really. It's a hard taco wrapped in a flour tortilla spread with some refried beans to glue it all together. The flour tortilla holds in all that taco goodness even if the hard taco shell breaks. And doesn't it always break?

Unfortunately, when I get one of them from the drive-thru these days, I end up feeling...less than satisfied. Can I really trust the high school kid making the tacos to wash his hands? What's in that meat, anyway?

But I stumbled upon the "soft taco size" flour tortillas in the store a while back and realized I could make my own Double Decker Taco at home, where I know hands have been washed and I'm in charge of every food item that makes up the taco. (I'm in charge of the calorie content, too...big bonus!) You still get the wonderful chewy crunchiness that is a Double Decker, but you can put whatever you want inside. And if you happen to grab a few too many hot sauce packets from TB, so you have some to put on your taco, well, it tastes pretty similar, too.

Homemade Double Decker Tacos
Soft taco size flour tortillas
Refried beans
Hard (corn) taco shells
Ground beef (or turkey, to save some calories)--1lb meat will make 10-12 tacos
Cumin (1tsp per pound of meat)*+
Chili Powder (1/2 tsp per pound of meat)
Salt (1/4 tsp per pound of meat)
1/4 C water
Cheddar cheese
Lettuce (preferably crunchy, like romaine hearts or, I suppose, iceberg)
Tomatoes, sour cream, hot sauce**, salsa, etc. (optional)
  • Shred cheese and lettuce, or buy already shredded. (I will happily shred my own lettuce but detest shredding cheese, so I buy that pre-shredded.)
  • Prepare any other toppings as needed--chop tomatoes, etc.
  • Cook ground beef in a skillet until no longer pink, breaking up chunks with your spoon/spatula/etc. Try to get the chunks as small as possible.
  • When meat is thoroughly cooked, add in the cumin, chili powder, salt and water. Mix thoroughly and continue cooking until water has evaporated.
  • Spread refried beans thinly onto a flour tortilla.
  • Place taco shell on the center of the tortilla; wrap sides of the tortilla around the taco shell.
  • Fill taco shell as desired.
* You can surely substitute a package of Taco Seasoning for the cumin, chili powder, salt, and water. Follow the package directions.
**I use this recipe when I want Taco Bell sauce. You can make it mild/hot/hotter by adjusting the cayenne pepper. I freeze whatever I don't use in ice cube trays for future taco meals.
+There are many recipes online that imitate Taco Bell meat. I haven't tried any, but it would definitely give you the whole experience if you want that chunk-free meat.

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