Baked Beef and Cheese Tacos will be my favorite meal prep. They were a huge hit tonight, and they can feed a small army. What I like about these baked beef and cheese tacos is that it uses real beef and real cheese--no fat-free or reduced-fat cheese.
Full fatty cheese goodness really makes these baked beef and cheese tacos stand out. Oh, and they’re 3 WW SP (2 for 5 WW SP). You may be wondering “what is this sorcery that keeps these baked beef and cheese tacos so low in points?”
Refried beans not only bulk this dish up, but they add even more protein and fiber to this already healthy and delicious meal.
While I love a taco bar with mojo chicken or smoky chipotle chicken, every now and then I want a beef taco and cheese (I rarely add cheese to my chicken tacos). My wife eats chicken tacos but always prefers beef tacos over chicken.
These baked beef and cheese tacos are another recipe she’s been asking me to makeover for a while, and regrettably, I’ve put it off because I always thought beef was too high in points to be worth it.
Luckily, I’ve discovered the majesty of 96% lean beef, and it’s always on my shopping list now.
The tacos to feed an army
This recipe will make 26 tacos which is a lot, but the tacos freeze beautifully and can easily be reheated in the oven or air fryer. I can easily eat three tacos without batting an eye. Hell, I can eat six tacos without batting an eye. I love tacos.
This recipe was made for meal prep, but this can also easily be served at a party or if you are cooking for a crowd. Over the next few weeks, I’m focusing on both meal prep and cooking for a crowd because we will be back to school in a blink of an eye (Target already stocked their back to school stuff) and we are also going to OCNJ for the week with my wife’s family and I’m sure I’ll be doing a lot of the cooking.
This will definitely be on the menu that week.
Why real cheese? Can I sub for lower point cheese?
I will always choose the real stuff over reduced-fat cheese. I will also always buy a block and shred the cheese myself instead of buying pre-shredded; the cheese melts better because they don’t have the added anti-clumping ingredients.
The flavor is always better with the real stuff too, and I tend to use less because of that. You do you, but you should know that using the same amount of reduced-fat cheese will make an individual baked beef and cheese taco 2 WW SP and 2 will still be 5 WW SP.
Treat yourself and your family to real cheese when you make these baked beef and cheese tacos. You deserve real cheese. Side note, fat-free cheddar is an abomination and has no taste.
Could I just use taco seasoning?
No. I will find out and be really, really upset and write about you in my journal while weeping and watching The Notebook. Of course, you can. Knock your socks off. I like making my own spice blend instead of taco seasoning because I like knowing all of the ingredients.
Take my recipe and run with it, and make it work for your family, your kitchen, your budget. If you’ve cooked any of my recipes before, you probably have them: Smoked Paprika, Cumin, Oregano, and Kosher Salt. You can add about ½ tsp of chipotle powder, but I wanted to keep this mild enough for the kids.
Feel free to swap the poblano (my favorite, smoky yet mild pepper) for another one. You can also swap the tomato sauce with salsa too. People always ask if they can omit ingredients or swap things, so I figured I’d put it out there that of course, you can.
The beef mixture for the Baked Beef and Cheese Tacos can be made the day before which makes this an excellent make-ahead meal. Make the meat filling on Sunday, and you’re all set for a quick and easy Taco Tuesday.
You can also freeze these after baking, and cook them in the air fryer or oven. I’ll update this later with exact times, but I’m typing while eating tacos.
Assembling the tacos
The beef and cheese taco filling will make a little more than 3 ¼ cups of filling which will make 26 tacos. Cook the meat first and let cool before assembly. Again, you can even do this the night before and put it in the refrigerator.
Take your corn tortillas and stack about 12 on a plate, cover with a wet paper towel, and microwave for 45-60 seconds--this will make the tortillas pliable. Add two tbsp of the filling to each shell, fold, and place on a sprayed baking sheet until you are ready for the cheese. Work in shifts until all tortillas are filled.
Shred your block of cheese and weigh out 6 ½ ounces of cheese. Each ounce of shredded cheese came to about ¼ cup, but always weigh for accuracy. You will add ¼ oz of cheese to each taco which should be about 1 tbsp. Sprinkle the cheese into each taco, fold, spray with cooking spray and you’re on your way to a Taco Tuesday you won’t soon forget.
Complete the Taco Bar with some flair
Nobody prefers to top their tacos with bagged salad from a bowl, Susan. That's why there's always so much left. I appreciate the added crunch and crispness of lettuce, but topping the tacos with my Simple Slaw will really make these shine.
The slaw is so fresh and bright, it really elevates these smoky, cheesy tacos. Speaking of elevating, do you know what is better than sour cream? My chipotle mayo.
You're definitely going to want to drizzle some of that on these. If you've already made my slaw and my chipotle mayo, you're pretty much halfway to my Chicken and Biscuits so you might just want to put those on your meal plan too... just saying.
Baked Beef and Cheese Tacos
- 1 lb lean ground beef 96% lean
- 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tbsp oregano
- 1/2 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 onion diced
- 1 poblano pepper diced and seeded
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 26 Mission Extra Thin Corn Tortillas
- 6.5 oz Colby Jack shredded
- 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder (optional)
- 1 can fat free refried beans (16 oz) I love the Trader Joes brand
- Sautee onions and poblano pepper in a cast iron skillet (optional but preferred). Sprinkle a pinch of salt and cook until onions are translucent. While onions and peppers cook, add cumin, oregano, paprika, and salt to the ground beef and mix well.
- Add garlic to the pan and cook for about 30 seconds. Add beef and cook until fully cooked and no longer pink. Reduce heat.
- Add tomato sauce and refried beans. Stir until fully incorporated. Turn heat off and set aside.
- Microwave a stack of corn tortillas with a wet paper towel for 45-60 seconds to make the tortillas pliable.
- Spoon 2 tbsp of filling into each tortilla and fold. Work in shifts until all tortillas are filled.
- Add 1/4 oz of shredded cheese to each taco. Place tacos on a baking sheet that is sprayed with your preferred cooking spray. Spray the tacos with cooking spray and bake at 400 for about 12-16 minutes.
- Tacos will be golden brown, crunchy, and delicious. Top with your favorite pico, simple slaw, and chipotle mayo.
Dwardcooks Simple Slaw
- 1 lb red cabbage thinly sliced or shredded
- 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
- 1 lime zested and juiced
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- optional: shredded carrots, thinly sliced jalapeno
- Combine all ingredients and toss. Allow slaw to sit for about 10 minutes before serving, and drain any liquid that comes out of the salted cabbage before serving.
Dwardcooks Chipotle Mayo
- 1/2 c lite mayo
- 1/4 c fat free Greek yogurt
- 3 tsp adobo sauce the sauce in the can of chipotles
- 1 tsp chipotle peppers minced
- Combine all the ingredients. Reserve the chipotle peppers until last, and taste after adding half to have better control of your spice preference.