How to Make Your Own Healthy, Crispy Taco Shells (No, That's Not an Oxymoron)

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One of the best reasons to cook Mexican food at home is to avoid the canned and processed foods and giant vats of grease that seem to be mandatory in all too many local Mexican restaurants. 

If you like golden, crispy tortilla shells (whether flour tortillas for tostadas or corn tortillas for tacos) but you're not so keen on the hassle of deep-frying them yourself, you might think you're basically SOL.You're not.

With about $25 and a few minutes on your computer, you can come away with two simple, nifty inventions that allow you to bake perfect tostada and taco shells with absolutely no hassle, no mess, and not a drop of oil. One is basically a fluted metal bowl that you fill with a softened flour tortilla; the other is a metal rack that accepts four tortillas draped over its V-shaped humps. Both are nonstick and require no more cleaning than a quick swipe with a paper towel. 

The process is as easy as shooting fish off a log. Place the tortillas in a plastic bag and steam them in the micro for about one minute. (Be exceedingly careful when taking them out, as the first blast of steam can burn.) Then fit/drape the softened tortillas in/on the mold/rack and place in a preheated 350-degree oven for 15 to 18 minutes. (The exact time depends on your oven; set the timer for 15 and check it periodically until they're done.) 

The result: crispy, golden and virtually fat-free tostada-toco shells, just waiting to be filled with whatever your little jalapeño-inflamed heart desires. Are they as crispy and golden as the deep-fried article? Uh, no. But they're close enough, with a helluva lot less effort. 

To see for yourself, go here and here. You'll thank me later.

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