Excerpted from Katie Workman’s The Mom 100 Cookbook.
Taco night is a big deal in our house. Everyone in the family loves them, and there is something inherently festive and fun about a hands-on, interactive meal.
If you’re looking for a dinner to counterbalance a cranky day, this is the one. I usually go with ground turkey or chicken, instead of beef. You choose, and if you choose beef, drain it well. And if you choose turkey, don’t go for the extra lean, get the 93 percent lean/7 percent fat or the 85 percent lean/15 percent fat ratio—they’re juicier.
I have certainly been known to reach for a package of store-bought taco seasoning at times, but with an extra few minutes you can make a homemade seasoning blend that tastes amazing, and the sodium level won’t be through the roof. Then throw together a big salad, or some steamed broccoli or cauliflower, and you’ve got dinner.
For the Taco Filling
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes (optional)
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 pounds ground turkey or beef
- Shredded lettuce
- Salsa or taco sauce
- Shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a Mexican cheese blend
- Low-fat or regular sour cream Diced tomatoes
- Diced avocados
- About 12 taco shells
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place the chili powder, cumin, onion powder, salt, cornstarch, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne or red pepper flakes, if using, in a small bowl or plastic container. Blend well.
- Spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and place it over medium- high heat. Add the turkey or beef and cook, stirring and making sure to really break it up into small crumbles, until it is browned throughout, about 5 minutes. Drain off any liquid. Add the spice mixture and cook stirring, until you can smell all of the spices, about 1 minute. Add ¾ cup of water and stir until the water is mostly evaporated, the meat is evenly coated with the spices, and there is still a little bit of liquid in the pan, about 4 minutes.
- To serve, place your choice of toppings in small individual bowls. Heat the taco shells on a baking sheet (or right on the oven rack, whichever you prefer) in the oven until warm and toasty, about 5 minutes. Transfer the meat to a serving bowl. Place the taco shells on a plate and cover them with a napkin or clean dish towel to keep them warm, setting them out with the bowls of toppings. Let everyone serve him or herself.
About the Book:
Introducing the lifesaving cookbook for every mother with kids at home—the book that solves the 20 most common cooking dilemmas. What’s your predicament: breakfast on a harried school morning? The Mom 100’s got it—Personalized Pizzas are not only fast but are nutritious, and hey, it doesn’t get any better than pizza for breakfast. Kids making noise about the same old lunch? The Mom 100’s got it—three different Turkey Wraps, plus a Wrap Blueprint delivers enough variety to last for years.
Katie Workman, founding editor in chief of Cookstr.com and mother of two school-age kids, offers recipes, tips, techniques, attitude, and wisdom for staying happy in the kitchen while proudly keeping it homemade—because homemade not only tastes best, but is also better (and most economical) for you. The Mom 100 is 20 dilemmas every mom faces, with 5 solutions for each: including terrific recipes for the vegetable-averse, the salad-rejector, for the fish-o-phobe, or the overnight vegetarian convert. “Fork-in-the-Road” variations make it easy to adjust a recipe to appeal to different eaters (i.e., the kids who want bland and the adults who don’t). “What the Kids Can Do” sidebars suggest ways for kids to help make each dish.