Monday, January 18, 2010

KISS My Tacos

Life gets crazy.  Busy.  Hectic. And sometimes we just need a quick, delish dinner.  When I have days like that, I have a very simple go-to recipe that is (almost) healthy, very modifiable, and enjoyed by the young and old in the family: tacos.

I knew little of Mexican cooking--and quality Mexican food--growing up in New Jersey.  Sure, our bagels, delicatessen, Chinese, etc. rocked, but Mexican usually meant those stale, cardboard-like, "corn" molded tacos in a box. Not fabulousness.

Fortunately for me, I married an awesome man from Southern California. Shortly after moving out west, my darling hubby introduced me to Taco Night.  Crunchy but light corn tacos with savory meat and toppings of our choice--it was the perfect fast food.  In fact, we could easily whip this delicious treat together in less than 20 minutes.  We usually made tacos on Thursdays, and happily consumed these babies while watching Friends on TV.  Ahhh, the honeymoon years.   We had fun making them side by side, and had even more fun consuming them side by side.

Now, our lives are busy-crazy.  We work, we volunteer, we have two adorable rugrats ... And the one night they look forward to?  Taco night!

Taco Night Tacos -- Keeping It Simple


- 1 lb to 20 oz ground turkey (Note: Avoid the extra lean variety, which comes out too dry.)
-  1 dozen corn tortillas
- Peanut oil, for frying
- 4 oz extra sharp cheddar, grated
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon, black pepper
- Salsa 
- Assorted taco toppings of your choice (eg, shredded lettuce, chopped red onion, chopped tomato, black olives), optional


Cooking the Meat

- Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat.  Add ground turkey.

- Season meat with garlic salt and pepper. 

- Using a spatula, break the meat into small pieces.

- Let cook for about 10 minutes, or until meat is browned/cooked through.  Remove from heat.

Cooking the Tortillas

- While meat is cooking, add about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch of peanut oil to the smallest skillet you have (usually an omelet skillet--should be just big enough to hold corn tortillas). Turn heat to high and wait for a good shimmer to appear on the oil.

- Add one tortilla to the oil, and let it bubble a bit.

- After about two minutes, flip the tortilla. Let cook another minute.

- Using tongs, fold tortilla in half and let cook another minute.

- Flip folded tortilla. Use tongs to to hold tortilla shell open a bit. Fry for another minute, or until a kiss of golden brown appears.

- Remove tortilla, being careful with draining oil as you lift if out of the pan.

- Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Filling the Tacos

- Take a scoop of meat and place it in a tortilla.  Top with grated cheese and any other topping you like.  Add salsa.

Enjoy! =)

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