Taco Monday

When it comes to getting dinner on the table on the days I work, the task usually falls to Van. At some point during the work day we inevitably have the dinner phone conversation or text. It usually goes something like this, Van: “What do you want to do for dinner?” Me: “I don’t know. What do you want to do?” Van: “I don’t know.”  We eventually take an inventory of what we have in the kitchen, and Van somehow cobbles together a pretty tasty meal. We definitely have our standbys, cheese quesadillas, cheese tortellini (yes we have cheese lovers in our family), shrimp stir fry, or the kids’ favorite, Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken.

Tonight however, Van was gone for a work dinner, which meant no dinner talk or text. I’m not usually very good about planning ahead, but last night I whipped up a batch of turkey taco meat for a pseudo-healthy meal. I’m a huge fan of America’s Test Kitchen, and they have a darned good recipe for their self-described light and healthy Ground Turkey Tacos. This taco meat is devoid of the pools of grease found in the tacos I remember from my school lunch days. I’ll post the recipe at the bottom of this blog, but suffice it to say it was way better than the powdered seasoned mix concoction we usually use. I not only thought it was darned good, but two out of three Meak girls inhaled their tacos. In fact, the oldest Meak girl (not me) put away five of them bad boys. That’s two more than I ate, but I did drink the beer in the photo.

It does this Mom’s heart good to see her kids enjoying this meal as much as the heat ‘n’ serve Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken. And after a long day at work, I’ll take their smiles over whining and crying over a meal they don’t like any day. Yes, there wasn’t much green in this meal, but I did get them to top their tacos with a few pieces of avocado.

Ground Turkey Tacos

Courtesy: America’s Test Kitchen

1 onion, minced

1 tsp. canola oil


2 tbsp. chili powder (I used 1 1/2 tablespoons since I didn’t want to hear whining about it being too spicy)

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 lb. 93% lean ground turkey

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 tsp. cider vinegar

1 tsp. light brown sugar


8 store-bought taco shells (I used 11 1/2)

1. Combine the onion, oil, and 1/8 tsp. salt in non-stick skillet. Cover and cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, garlic, and oregano, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Add the turkey to the skillet and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until almost cooked through but still slightly pink, about 2 minutes. (I cooked mine about 5 minutes)

3. Stir in the tomato sauce, broth, vinegar, and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Fill taco shells, and watch your kids go to town.

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