Monday, July 2, 2007

Turkey Taco Time!

Nearly all of the time, you'll see me saying something like, "Hey, if you don't like this, switch it out or change it." But just this once, I think you should make my tacos exactly the way that I make them and see what you think. Chris and I could (and often do) eat these once a week, and they earn rave reviews from guests that may have been leery at first. I'm gonna be really specific here. Note the order, the layering, and the ingredients. You want to change anything, that's great! Just don't tell people you're making MY tacos. 'Cause you're not. I know, I'm being very fascist about this, but these are THE TACOS, and they are perfect and holy. (My mood will pass and I'll go back to being light-hearted and free-wheeling about procedure after this, I promise you.)

The Meat:

In the photo above, the tacos are shown with easy Crockpot taco chicken, which is also great instead of the turkey meat. The recipe for that is:

4 chicken breasts, either frozen or fresh
a liberal dusting of mexican seasoning (scroll down that page)
1/2 jar of jelly, any kind (low sugar is okay, but not sugar-free)
1/2 jar salsa
salt and pepper

Cook for 4 hours if fresh, 6 hours if frozen, or just until the chicken shreds easily with two forks.

If you're doing the ground turkey meat version, I use about a pound of ground turkey meat, added to about two cloves of diced garlic, and half a hefty diced onion that has been "sweated." When the meat has been browned with the onions and garlic, drain off the water using a lid. Return it to the heat, then add a liberal dusting of the mexican seasoning (scroll down that page), salt and pepper. When that is all mixed together, add about a half jar of your favorite salsa to the meat and mix that in. This is the key to getting turkey meat that is never dry and is nice a savory. At the last moment, add diced fresh cilantro and mix that in.

The Guacamole:

I know I've shared my guac recipe with you before, but here it is again with the reminder that it is PERFECT (I know... what is going on with me today, huh?):

2-3 ripe avocados
1/2 diced jalepeƱo
1/2 diced red onion
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1 small palmful minced fresh cilantro
juice of 1-2 limes
salt and pepper

I firmly believe that the salsa, as you can see, should be added to the meat, not to the avocados. What you want to taste are the avocados, and it shouldn't be mush. I like to mix it all once, just at the end, so it is nice and chunky. You can eat on this liberally with some chips and cerveza until the tacos are ready.

The Order:

Assemble the tacos in the following order. Yes, I am completely serious. DO IT THIS WAY. I'm going to know if you don't.

When the shells have been warmed for a couple minutes in the oven (and yes, if you don't do this you are a barbarian), use the back of the spoon to "frost" one inner side of the taco shell with light or fat-free sour cream. Doing this creates a "Spackle" that holds all the other ingredients in, and also distributes your sour cream throughout without taking up precious vertical space that can be used for the "stuffage" of other ingredients. (Yes, that is a technical term, and don't question me again, private!)

Next, place your taco meat in the bottom, then the shredded cheddar or mexican cheese blend, and then the lettuce (and thou shalt not use iceberg, but mixed spring greens, red lettuce, or romaine are good). Then take your guacamole and spread it over the top. Again, we have a kind of Spackle or caulking effect here, and putting it over the top seals in all your other loose ingredients.

Lastly, and most importantly, put a easy drizzle of Western Light dressing over the top. Don't use a different dressing, and oh lord Francine, don't skip it, and I can't even look at you right now because I can-NOT believe you even asked me that. Sheesh!

There she is! Packed with nutrients, lower in fat than your plain old Velveeta and beef taco, and who really cares? Because the main thing is that it tastes one thousand times better.

The leftovers also make a great taco salad assemblage, just store the meat and the other ingredients separately, and reheat the meat. I also like to add a can of baby corn, and a can of black beans (rinsed and drained). Leftover guac (not that we usually have any) will actually keep in the fridge for a day or two without browning, because there is plenty of lime juice in it.

Enjoy. The perfect taco, with the chicken or the turkey. I know I was hard on you, but anything this great usually don't come easy, and now you can make these in minutes. You are welcome.


  1. Okay, I admit defeat. What's Western Light dressing? The tacos look scrumptious but I cannot make them if I do not have a crucial ingredient! :)

  2. Oh, bless you for paying such close attention. :D The Western dressing (the back of the bottle is in that last photo, or you can link to the company here): made by Wishbone. The "light" version tastes just like the regular (I think so, anyway) but the fat-free wasn't so great. That's why I like it. By us, it is available at all the major grocery stores (Chicago), but I've read that it isn't in some places.

    I'm only half-joking about the no substitutes thing... I like that one the best, but you can also use any Catalina, French, or other sweet red dressing you like. The sweetness it adds is the main thing. :)