Last month, I told you about The Family Dinner Cookbook and how it inspired me to create new traditions to make dinnertime more special and fun for my family. One idea from the book that I’ve already put into action is Taco Tuesdays. So far, it’s been a hit: the kids wake up on Tuesdays all “Yay, it’s taco night!” We’ve tried all sorts of tacos (definitely try these fish tacos) but these chicken tacos are the kids’ favorite. They’re a healthier spin on traditional beef tacos — and they’re just as good, if not better.
To make them, begin by chopping your vegetables. You can do this in a food processor if you like; just be sure not to purée them.
Normally, I don’t believe in hiding vegetables but in this case I dice them very small so my kids don’t notice them (or at least they can’t pick them out). I figure what they don’t know won’t hurt them, and one night where I’m not nagging them to eat their vegetables is good for all of us.
Sauté the vegetables in olive oil for 10-15 minutes until soft, then add garlic and cook a few minutes more.
Add ground chicken and spices use a wooden spoon to break chicken into small pieces.
Add tomato sauce.
Turn heat down to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked. Finish it off with a handful of chopped fresh cilantro.
Heat the shells in the oven and then spoon the chicken inside. Serve with shredded lettuce and cheese.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, finely diced
- 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 pounds ground chicken (not extra-lean all breast meat)
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1-3/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce (1 cup)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (see note)
- 12 hard taco shells
- 2 cups shredded lettuce or purple cabbage, optional for topping
- 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, optional for topping
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Heat the olive oil in large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions, red peppers and green peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and just starting to brown, 10-12 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a few minutes more.
- Add the ground chicken, paprika, ancho chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and salt. Turn the heat to high; use a wooden spoon to stir and break the chicken into small clumps until the chicken is partially cooked, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce, then turn the heat down to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking chicken into smaller clumps, for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Meanwhile, remove the taco shells from the package and lay sideways on baking sheet. Pull the stack apart, overlapping the edges slightly. Bake for 6-7 minutes, or until crisp. Spoon the chicken into the shells and serve with toppings.
- Note: To save time, you can chop the bell peppers and onions in a food processor; just be sure not to purée them. You can also use 1 teaspoon ground coriander in place of the fresh cilantro; add it along with the other spices.
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