First, congrats to Judi and a big thank you to all who participated in the Valentine’s Day Fondue Set contest. Your celebrity crushes had me laughing out loud. The best was Lisa, who answered Johnny Depp, dipped in fondue, while watching him in Chocolat. Or Susan, who wrote that she’s forewarned her husband that if Colin Firth ever comes knocking at her door, it’s “sayonara to him and hellooooooo Mr. Darcy!”
Anyway, moving on…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. Well, 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!” which of course makes it so much more fun for me to make it. We’ve kicked off the tradition with these family-friendly Chicken Tacos. They’re a healthier spin on traditional beef tacos and they’re just as good, if not better. My kids have actually designated it their new favorite dish.
To make them, begin by chopping your vegetables. Normally, I don’t believe in hiding vegetables in kids’ food 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.
Saute 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.
Makes 12 tacos
¼ cup olive oil
¾ cup diced red bell pepper (you’ll need one small pepper)
¾ cup diced green bell pepper (you’ll need one small pepper)
2 medium yellow onions, diced (about 2 cups)
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 cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more if you like it spicy)
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (you’ll need one small bunch)
12 hard taco shells (I like Old El Paso Stand ‘n Stuff)
Suggestions for Garnish
Shredded lettuce or purple cabbage
Shredded Mexican blend cheese
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Heat olive oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Add onions, red peppers and green peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and just starting to brown, about 10-12 minutes. Add garlic and cook a few minutes more. Add ground chicken, paprika, ancho chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and salt. Turn heat to high; use wooden spoon to stir and break chicken into small clumps until chicken is partially cooked, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, then turn 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.
3. Meanwhile, remove taco shells from package and lay sideways on baking sheet. Pull stack apart, overlapping edges slighly. Bake 6 to 7 minutes, or until crisp. Spoon chicken into shells and serve with suggested toppings.