Quick and Healthy Series – Chipotle Turkey Tacos with Avocado Creme

I’m starting a new series based on how I’ve been cooking lately.  Fast. Easy. Healthy.  Between finishing up a post-doc, doing side projects, studying for licensing exam, well . . .  you get the idea.  While I still love cooking, I don’t have nearly as much time to cook anymore, so I’ve needed to find some ways to fit cooking into my schedule.  Of course, my tastes haven’t changed just because my cooking habits have, so these dishes also be delicious and seem like I spent hours cooking when I really only spent 20-30 minutes.

This is a great kick off to the series because it is a wonderful combination of delicious and complex flavors.  You would think that this would take someone hours of simmering, but takes very little time and effort.  The creme can be made ahead of time as well, cutting down your prep time even more!

I would like to preface this recipe with a note.  These are not real tacos.  Real tacos are a magical thing everyone should experience.  My favorites were from a food cart outside my old work place in the city.  If you have never had tacos from a food cart, don’t be afraid, they could change your life.

1 lb of ground turkey

3 chipotle peppers, in sauce, chopped

1 small (15 oz) can of chopped tomatoes

All Recipe taco seasoning mix

corn tortillas

Avocado creme (taken from Two Peas & Their Pod)

1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt (I use Chobani)
2 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 small Serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Make Avocado creme by adding cilantro, Serrano pepper, and garlic to food processor.  Pulse a few times until combined and pepper is thoroughly chopped.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until smooth. Refrigerate.

To make tacos

Season raw turkey with All Recipe taco seasoning mix.  No need to let sit.  Add seasoned turkey to a pan heated over medium heat.  Once meat begins to brown, add chipotle peppers and canned tomatoes.  Let simmer until cooked through.  You can add a little slurry of cornstarch and water if you want to thicken the mixture up a bit.

Serve over warm tortillas and top with avocado creme!

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Pulled Pork Tacos

For me, tacos are a standby.  Anytime I don’t want to spend a ton of time cooking, but I want a filling meal with lots of flavor, I make tacos.   This recipe in particular is a standby for me because it’s quick, easy and delicious.  I have been making these for years, but only recently it occurred to me that I should post them.

Thats right, they look delicious too!  This is another “one pot meal” I make.  In fact, I take it step further and make it even easier by cooking the pork in a slow cooker.  Delicious.  I’m also a little partial to this recipe because I only cook it with Iowa pork.  Every time I go home, my parents give me pounds and pounds of Iowa pork, because they know what I know – Iowa pork is best.  I am an Iowa girl and I get a little misty-eyed thinking of the hometown butchers, rich with fresh, quality meat . . .  ahhh memories.

Needless to say, when I have leftovers from the stock of pig I bring from home, I like to make tacos.  You can easily change the amount of seasoning and reheat some leftover pork roast to make this as well.  Pork roast or pork butt is the typical cut used for pulled pork.  I would advise using one of these cuts.  They fall apart when you cook them which makes it amenable to making tacos.  Any other cut just won’t be the same.  This recipe also makes a LOT of servings, so unless you have a family of 8, be prepared for leftovers.

Seasoning (from All Recipes)

2 Tbl chili powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp paprika

1 Tbl ground cumin

2 tsp salt

2 tsp black pepper

Tacos

2.5 lbs of pork roast or pork butt

2 10-ounce cans of diced tomato and green chile

corn tortillas

Pat pork with taco seasoning.  Turn slow cooker on to your desired heat and time.  I usually use a probe to cook it to the right temperature.  When its done, or about 30 minutes from being done, drain the fat and break up the pork.  Add it back to the slow cooker, or a large pan.  Add the tomato and chile.  Warm through.  It’s that easy!  I like to heat up the tortillas and top  with cheese, lettuce, and salsa.  Enjoy!