Monday, June 15, 2009

Burrito Night! Made Possible without Unhealthy, Expensive Taco Seasoning Packets or Fatty Takeout

Having taco meat on-hand in the fridge is so easy and versatile so you can whip up quick meals when you don't want or don't have time to cook. Use ground turkey or ground chicken for the taco meat for quick dishes such as burritos, tostadas, tacos, enchiladas, or taco salad. All you need is to add a piece of fresh fruit or a green salad and there is your quick meal.

To do this, cook up a 1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey or chicken with seasoning (see below), and store it in the refrigerator for the even more quick meals in the week. Many kids love burritos and tacos because of the cheese and you can eat them with your hands! You can also add sauteed zucchini, mushrooms, or bell peppers to the taco meat for an even healthier burrito option.

Many people just get a burrito from a taqueria, but those are loaded with fat and calories. If you make yours own at home, you can control the quality of the ingredients and use leaner meat, light sour cream, etc. Also, many taco seasoning packets have MSG in them and the natural brands are a waste of money! All you need is a few spices that you can use for other dishes and keep in the pantry.

Quick Taco Meat (serves 6-8)

  • 1 + 1/4 pound ground turkey or ground chicken
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 jalepeno, seeded *or try poblano, if you want milder flavor
  • 2 tbs chile powder
  • 1 tbs cumin
  • 1 tbs dried oregano
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tbs garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper *reduce to dash, if sensitive to spicy foods
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Cooking spray or olive oil
Burrito ingredients - take your pick:
  • Low fat natural refried beans or canned black beans
  • Light sour cream
  • Shredded cheese (such as Cheddar, Monterrey Jack, etc)
  • Salsa
  • Green/black olives
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Sauteed mushrooms, bell peppers, or zucchini
  • Preheat a large skillet on medium heat. Finely chop onion and jalepeno pepper.
  • Spray skillet with cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil. Add onion and jalepeno. Cook for 2 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add ground turkey or chicken to the skillet. Use the back of the spoon to break apart the ground meat. When the meat is almost cooked through, add salt.
  • Add spices (chile powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne) and tomato paste. Cook for 5 minutes on low heat.
To make burrito:
  • After you add spices to the meat and it's cooking on low. Open a can of refried beans and warm in the microwave. Pull out all ingredients so your family can build their burrito the way they want it.
  • Smear the beans on first. Add ground meat, then layer cheese. You may want to warm up for 30 seconds until the cheese melts. Then add the cold ingredients such as olives, sour cream, tomatoes, lettuce, etc.
  • Fold two opposing sides inward from your hand, then roll the open sides to close in tightly. That's it! Serve immediately.
Need a visual on burrito folding? Check out these tips on folding burritos.

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