TURKEY TACO SALAD BOWL

I had no intention of blogging on this recipe because it sounded like a simple dinner that would be ok but nothing to write home about. That all changed with the first bite. It is undoubtedly the cilantro sauce that makes it special. Of course, if you are a cilantro-hater, this is not for you. The sauce is cilantro on steroids. We loved it. In fact, the husband exact words were “I hope you’ll make this sauce whenever we cook Mexican-anything.” There you go. Cannot get much better praise than that.

TURKEY TACO SALAD BOWL
(inspired by Averie Cooks)

4 large tortillas (I used Carb Balance flour tortillas)
a few tablespoons of vegetable oil
oven safe bowls to bake tortillas

for the Cilantro Lime Dressing:
1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems included (about 2 cups)
½ cup full-fat yogurt
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1 lime

for the salad:
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix|
salt to taste
1 cup corn kernels (I used frozen, defrosted)
Romaine lettuce, shredded lettuce
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, sliced
Shredded Mexican cheese
salsa (I used tomatillo salsa)

Make the tortilla bows. Heat oven to 375F. Heat a little oil on a non-stick skillet, place the tortilla over the hot oil, when it starts to bubble, flip it over, heat for a few seconds, then place inside an oven-safe bowl. Bake for 15 minutes or until it gets crispy. You can do this in advance.

Make the dressing. Place the cilantro, yogurt, olive oil, salt, pepper and lime juice in a food processor and process until smooth. Reserve in the fridge until needed. You can also make the dressing hours or a day in advance.

Make the taco meat. Brown the ground turkey on hot oil, seasoned lightly with salt. Once the meat is getting some color, add the taco seasoning and 1/4 cup water. Simmer gently, cover the pan for 5 minutes, then uncover and let the water evaporate until it reaches the level you like for your salad.

To assemble the salad, add all different components inside the tortilla bowl, drizzle the cilantro dressing all over.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I used a Mission carb-balance tortilla, and it works but it’s definitely not the best kind to make a bowl, so keep that in mind. I only have two oven-safe bowls that are the perfect size to shape them, so we enjoyed some of the salad in the bowl, and either moved on to a regular tortilla (the husband), or the salad by itself (yours truly).

If you only have one or two oven-safe bowls, you can bake one at a time, and save them, heat them all up in the oven for a few minutes before serving. I used frozen corn, and sautéed lightly in olive oil, with salt, pepper and cumin. Pretty much anything that sounds good to add to a taco salad will work here. Black olives, roasted red peppers. Just have fun with it, but whatever you do, do not skip the cilantro sauce!

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CHICKEN POBLANO TORTILLA SOUP

I don’t know why it took me so long to make this soup, as it is so popular. Every year I see countless examples in magazines, cookbooks, websites, and food blogs. And what makes it really painful is that we both loved it. Almost 13 years blogging. A chicken-tortilla-soup-virgin. No more.

CHICKEN POBLANO TORTILLA SOUP
(slightly adapted from Averie Cooks)

6 whole tomatillos, husks removed
3 whole poblano peppers
olive oil spray and a little salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium shallot, diced small
6 cups low or no-salt added chicken broth
1 can (14.5-ounce) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, not drained
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
1 + 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Tortilla chips or strips, for garnishing

Roast the veggies: line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray the tomatillos and poblanos with some olive oil and season lightly with salt. Place in a 450F oven and roast until lightly charred. The tomatillos need less time in the oven, remove them when ready, allow the poblanos to roast further. Transfer the tomatillos into a blender, and process until still a bit chunky.

When the poblanos are well charred, transfer them to a plastic bag and seal. That will steam them making it easier to remove the skin. Remove the skin and seeds, cut the poblanos into slivers. Reserve. Add a very small amount of oil (2 tsp or so) into a small non-stick skillet, when very hot add the frozen kernels of corn, saute seasoning with a little salt until golden. Reserve.

Heat the remaining oil in a large stock pot, sauce the shallots for 5 minutes, add the broth, tomatoes, chicken, chili, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Simmer for a couple of minutes, add the reserved poblanos and corn. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes in very gentle heat.

Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant; stir nearly constantly.

Taste, adjust seasoning, and serve with tortilla chips or strips.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was so delicious, I am kicking myself for never trying this soup until now. The chicken was leftover from a clay pot roasted chicken, which I made after brining it overnight in buttermilk. It was one of the best clay pot concoctions of the recent past, and I shall share with you in the near future. But any roast chicken will do, so grab one in the grocery store if you want to make it really easy on you.

This soup is a meal in itself. Nothing else needed. Satisfying, complex, the tortillas and the corn offer that small amount of carbs that will keep you happy but not feeling heavy and lethargic. We absolutely loved it, and I hope you’ll give it a try…

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INSPIRED BY MARCELA

The FoodTV Network: Like a broken record, I might normally go on and on complaining about how great it was but no longer is…  I must say, though, that the more I watch “Mexican Made Easy”, the more I enjoy the show. Marcela Valladolid is knowledgeable, cooks great food, and is fun to watch.  Plus, she’s fit, which is not an easy task when you’re cooking and working with food 24 hours/day. Or close to that.  😉  Apparently she owes her great shape to yoga. On one segment about healthy Mexican recipes, they showed her serene composure during a tough variation of Warrior III, and in an advanced Twisted Pigeon pose.   Impressive, to say the least. ANYWAY,  back to cooking.  In another recent episode she shared a tempting recipe for Chicken Tostadas.  I didn’t make it yet, but I prepared one of its components, the tomatillo-avocado salsa.  It couldn’t be easier, and it couldn’t be tastier.   You absolutely HAVE to make and serve this alongside anything!  Ok, maybe not with that slice of chocolate cake… 😉

FRESH TOMATILLO-AVOCADO SALSA
(adapted from Marcela Villadolin)

6 ounces tomatillos, husked, rinsed and coarsely chopped
2 large yellow tomatoes, cored and seeded, coarsely chopped
1 avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 Serrano chile, seeded, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt and  black pepper

Combine the tomatillos, yellow tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, chile, and lemon juice in a blender and puree until smooth. Season the salsa with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours or until ready to use.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

I intend to make her chicken tostadas soon, my problem is the tostada part, as we still don’t have a gas cooktop. But I might improvise and come up with an alternative.  Tomatillos are usually cooked before incorporation into salsas and sauces, but in this fresh preparation  the  trick is to mellow their sharpness down by adding the avocado and using lemon juice instead of lime juice, as most salsas would call for.  Simple. Brilliant.

My adaptation was adding some yellow tomatoes because they were looking at me and begging to be consumed. So I did.  Next time I might either process a little less, or save a few pieces of diced yellow tomatoes to add at the end and make it a bit more chunky.  We served it with grilled steel head trout and steamed rice.  Phil thought that a great idea for an appetizer would be a small piece of grilled salmon or trout over a blue tortilla chip, and a dab of tomatillo salsa on top.  No doubt in my mind I married a guy with great taste.  😉

On a slight tangent: as I was preparing this post, I got the feed notification of a new article by Kelly, over at Inspired Edibles.  She wrote a nice tribute to her yoga instructor, and I invite you to jump over there and read it, very inspring! As a bonus, you’ll also get a recipe for homemade energy bars…
I am all for energy bars these days! 😉

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