When I grew up in small-town Montana, the only “Mexican” food was that from Taco John’s, which, being a Wyoming-based chain, was somewhat lacking in authenticity.
In college I was introduced to the low-cost beauty of Taco Bell, which was within biking distance of campus—but again, not exactly simmering in credibility as far as south-of-the-border flavor goes. Nonetheless, it was love at first bite, and that’s what I grew up thinking Mexican food tasted like. When I first moved to Arizona — a state known in part for its concentration of actual Mexicans who now make their home here (both legally and not-so-legally), it was a shock to sample what authentic red sauce actually tasted like.
Nonetheless, I still ate at Taco Bell — a lot. While I was still using Foursquare, I was always battling to keep concurrent mayorships of two separate locations — one near my office, and one close to my house. That’s a lot of 69¢ soft tacos.
That stopped at the beginning of this year, when Trainer put the kibosh on the Bell. And as a result, the Taco Bell near my office collapsed — literally. My colleague Matt let me know that they had bulldozed it to rubble. (Look what happens without my support!)
Did you know that Taco Bell makes taco seasoning packets that you can buy in the grocery store? I ran across them at WinCo, much to my delight, and found a leftover one while I was reorganizing our cupboards over the weekend. So when I was planning the week’s dinners, turkey tacos made perfect sense.
Rule #1: Because turkey is low in fat — especially when you buy the extra-lean ground turkey, like I do — it doesn’t “hold” the flavor very well. So I add a little oil back to act as a binder while I’m browning and simmering the sauce. And since I’m trying to make them healthy-ish, here’s the roster of other ingredients:
- Nonfat plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. (It makes sense, because the sourness that some people hate about Greek yogurt actually works in its advantage in its mimicry of sour cream here.)
- Fresh spinach instead of lettuce.
- Jarred salsa, because I am lazy.
- Whole wheat tortillas, usually the ones with extra fiber (because who doesn’t like to poop?).
- And I just realized I bought an avocado but forgot to use it. Grrr.
I’m not too worried about that avocado, because my devious plan has always been to repurpose the leftover turkey and other ingredients to make a variation of nachos for lunch, with delicious, salty tortilla chips. While I was at the grocery store I almost forwent the whole wheat tortillas altogether, but reason won out. (But while I was eating dinner tonight, I was thinking about how happy I was going to be at lunch tomorrow. And later, when I’m eating peanut butter and honey on tortillas.)
Cost of ingredients: $12.96 for the turkey, the tortillas, the avocado, part of the spinach (which also was in last night’s dinner) and part of a big container of Greek yogurt. (I’m divvying that up into smaller portions and stirring each day’s portion with the mosto cotto I’ve been keeping around forever.) I already had the salsa
How’d THAT go over? Turkey tacos have been in my rotation forever, and they’re easy to make. And if you hate the way Taco Bell stuff tastes, you could always use a different seasoning or make your own sauce from scratch.
Would I make it again? ¡Cómo no! (“But of course.”)
|WHAT SAM WORE: 7/29/13
|The shirt: Microgingham button-down, from the J. Crew outlet store at Anthem.|
|The pants: “No-wale corduroy” (aka: velvet) trousers, from Uniqlo, New York.|
|The shoes: Sneakers by Puma, from Nordstrom in Chandler.|