Monday, March 30

Chipotle Turkey Tacos/Taco Salads with Pico De Gallo

12 Tacos
Total price: NY $24.07 (plus leftover cheese, cilantro, chipotles and tomato sauce)
Price per taco/taco salad: NY $2.00

The other night, the LBUH developed a craving for old school suburban tacos. None of this fancy fish in a soft tortilla stuff I’d been feeding him before our finances took a turn for the worse. I wasn’t willing to fry up a pound of ground beef or use orange-colored seasoning from a pouch, so this recipe was a successful compromise. (So successful that it had the LBUH walking around the house singing “Taco, taco, taco!”)

The instructions below incorporate my mother’s patented trick to keep taco shells from breaking. Her method allows the juices from the turkey mixture to soak into the shell, which makes it just pliable enough that it won’t crack but not so much that it turns to mush and all the fillings tumble out the botttom. Personally, I like this best as a taco salad so I pounce on any that happen to break (which, thanks to Mom, won’t be many).

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (staple)
  • 1.3 pounds ground turkey breast*(NY $5.29)
  • 2 medium onions (NY $ 1.69)
  • 1 red pepper (NY $ 1.15)
  • 2 cloves garlic (NY $0.59 for one head)
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce** (NY $1.79 for 7 oz. can)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce*** (NY $1.49 for 15 oz. can organic)
  • 1 rounded tbsp chili powder (staple)
  • Salt (staple)
  • ½ cup water (free)
  • 12 corn taco shells (NY $2.79)
  • Romaine Lettuce (NY $ 2.99 for one head)
  • 1 cup cheddar, monterey jack, or mexican blend cheese (NY $2.79 for 8 oz.)
  • 3 tomatoes (NY $1.47)
  • 2 small jalapeno peppers (NY $0.54)
  • 4 tbsps cilantro leaves**** (NY $1.50 for 1 bunch)

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Prepare pico de gallo: seed and dice tomatoes and jalapeno peppers, combine in medium bowl. Chop 1 onion and 3 tablespoons cilantro, add to bowl and stir. Salt to taste, and leave flavors to blend while you prepare tacos.

Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat, until fragrant. Add turkey and brown (approx. 2 to 3 minutes).

Add remaining onions, red pepper and garlic and continue cooking until turkey is cooked through (approx. 3 to 5 minutes).

Stir in chipotles, chili powder and tomato sauce. Season with salt to taste, and stir in ½ cup water.

Reduce heat to low, and simmer for a few minutes.

Carefully remove taco shells from package and stuff with a few spoonfuls of turkey mixture. Place filled shells on cookie sheet, heat in oven for (approx. 3 to 5 minutes)*****.

For tacos: arrange filled shells on platter. Serve with bowls of washed, shredded romaine lettuce, cheese, and pico de gallo.

For taco salads: Arrange washed, torn romaine lettuce on plate. Top with pico de gallo, and crumble a filled taco shell over. Sprinkle some cheese on top.

Adapted from Rachael Ray******

* Most packages of ground turkey come in this seemingly odd size, while most recipes call for just a pound. One of the things that I love about this recipe is that it doesn’t leave you with a leftover 1/3 pound of turkey.

** Freeze leftovers for another use.

*** Ditto!

**** For info on storing cilantro, see earlier post.

***** The filled shells keep well in the fridge. To reheat, either pop them in the microwave or back into the oven at 350 degrees.

****** That’s right, Rachael Ray. I understand that there are many who can’t stand Rachael Ray, but I’m a fan. I get that her cutesy expressions can rankle, and her portion sizes are humongous, but I think she gets people in the kitchen cooking when they might otherwise have gone to KFC. And there can be no doubt that that is a good thing. Now if you want to bash on Sandra Lee and that semi-homemade nonsense, then be my guest!

Nutrition Facts
Calories per taco (including cheese, pico de gallo and lettuce)
Calories: 168.1 Protein: 14.2 g Magnesium: 6.9 %
Total Fat: 6.5 g Vitamin A: 24.0 % Manganese: 10.5 %
Saturated Fat: 1.1 g Vitamin B-12: 0.9 % Niacin: 3.8 %
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.4 g Vitamin B-6: 9.0 % Pantothenic Acid: 2.7 %
Monounsaturated Fat: 2.3 g Vitamin C: 46.2 % Phosphorus: 11.3 %
Cholesterol: 22.1 mg Vitamin D: 0.0 % Riboflavin: 4.6 %
Sodium: 533.2 mg Vitamin E: 5.9 % Selenium: 5.2 %
Potassium: 248.2 mg Calcium: 8.1 % Thiamin: 5.4 %
Total Carbohydrate: 15.6 g Copper: 4.7 % Zinc: 3.7 %
Dietary Fiber: 2.6 g Folate: 9.9 %
Sugars: 1.2 g Iron: 5.7 %

Taco  on Foodista


  1. Now that's what I'm talkin bout! Yum!

  2. More! More! More!

  3. Wow. I love your blog, thanks for the price breakdown's. It is so amazing to see what amazing food can be had for so little...especially compared to restaurant prices!

  4. YUM! you have such great recipes and so full of color. thanks for a great blog!

  5. does this work with beef? I don't have turkey ...

  6. Sure, I bet it would work with beef. Unless your beef is quite lean, you'll want to drain off some of the fat after browning the beef and before adding the veggies.

  7. I am so excited to have found your blog through Foodista! I'm an intern there (and a full-time student, so consequently low on funds) living in an apartment with a tiny kitchen (probably bigger than a Manhattan kitchen, but not huge), and am looking forward to trying some of your cheap, space-conserving eats.


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