Your family may suddenly have time to sit down for dinner with these quick and easy tacos. They take the “boring” out of school-night meals by borrowing flavors from ethnic recipes and your favorite restaurants.
BUILD YOUR OWN
1. Pick Your Protein
• mild white fish, such as catfish, cod or tilapia
• precooked medium shrimp, tails removed
• browned ground bison or beef
• grilled, thinly sliced flank steak
• Kroger-brand precooked pork carnitas
• boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cooked as desired and diced
• shredded Simple Truth rotisserie chicken
For each pound of cooked protein, add 1/4 cup Buffalo sauce.
Recommended browned ground bison or beef, shredded or cubed chicken
Stir 3 tablespoons of Jamaican jerk spice-rub into 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Coat 1 pound of protein with the rub. Let sit for 10 minutes. Grill or sauté in a cast-iron skillet until cooked through.
Recommended cubed boneless/ skinless chicken, fish, shrimp
For each pound of cooked protein, add 1/4 cup mole sauce. Heat through.
Recommended shredded pork carnitas or shredded chicken
In a bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon rum (optional), 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, hefty pinch of sugar and salt.
Recommended fish (marinate in sauce for 15 minutes; then grill), shrimp (quickly heat in a hot,
oiled skillet, add marinade, and bring to a fierce boil)
For each pound of cooked protein, add a few tablespoons each of Korean red chile paste and chicken or beef broth. Heat through.
Recommended cooked pulled pork, shredded chicken, shredded beef
Mix 1 packet of taco seasoning with juice from 1 lime and 1 tablespoon canola oil. Marinate protein for 15 to 30 minutes. Grill.
Recommended fish, shrimp, cubed chicken
3. Top It Off
Think above and beyond shr edded lettuce, cheddar and tomato salsa.
Fruits and Veggies:
• finely shredded cabbage, spinach or carrots
• chopped cucumbers, jicama, green apples, roasted green chiles, mangoes, pineapple, avocado
• whole black beans, pan-roasted corn
• char-grilled lime, grapefruit or orange wedges
• dry Monterey Jack
• aged Gouda
• queso fresco
• crumbled feta
• pepper jack
• melted fontina
Or make one of these:
Fish taco sauce: Mix 1 cup Mexican crema, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar.
Smoky chipotle sauce: Mix 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1 small chipotle in adobo sauce, 1 teaspoon lime juice.
Avocado lime sauce: Mix 1 avocado, 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon lime juice, pinch of salt.
A taco tip from Ree Drummond at thepioneerwoman.com is to make a flavored slaw:
1. For Asian flavor, mix equal parts rice wine vinegar and sugar.
2. For Southern-style pulled pork, use a mustard-vinegar barbecue sauce as a dressing.
3. For fish or chicken tacos, dress up 1 cup of a basic coleslaw dressing with 1 diced jalapeno and
2 tablespoons salsa.
At a loss for creativity? Here are two ideas from our test kitchen and a couple from our favorite taquerias in Denver and Seattle.
• shredded lettuce
• chopped green onion
• shredded cheese
• Greek yogurt or Mexican crema
Tequila-Lime Shrimp with Peach, Mango, Red Pepper Salsa
Grilled or sauteed shrimp:
Marinate 1 pound uncooked, peeled and deveined shrimp in 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 tablespoons tequila, 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, plus salt and pepper to taste. Cook through in sauté pan or over a grill, about 7 minutes.
• chopped red pepper
• chopped mango
• chopped ripe peach
• chopped avocado
• chopped cilantro
• drizzle of lime juice
Chorizo and Garlic Mash Tacos
• browned chorizo (mild or hot, whatever you like)
• salsa verde
• cotija cheese
Flank Steak Adobada and Grilled Pineapple Tacos
Inspired by Tacos Chukis in Seattle
In a blender combine 1 can adobo chiles in sauce, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 cup Mexican beer. Puree until smooth. Refrigerate half of the sauce in a jar. Marinate 1 pound flank steak in the other half for at least an hour or overnight. Remove steak from the marinade and brush with the jarred sauce. Grill steak.
• precut pineapple spears, grilled 2 minutes on each side and chopped