Many of you have heard about “Taco Tuesday” or already make tacos on a regular basis, and for good reason. It is easy to get tacos on the dinner table and the popular dish can accommodate even the pickiest of eaters.
The tortilla market has expanded over the last few years. Ten years ago it was hard to find anything besides your basic corn or flour tortilla. Now you can find fresh, small batch tortillas in many refrigerated sections of the grocery store as well as tortillas made with whole grains or flavors like chipotle or green chile.
No matter what kind of tortillas you’re into, filling them is easy. On a busy night, a rotisserie chicken with some rice, cilantro, salsa and a squeeze of lime is a fast dinner option. I have a small rice cooker and sometimes after I’ve steamed rice I’ll season it. I recently tried a cilantro-coconut-lime combination, which was a big hit in chicken tacos.
Black beans are also an excellent (and nutritious) taco filling. Sauté a little onion with some garlic, add a little cumin, coriander and a touch of salt, and you’re on the road to testy frijoles to tuck into your tortillas.
For an interesting twist on taco night, try chayote. Chayote — also known as a mirliton squash — is green and pear-shaped.
The first time my kids saw one in the grocery store they laughed and said the bottom of the squash looked like a toothless old man smiling. They have a very mild flavor; when I spent a year in Mexico I often saw them served with salt, lime and a cream similar to creme fraiche. Delicious.
I haven’t tried to make flan for dessert yet, but when I do, I’ll be sure to share so you can have a sweet ending to your Taco Tuesday.
Fast Chicken and Pepper Filling for Tacos
1 rotisserie chicken, deboned
2 medium onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. olive oil
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. Kosher salt
Set a saute pan over medium high heat to warm, then add the oil. Add the garlic, onions and pepper and sauté for about 7 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Add the chicken and sprinkle in the cumin, coriander, salt and cilantro. Heat for two minutes, stirring to combine, then add the lime juice to deglaze the pan. Remove from heat and use to fill tortillas.
Chayote with Lime
2 chayotes, chopped
1 lime, juiced and zested
1 tsp. salt
creme fraiche or sour cream for garnish
Add the chayote to a saucepan and add about a cup of water (enough to almost cover them) and set over medium high heat. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the chayote has softened and a fork passes easily through. Remove from heat and drain any excess water. Transfer to a serving dish and add the lime juice and salt, then stir gently to season. Serve with creme fraiche or sour cream, if desired.
Coconut Lime Cilantro Red Rice
2 c. red rice, cooked
1 lime, juiced
1/4 c. vegetable stock
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 c. shredded coconut
1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
3 T. green onion, if desired, for garnish
Set a nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the rice. Pour the vegetable stock over the rice and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Sprinkle with shredded coconut, lime juice and cilantro. Stir well while heating for about five minutes. When rice is heated throughout, garnish with green onion before serving, if desired.