Friday, June 25, 2010

Tacos for the whole family

Struggling to come up with something creative to serve your whole family that is simple, but yet somehow nutritious? Believe me, I have definitely been there. Through the years I have cooked and fed several families including my own. I have had the opportunity to cook for friends and loved ones. Some pickier than others, but what I have discovered is that the pickier the eater, the more creative I am forced to become. It is sort of fun actually. I know it might sound crazy, but having to work around taste buds and dislikes have brought me to some of my best recipes. 

I have actually come up with my Lucky Lemon Cupcakes because of someone who was trying to loose weight. Watch the video and I might reveal who that was, but despite what brought me to that recipe it is now one of my favorites and one of my crowd pleasers to be sure! 

I also have a dear friend and her husband is the pickiest eater I know and yet she continues to come up with new recipe ideas. Well, I think this one, Outrageously Delicious Open Faced Tacos, may be one she can share with him, however she may have to omit the beans and not top with lettuce, but otherwise this could fit the bill. That is something else I have learned about recipes. Nothing is set in stone, anything in a recipe can be changed, altered, or omitted. Much like life. 

In life, as I have said before, we get to decide what we keep, change, add, alter, or omit. It is that exciting! In life we get to decide what we do, who we do it with, and when! Just like cooking. So, cook like you live your life and make choices with your food that are the best choices for you and what you want!

Outrageously Delicious Open Faced Tacos

1 pound ground turkey meat
1 large white onion; chopped
4 cloves garlic; minced
1 cup celery; chopped
1 can (15 ounces) low sodium black beans
1 cup frozen corn
1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 can (4 ounces) green chilies
1 cup low sodium v-8 juice
3 jalapenos; seeded and minced
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chipotle powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
12 shakes of your favorite hot sauce

~Heat a large skillet and add the ground meat and brown until cooked. Drain the excess fat from the meat if needed.

~Transfer to a large pot and add the onions, garlic, and celery and turn the heat to medium and cover. Allow the vegetables to steam in the meat juices for 5-6 minutes.

~Add the remaining ingredients to the skillet or pot and cover and simmer on low for 1-2 hours.

~Serve over your favorite tortillas. We love the "Hand-made Corn Tortillas by La Tortilla Factory. Top with diced lettuce, tomatoes, and low fat sour cream and a pinch of shredded cheddar cheese and fresh sliced avocado.

Lucky Low-Fat Lemon Cupcakes


7 oz low fat honey graham crackers
Olive oil cooking spray


3 (8-ounce) packages fat free cream cheese
1 cup fat-free sour cream
2 cups baking splenda
6 egg whites
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 tbsp. lemon juice

Lemon curd:

1 ½ tsp. lemon zest
6 tbsp. lemon juice
1 large egg; plus one large egg yolk
½ cup baking Splenda
2 tbsp. unsalted butter (you can also use fat-free butter substitute)


2 lemons

To make the crust:

Place graham crackers in a zip lock bag and seal. Using a rolling pin finely crush the graham crackers until they are the consistency of lumpy sand.

Place paper muffin cups into a muffin tin and spray each cup with olive oil cooking spray. Pour 1 tbsp. graham cracker crumbs into each cup and spray again with olive oil cooking spray. Set the crusts aside.

To make the filling:

In a food processor place the cream cheese, sour cream, and egg whites and pulse on high until all ingredients are combined. Add the lemon juice, zest, and splenda to the food processor and continue to pulse on high until the mixture is creamy and smooth.

Pour the filling into the cupcake tins on top of the crust and fill the cups completely.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.

To make the lemon curd:

Using a double boiler, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, egg, and egg yolk and sugar substitute over gently simmering water. Whisk until hot and frothy for about 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in the butter for another 7 minutes or until the mixture is frothy and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and set in the fridge for 10 minutes to chill.

Once the cupcakes have been cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the freezer for 10 minutes.

To assemble: Using a spoon, pour 1 tbsp. of lemon curd on the top of each cupcake. For garnish slice a lemon into thin slices. Cut the slices in half and twist and place on top of the cupcake. Bon Apetite!

Serving size: 24 cupcakes

Mental Health Benefit: These recipes are sure crowd pleasers and like everything I do they are healthy, easy, and tasty. And in life don't we all deserve a little tasty! I would like to think so. And these two recipes can all be made in advance if you are having guests or just serving your family, so make it ahead of time for a busy week night or a gathering with friends where you are the host or hostess. Eitherway, make it something that you feel good about and serve this tasty meal the way YOU WANT TO!

Love and sane meals from my kitchen to yours and I hope you are having a wonderful summer so far!

~This little hot mess in the kitchen!

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