TACO BOWL….NOT “BELL”

We love Mexican food! Tacos, refried beans, fajitas, taquitos, are among some of the few that come to mind. I am sure you are all familiar with that famous fast food place. It ends with “bell”, not bowl. I admit, we do go there on occasion to get our fix.

This is my take on a healthier version of tacos. As stated above, they are taco bowls. My husband who is quick with word play came up with the title; “Taco Bowl not Bell”. He loves when I make this. On occasion he will remind me, “we haven’t had taco bowls in a while”. They remind me of a taco sundae……haha!

I am always disappointed when I get the fast food stuff. There is minimal filling and very little flavor. If I am going to eat Mexican I want major flavor and a nice portion. I don’t need added calories and fats though.

One of the ways I keep this healthy is using low-fat, ground, turkey. I also found a taco shell that is fantastic for Weight Watcher followers.  They are only 1 point per taco shell. Not bad! Of course vegies are the biggest part of this recipe. Load them into your bowl and you have a high fiber, high protein, filling meal. I do add a small amount of 2% grated Mexican cheese, and some light sour cream.

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The taco bowls are made in the oven. I have tortilla bowl forms that I bought on line. An upside down muffin tin will also work. (See photos). Either way is fine as long as you end up with a taco bowl. These can also be made in the air fryer if desired. I usually make 4 bowls at a time. The air fryer would make this time-consuming for me. However, air frying would be great if you’re making one bowl for a single serving. It would also be great to re-heat and crisp up left over taco bowls.

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The fillings that I have listed are merely a suggestion. You can use whatever you like, in any combination. I like to prep all the fillings and put them in separate bowls like a buffet. Everybody gets to make their own creation, to their particular taste. Tacos can be a very personal thing in my opinion!

For those of you that are non meat eaters you can omit the turkey. Just used refried beans as a protein. In fact, you can purchase them already prepared. They come in a can and all you have to do is re-heat them. How easy is that????

I keep wondering if anybody out there is trying any of my ideas. I hope so! I am always happy to hear from you and see your photos. I hope you have fun with this one.

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TACO BOWLS

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS:

  • Soft tortillas of choice
  • Cooking spray (I use olive oil spray)
  • 1 lb of ground, 97% lean turkey
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated with a microplane (can be chopped and minced with a knife)
  • 1  (4oz) can of chopped green chiles
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 1 tsp dark chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 C of chicken or turkey broth
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Condiments: chopped lettuce, chopped tomatoes, chopped green onions, chopped bell peppers, sliced olives, diced avocado, black bean and corn salsa, 2% Mexican cheese blend, light sour cream, taco sauce (you pick the heat)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spray both sides of the tortillas with cooking spray and place in tortilla forms or use the bottom side of a muffin tin (see above photo).
  3. Bake in oven for approximately 15-20 minutes or until browned and crisp. (Watch carefully so they don’t burn) Remove and let cool on a rack while preparing your condiments.
  4. Place all of your chosen condiments in bowls and set aside.
  5. In a large skillet over medium heat, spray the skillet with cooking spray. Add the onion and cook until softened, grate the garlic directly on top of the onions and mix quickly so it doesn’t burn, add the chopped green chiles.
  6. Immediately add the ground turkey and cook, breaking it up until it browns and is no longer pink.
  7. Add the taco seasoning packet, chili powder, and the cumin, stir to mix. Taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper if needed.
  8. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue to cook until the liquid is absorbed, approximately 10-15 minutes.  Remove from the heat and place in a serving bowl.
  9. Bring all the ingredients and the taco bowls to the table. I like to use large individual salad bowls to put the taco shells in. This allows you to cut the taco bowls and keep all the goodies from falling all over the place.
  10. Then let the creating and eating begin. OLE’

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

SHRIMP SCAMPI OVER ZOODLES

I promise I won’t zoodle you to death. This one was too good not to post though. It’s like a new toy at the moment. I am truly fascinated with my new spiralizer by Kitchen Aid.

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I love shrimp scampi. What I don’t like about it is all the butter and oil dripping from it. This is a healthy alternative. It is also made in one pan so clean up is a breeze.

I will suggest that you gather and prepare all of your ingredients prior to cooking this. It goes really fast. You will be throwing everything into the pan in  a matter of minutes.

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My zucchini were approximately  (*9-10 inches) in length. I washed them, left the skin on, cut off the ends, and spiralized them.

You can use fresh or frozen shrimp that have been thawed. Mine was frozen because that is what I had on hand. Either, will work well.

I don’t like big chunks of garlic in my sauces. I started using a microplane to grate it. I find it requires little to no cooking time. It will appear to melt right into your sauce. Just be careful not to burn it. As soon as you smell it, add your other ingredients. You could use a food processor or a knife. Any method would be fine. It all depends on how you like your garlic! You just don’t want it burned!!!

This really pairs well with a bottle of white wine. A loaf of crusty French bread is good for dipping in the sauce.

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SHRIMP SCAMPI OVER ZOODLES

  • Servings: 4
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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp of finely chopped onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic, grated with a microplane
  • 1 lb of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 C of chicken stock
  • 1/4 C of good white wine
  • Zest of one lemon and it’s juice
  • Zucchini noodles from 4 zucchini (*see note above)
  • 6-7 Basil leaves, julienned
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano/Reggiano cheese
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Assemble and prepare all of your ingredients.
  2. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
  3. Add the onion and cook until softened.
  4. Add the garlic, shrimp, red pepper flakes, and salt and black pepper to taste. Saute until the shrimp are just starting to turn pink but still translucent.
  5. Add the chicken broth, white wine, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and cook until the shrimp are pink, and opaque.
  6. Stir in the zucchini noodles and toss with the shrimp and sauce until everything is well coated with the sauce.
  7. Cook until the noodles are al-dente (slight crunch). DO NOT OVER COOK them or they will be too soft and no longer the consistency of a noodle.
  8. Remove from the heat and taste for seasonings. Sprinkle the basil and the grated cheese on top and serve.

Manga!

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

SPIRALIZED ZUCCHINI & CARROTS WITH PAN FRIED SALMON

Well slap yo Momma, hush my mouth, and call this one a new favorite. My husband said “make sure you write this one down”. I of course am doing that right now.

I just purchased the spiralizer attachment for my Kitchen Aide. Of course my friends at QVC had a special so what’s a girl to do? I love QVC! If I purchase something and it doesn’t meet up to my standards, back it goes. I will admit, I have sent some things back but not many. It’s a great company and they stand behind their products. This one is definitely a keeper. It was very easy to use and clean up was quick.

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I spiralized some carrots, and zucchini. With the addition of some tomatoes, garlic, onion, and white wine a wonderful zoodle dish was created. Topped with pan-fried Salmon filets, dinner was born.

This dish was very flavorful with great texture. A glass of Chardonnay was just the ticket to round out the flavors. I am really excited because there is one portion left. So, we shall see who gets to it first tomorrow! All is fair in love and leftovers…..if ya know what I mean. Here is the recipe……..

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Spiralized Zucchini & Carrots w/Pan Fried Salmon

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 zucchini  (or enough to make about 4 cups of spiralized noodles) skin on, ends cut off, cut in half, spiralized, set aside
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and ends cut off, cut in half, spiralized, set aside
  • 1/4 C chopped sweet onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced (I use a microplane)
  • 1 (15 oz) can of fire roasted, diced, tomatoes with their juice (I used Hunts)
  • 1 Tbsp of dark agave
  • 1/4 C of good white wine
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 Salmon filets, seasoned with lots of salt and pepper, bring to room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Chili Powder

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter  til melted.
  2. Add the carrots and onion and cook until just softened.
  3. Grate the garlic into the pan with a microplane and add the tomatoes, cook until the garlic is fragrant, just a few minutes.
  4. Add the Agave and the white wine and stir to combine.
  5. Taste and season with salt and pepper and add the crushed red pepper if using.
  6. Add the zucchini noodles and toss, cook for about 10-15 minutes, you want to keep the zucchini al-dente. It does not take them long to cook, they are best when left with a slight crunch.
  7. When cooked removed the pan from the heat and place it on a burner to keep warm while your fish cooks. (Literally minutes)
  8. In another pan over medium high heat, add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
  9. Take the seasoned filets, place skin side down and cook for 3 minutes and turn over and cook for an additional 3 minutes. (You can cook them more or less, it depends on how you like your fish cooked.)
  10. Take your cooked filets and place them on top of your zucchini mixture.
  11. Dust with chili powder.
  12. Bring your goodies to the table and serve from the pan.

This is impressive enough to serve to guests. Don’t forget to add a good bottle of white wine. I hope you enjoy!

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo