Saturday, March 9, 2013

Veggie Loaded Taco Nacho's *Dairy & Gluten Free*



As I was grocery shopping the other day, I was racking my brain for what to do for dinner.  I am ashamed to admit that I am horrible at meal planning.  So I end up visiting the grocery store MUCH more often than I probably should in one week.  Anyways, back to dinner:  Bord with the usual stand-by's, I decided to start with a package of ground turkey.  Tacos came to mind first.  Generally, it's a quick & easy meal to make and it pleases everyone including Miss M.  But, I wanted something more... something different than the usual.  So then I started thinking Taco Nachos (corn chips instead of taco shells).  But, since I can't have dairy, that would mean no cheese or sour cream.  Lettuce, tomatoes and meat seemed like a pretty boring way to do "nachos".  So I started thinking veggies.  I wanted LOT'S of veggies.  I just started making it up as I went along through the produce isle.  And I decided the perfect thing to top the nachos off with would be my most favorite homemade Avocado Tomato Salsa (bringing in even more veggies).  As I was about to grab a packet of taco seasoning, I remembered that I made my own last time & I could not bring myself to buy a packet when I already had all the spices at home to make my own.  The only thing, was that it did not make a "sauce" like the packets do, so I knew that I needed to add something else to it.  Tapioca Starch (aka Tapioca Flour) turned out to be the perfect solution. Nom, nom, nom, nom!  My mouth was beginning to water.  I had to be careful that I didn't start to drool in the store like my 6 month old.  (JK...sort of).  While this was not as fast and easy to prepare as standard tacos, in the end, it was totally worth the extra time & effort.  Dinner was delicious, super filling and loaded with about 8 servings of vegetables.  Miss M loved it, she gobbled it all up and asked for seconds.  And this made enough for us to have leftovers, which I put over rice the next day.  This works well for a casual dinner (something Bree Van de Kamp would NEVER serve her family) or for a healthy party dish.


Veggie Loaded Turkey Mixture

1 large zucchini
1 large summer squash
1 very large carrot (or 2 med or 3 small)
 1 green bell pepper
1/2 large yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2-3 cups baby spinach leaves
1 wedge of lemon
6 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 C Water
20 oz package of lean ground turkey
fresh cracked pepper
salt

Taco Sauce

1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp onion powder
1/2 Tbsp garlic salt (Lawery's)
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp tapioca starch (or corn)
1/4 C cold water

Here is the link to the Avocado Tomato Salsa.  It's SO, SO delicious!
I personally am not a huge fan of jalapeno so I sub it out with a small amount of finely diced red onion.  And I ALWAYS double the recipe because it's that good that it simply does not last long between the 3 of us.  When Mr. L starts eating it, I might have to triple the recipe.  And I highly recommend the corn cakes w/ the salsa.  It'd a delicious summer meal.

Directions:

Preheat 2 TblSp of the Olive Oil over medium heat.
 Shred the carrot & dice the onion & green pepper.
Stir-fry with fresh cracked pepper (about 6 twists) and a pinch or 2 of salt in the olive oil until onions begin to caramelize.
Meanwhile, dice the squash & Zucchini, set aside.
Add crushed garlic to the onion mixture and stir for 30 seconds.  Place mixture in a large serving bowl.
Next, pre-heat 3 Tbl Sp of olive oil over medium heat.
Add Squash, Zucchini, fresh cracked pepper (about 8 twists) & 2 pinches of salt.
Stir occasionally and cook until squash & zucchini begin to brown just slightly.
Meanwhile, mix the taco seasoning spices and tapioca starch.  Mix in the cold water and set aside.
Add the squash & zucchini mixture to the bowl with the onion mixture.
Preheat the last Tbl.Sp. of olive oil of med heat.
Add spinach leaves, a pinch of salt, 4 twists of fresh cracked pepper & the juice from the lemon wedge.
Sautee until the spinach cooks down.
Add to bowl with other veggies.
Increase the heat to med-high.
Heat the 1/4 cup of water in the pan to boiling, add ground turkey and break up, really well, stirring continuously.
When the ground turky is done, stir the taco sauce mixture and pour into the pan.  Cook for an additional 1-2 min, until the sauce thickens.
Add turkey to the veggie mixture and stir well.

Put some corn chips (we like Misson Tortilla Strips) on your plate, top with the veggie meat mixture and the salsa and enjoy!  You could also toss on other traditional toppings such as olives, peppers etc.  But, it really does not need cheese or sour cream...that would only take away from the explosion of fresh flavors in this dish.  Happy Eating!

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