Robin's Healthy Take: DIY Tacos

Make tonight a taco night: Tacos are easy to prepare, and easy to make healthy, plus they're a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

If you’re like me, you’ve got turkey coming out of your gills. It’s time for something completely different before we delve back in to prepping and enjoying the next round of holiday meals. Tacos are the ultimate mid-week treat because they come together fast, you control flavor and calorie/fat content and they create an instant “party” feel in the house. Check out three awesome and unique taco fillings designed to spice up your week. Once the protein portion of the taco is ready, the condiments are up to you (and I’ve provided a generous amount of ideas). You can also pick the type of taco shell you want: crunchy corn, soft corn or soft flour tortillas (preferably whole wheat).

Smoky Flat Iron Steak Tacos

You can marinate the steak in the Worcestershire mixture for up to 24 hours before cooking (keep refrigerated).

Serves 4
Cooking spray
1 pound flat iron steak (or skirt steak or flank steak)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Coat a stove-top grill pan or griddle with cooking spray and preheat to medium-high. Season both sides of steak with salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, mustard, liquid smoke and cumin. Brush mixture all over both sides of steak.

Place steak on hot grill and cook 4-5 minutes per side for medium meat. Remove steak from pan and let stand 5-10 minutes before slicing crosswise (against the grain) into 1/4-inch thick strips. Serve steak in tacos with desired fillings.

Blackened Fish Tacos

I added a little sugar to the crust to ensure that it gets blackened and caramelized. The sweetness also balances nicely with the spices.

Serves 4

4 white fish fillets (such as halibut or tilapia), about 5 ounces each

Salt and ground black pepper
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil

Season both sides of fish fillets with salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine sugar, paprika, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Mix well to combine spices. Rub spices all over fish fillets.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish and cook 2-3 minutes per side, until fork-tender and blackened. Pull fish apart into 2-inch pieces and serve in tacos with desired fillings.

Chicken Tacos With Andouille Sausage
Serves 4
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1 teaspoon chipotle powder (sold in the spice aisle)
1/2 pound fully cooked andouille sausage, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 3 minutes, until soft. Add chicken and cook 3-5 minutes, until golden brown on all sides, stirring frequently. Add chipotle powder and stir to coat chicken and onion. Add andouille and cook 2-3 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve chicken mixture in tacos with desired fillings.

Topping ideas:
Chopped lettuce
Baby spinach leaves
Shredded carrots
Diced tomatoes
Guacamole or sliced avocado
Light sour cream
Shredded cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese or pepper jack cheese
Pickled jalapeno peppers
Black olives
Fresh or bottled salsa
Sautéed onions and bell peppers
Lime wedges

Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.

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