Fill them yourself tacos: great for modern meals on the run

September 30, 1992|By Orlando Sentinel

Meat-and-potatoes dinners are as passe in some American homes as "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet."

These days, family meals are often casual affairs that have been zapped in the microwave oven and assembled in the kitchen rather than cooked from scratch.

Chicken, corn and avocado tacos is a low-fat and high-flavor meal that diners can fix themselves. Each person adds the filling and chooses the toppings of his or her choice.

This easy meal is made with some convenience products but also has a home-cooked taste because it starts with fresh ingredients. Convenient chicken "tenders" are the basis of these colorful tacos. Tenders cut from the underside of the breast are sometimes sold as chicken tenderloins. The lean white meat is sold near chicken breasts in grocery store meat cases. Whole breasts or turkey tenderloins may be substituted.

Commercial salsa, which has plenty of flavor but no fat, adds zip to the chicken filling. The filling is simmered until done, about five minutes, then stuffed inside ready-made taco shells. Search for brands that list nutritional information on the package and choose those that contain the fewest grams of fat and calories. Rosarita, Ortega and Gebhardt brands each contain an average FTC of 42 calories and 2 grams of fat per taco shell.

Small flour tortillas may be used; a 7-inch flour tortilla contains about 80 calories and 2 grams of fat.

Chicken, corn and avocado tacos

Makes 6 tacos

3/4 pound chicken tenders (chicken tenderloins)

2 teaspoons canola oil

2 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup commercial salsa, mild or hot depending on taste

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 cup corn frozen kernels

1/2 ripe avocado, peeled, seeded and cut into small dice

1/2 cup shredded low-fat Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup chopped tomato

2 cups shredded lettuce

commercial taco shells

For the filling, coarsely chop chicken into small pieces. Pour oil into a non-stick skillet. Cook chicken and green onions over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until chicken begins to turn white. Add the salsa, cumin and corn. Stir well and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, until mixture is bubbling and chicken is done. Remove from heat. Arrange the avocado, shredded Cheddar cheese, chopped tomato and shredded lettuce on a platter. If desired, warm taco shells in a 325-degree oven. Let each person fill the tacos and garnish with toppings.

Test kitchen notes: The nutrient analysis for this recipe was done using regular Cheddar cheese instead of low-fat cheese. Using low-fat cheese will save about 30 calories and 4 grams of fat per ounce.

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