Tag Archives: turkey tacos

Friday Favorites: Easiest Weeknight Meals

Friday Favorites: Easiest Weeknight Meals

After baking my tail off for the final two months of the calendar year, I make a point of changing things up around here every January, leaning into more everyday foods and savory fare. I began this month with my tried and true formula for Crispy Chickpeas, and will be bringing you plenty of dinners and snacky things until February. There may be a cookie recipe in there too—I make and break the rules around here.

While weeknight meals aren’t my usual content, a person cannot live on cookies alone. Believe me, I have tried. As we settle into whatever fresh hell 2022 has for us, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite meals that can be made with minimal time and energy, but with plenty of delicious pay-off. Some are classics and some are masquerading as classy, but they’re all wonderful. These are my Easiest Weeknight Meals!

Friday Favorites: Easiest Weeknight Meals​

Everyday Cassoulet

When people ask me for quick, easy, crowd-pleasing dinner ideas “Everyday Cassoulet” are always the first two words out of my mouth. A quick take on a slow-cooked French classic, this dish could not be easier—it’s just an assemblage of sausages, cherry tomatoes, white beans and aromatics that are roasted to comforting perfection. You can also make it vegan with meatless sausages or a couple of pounds of fresh mushrooms—love that versatility. Serve this up with a salad, a hunk of crusty bread or all by its lonesome. There’s no wrong way to Everyday Cassoulet.

Friday Favorites: Easiest Weeknight Meals​

Sopa de Pollo

This Mexican recipe is my absolute favorite chicken soup. It’s easy to make, with minimal knife work and no searing steps, and it simmers up in under an hour! Feel free to swap in your favorite vegetables to suit your particular tastes, but whatever you do, don’t skip the mint. It makes the whole thing.

How to Make Eggs 5 Ways

Eggs?! On a list of weeknight dinners?! Hell yes—breakfast for dinner rules. I work evenings, so when I finally get home and make dinner for myself, it’s frequently some form of eggs with whatever I have in my fridge. They’re a cheap, delicious protein and nearly everyone has a preparation that they love. In the linked post, I go into detail about how to scramble, hard-boil, soft-boil, poach and fry eggs, so you can make them however you like. Get crackin’! (Pun absolutely intended.)

Friday Favorites: Easiest Weeknight Meals​

Baked Shrimp with Lemon & Garlic

Baked Shrimp with Lemon & Garlic sounds fancy, but it’s dead easy and so good. I make it extra easy (and cut the cost!) by using raw frozen shrimp. The rest of the ingredients are kitchen staples, making this an absolute snap to make. While I’m recommending you make it for weeknights here, it’s also perfect for company.

Friday Favorites: Easiest Weeknight Meals​

Spicy Turkey Tacos

I have made this recipe approximately 250 times over the last six years and it has never once disappointed. I mean, who doesn’t love tacos? This recipe for easy homemade taco seasoning and saucy, spicy turkey tacos is a staple in my personal chef and home-cooking repertoire. It takes half an hour start to finish and makes amazing leftovers.

Friday Favorites: Easiest Weeknight Meals​

15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese

I started making this mac & cheese while I was acting as craft services on student film sets approximately 147 years ago (2009). I learned how to make it on a sketchy hot plate that I bought at the K-Mart in Penn Station, but it works just as well in my home kitchen ☺️ Made with minimal ingredients, effort and time, this is my go-to recipe for creamy, comforting macaroni & cheese in minutes. Oh, and pro-tip: if you can’t get your hands on cream cheese right now, a scoop of full-fat sour cream works just as well.

Friday Favorites: Easiest Weeknight Meals​

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

I used to be shocked at the number of people I know that don’t know how to make a grilled cheese sandwich, but then I realized that maybe nobody ever taught them how to make one. If you are one of those people, this post is for you. Learn how to make classic grilled cheese low-and-slow, step-by-step, and pair it with a simple homemade tomato soup for maximum comfort and nostalgia. Once you’ve perfected the original, get fancy with my Awards Season favorite Pesto Mozzarella Grilled Cheese—yum!

Friday Favorites: Easiest Weeknight Meals

What’s your favorite easy weeknight meal? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Spicy Turkey Tacos

Spicy Turkey TacosAs with so many of the weeknight meals that show up on this site, I’ve been making these Spicy Turkey Tacos for years. They became a part of my repertoire when I started my day job in 2016, and they’ve been in my weekly rotation ever since. They’re easy to make, require less than half an hour start-to-finish, and are a guaranteed crowd pleaser—not an easy feat with teenagers!Spicy Turkey TacosThese are a simple & saucy DIY taco seasoning, ground turkey and tomato paste situation that remind me—for better or worse—of the Old El Paso Tex-Mex taco kits my mom made when we were little. But, you know, a little classier because there’s nothing from a packet.

Now, I want to make it exceedingly clear that I am of Czech and British heritage, two cultures that are not known for their tacos. To my knowledge, Spicy Turkey Tacos (and recipes like them) aren’t particularly authentic to anything. Please correct me if I am wrong; I want to give credit where credit is due. Spicy Turkey TacosSpicy Turkey TacosThe key to this recipe is the homemade taco seasoning. It’s a simple blend of chipotle chile powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, cayenne and salt, and it is responsible for the majority of the flavor here. The recipe below makes enough for about four pounds of meat, meaning that you can make the seasoning once and then throw Spicy Turkey Tacos together in no time with no notice on a future busy weeknight. Score!

Fair warning that these Spicy Turkey Tacos are called “spicy” for a reason—this taco seasoning was has a real kick to it, so if you aren’t a spicy food person, you may want to reduce the chipotle powder by half (2 tablespoons) or switch to something milder. I promise your tacos still be great.Spicy Turkey TacosSpicy Turkey TacosTo make Spicy Turkey Tacos, begin by browning a pound of ground turkey. Stir in 2 tablespoons each of your taco seasoning and tomato paste until everything is coated. Then add some water and let your taco meat simmer until thickened to your liking. I usually let mine go until the sauce is reduced by half or two-thirds, until it’s thick but still decidedly saucy.Spicy Turkey TacosAs for serving, spoon this Spicy Turkey Taco meat into warmed flour or corn tortillas (or make a taco salad!), and pile on whatever toppings make you happy. I threw cherry tomatoes, diced avocado, romaine lettuce, cilantro, lime, grated cotija and hot sauce on these, but you could go with salsa, guacamole, shredded cheddar, or nothing at all—whatever you like. Next time, I’m going to serve them up with my Pineapple Salsa Fresca for a sweet & spicy finish.

Just living my best pandemic dinner life over here.Spicy Turkey Tacos

Spicy Taco Seasoning
makes a heaping 1/2 cup (enough for 4 pounds of meat)

It is easier to add heat than it is to remove it, so be careful. For a milder blend, reduce the chipotle powder to 2 tablespoons or use 1/4 cup of a milder chile or chili powder. I like this blend with ancho chile powder.

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) chipotle chile powder or other chile or chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one year.

Spicy Turkey Tacos
makes 1 pound of meat (3-4 servings), but can easily be scaled up

1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
1 pound ground turkey (leanest I’d go is 93%)
2 tablespoons spicy taco seasoning (above)
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cups water
warmed flour or corn tortillas

For serving (optional):
avocado
cherry tomatoes
cilantro
grated cotija or other cheese
hot sauce (I used Tapatío)
guacamole
lime wedges
romaine lettuce
salsa

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add turkey and cook until browned, breaking it up with the edge of a silicone spatula or wooden spoon as you go.

Add taco seasoning and tomato paste; stir to coat. Add water and let come to a simmer. Let liquid reduce by 1/2 to 3/4, stirring occasionally, until sauce texture is to your liking. Add more water as desired.

Serve meat in warmed tortillas with desired toppings.

Leftover taco meat will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Spicy Turkey TacosSpicy Turkey TacosSpicy Turkey Tacos