When I grew up my mother had designated meals for each day of the week. Sunday we had spaghetti, Monday was hamburger night, and so it went for the remainder of the week. Now that I have my own family I get why she made that choice. Sometimes it’s easier to grocery shop and have a plan you don’t have to think too much about. I don’t have designated meal days like my mom but I do make Tacos every week. This is the meal I depend on when time is short.
Here’s what I love about tacos. They’re easy, versatile and everyone in my family enjoys their “version” of a taco. My husband’s favorite is chicken tacos. We often make the shredded version of chicken tacos but he prefers when I saute the chicken in larger chunks. It provides a quality we both like because you get the oh-so-yummy rich, carmalized flavor from searing the chicken. I also like to add a few spices to add a little heat. No one likes a dull taco, right?
Tacos are by far one of the easiest ways to get a variety of plant foods on your table. Adding assorted vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, peppers along with olives, avocados and fresh cilantro make this a high nutrient based meal. You get Vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, lean protein, and healthy fats from avocado and olives. You don’t have to cook a side vegetable, just load it into your taco.
Even though tacos aren’t something you’d consider as Mediterranean they do fall perfectly into a Mediterranean meal pattern. Heavy on vegetables, plant based fats and lower in animal protein since you typically only use an one to two ounces of meat in a taco.
The best part? All you have to do is cook the chicken. Everything else is chop and serve.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
- Salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon, minced chipotle pepper (optional)
- 6 corn or flour tortillas
- Toppings of choice (avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, red or yellow peppers, olives, cilantro)
- Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chicken pieces, salt, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder and chipotle pepper and cook on one side undisturbed for about 2 to 3 minutes to brown one side. Flip the chicken pieces over and cook until no longer pink in the center, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and place on serving dish. (warning: when using small pieces of chicken it's easy to overcook. Watch closely and remove from heat and the hot pan as soon as they are no longer pink).
- Warm tortillas on a griddle or open flame (careful!). Place a warm tortilla on a plate, top with chicken and toppings of choice. Serve.
Meri Raffetto is the founder of Real Living Nutrition, triplet mom and author of the Glycemic Index Diet for Dummies and coauthor of the Glycemic Index Cookbook for Dummies, and Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies.