Tacos! That one word brings my guys to the table–and quick. The chicken’s brown sugar-cumin rub and made-from-scratch salsa sets this recipe apart from others. So tasty and so many thumbs up.



1/2 red onion, diced

2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced

6 Campari tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 tbsp fresh, chopped cilantro

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper


1 tbsp brown sugar

1-1/2 tsp chili powder

1-1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied

spray olive oil

4 large flour tortillas

2 cups shredded lettuce

3/4 cups grated Colby-Monterey Jack blend

1) SALSA: In medium-sized bowl, mix onion, jalapeño peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and black pepper; set aside

2) TACOS: In small bowl, mix brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, sea salt, and black pepper; rub mixture over both sides of butterflied chicken breasts

3) Spray olive oil spray over large skillet (I used a grill pan); cook chicken breasts over medium-high, 4-5 minutes each side until just cooked through; remove from heat, let cool a few minutes, and slice thinly

4) Spray olive oil spray over same skillet and heat tortillas both sides until warmed through; place one tortilla on each of four plates and divide chicken between them; top with lettuce, salsa, and cheese and serve immediately; eat ’em up!

Servings: 4


Don’t let the name fool you. This is dinner–in a big way. Not only is this breakfast taco fabulously easy and quick to prepare, but it’s incredibly tasty.


Olive oil spray

4 large flour tortillas

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

8 eggs

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

3 green onions, sliced thin

1 cup diced red bell pepper

1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup salsa

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

1) Spray olive oil over large skillet and heat over medium-high; warm tortillas, both sides, until lightly golden; set aside

2) In medium-sized bowl, lightly beat eggs with salt, pepper, and green onions

3) Add 1 tbsp olive oil (reserving 1 tbsp) to same skillet and heat over medium; pour in egg mixture and, stirring occasionally, cook until scrambled and just done; remove from heat, cover, and set aside

4) Add reserved 1 tbsp olive oil to small skillet and heat over medium-high; add red bell pepper and black beans and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes; stir in salsa and, when warmed through, remove from heat

5) Assemble breakfast tacos as follows: divide egg mixture between flour tortillas, top with black bean mixture, feta cheese, and cilantro; serve

Servings: 4


Spring break and Junior is happily home and hungry. Though the refrigerator and pantry is stocked with the ingredients to make one of several planned meals, I opted for a cross between Mexican and Italian fare. Chicken-Cream Cheese-Black Bean Pasta Shell Tacos resulted and was quickly devoured. Need I say “all thumbs up”?

Chicken-Cream Cheese-Black Bean Pasta Shell Tacos

2-1/2 cups salsa, divided

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cups shredded and chopped deli-roasted chicken (or 2 cans chicken breasts, drained)

1-15 oz can black beans, drained

1-4 oz can diced green chiles

1-8 oz package reduced fat cream cheese

1/2 cup scallions, sliced thin (divided)

2 tbsp taco seasoning

20 jumbo pasta shells, cooked al dente according to package directions

1-1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) Spread 1-1/2 cups salsa (reserving 1 cup) in bottom of 11×9″ casserole dish; set aside

3) In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat; add chicken, black beans, green chiles, and cream cheese; stirring often, cook 8 minutes; stir in scallions (reserving 1 tbsp for topping) and taco seasoning and cook 2 minutes; remove from heat

4) Spoon chicken-cream cheese mixture into cooked pasta shells, about 2 tbsp each; place filled shells atop salsa in baking dish and pour 1 cup reserved salsa over the top; bake 25 minutes; scatter cheese and reserved 1 tbsp scallions over shells and cook additional 5 minutes; remove from oven, scatter avocados and tomatoes over top, and serve

Servings: 4-5


I do not like salmon. I do not like salmon. Well, maybe I do–at least, when it’s wearing a lovely cornmeal crust and accessorized with a variety of mouth-watering toppings. For last spring’s graduation celebration with family, this meal went over extremely well. All that remained that was worth saving were a few pieces of salmon I made into a sandwich for Senior the following day. Highly recommended!

Cornmeal-Crusted Salmon Wonton Tacos 2

olive oil

18 corn tortillas

6-6 oz salmon fillets, cut into 3/4″ strips

2 limes, juiced

1-1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

3 tbsp parsley, minced

2 tbsp paprika

2 tsp ground black pepper

2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp lemon zest

2 cups coleslaw mix

2 cups tomatoes, diced

1-1/2 cups salsa

1 avocado, peeled and diced

1 cup wonton strips (salad toppers)

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1) Preheat oven to 175 degrees

2) To skillet over medium-high heat, add swirl of olive oil (you will have to replenish oil a couple times); heat tortillas both sides until warm and soft; stack on plate; place tortillas in oven to keep warm

3) Place salmon in large pan and pour lime juice over fish; turn to coat both sides

4) To large zip top bag, add cornmeal, parsley, paprika, black pepper, sea salt, and lemon zest; shake to combine

5) Give salmon strips a light shake as you remove them from pan to drain excess lime juice; place strips in zip top bag and shake to coat

6) To large skillet over medium-high heat, add a generous swirl of olive oil; add salmon strips to skillet and cook both sides until cooked through (about 3 minutes per side)

7) Meanwhile, place the following toppings in bowls; coleslaw mix, tomatoes, salsa, avocado, wonton strips, and cilantro

8) Plate salmon fillets and serve with warm tortillas and yummy toppings

Serves: 6-8

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 05/23/12.


Since we were having friends over for dinner and a respite from cold-weather casseroles seemed in order, I decided to make a free-for-all (buffet style) meal of tacos. Don’t be intimidated by the number of garnishes listed. Choose the ones you like and have at it. I will say, though, the pineapple was a very pleasant addition to the array and definitely ratchets tacos up a notch. Enjoy!

Shrimp and Fish Taco Free For All1

Shrimp and Fish Taco Free For All2

2 tbsp ground cumin, divided

2 tbsp ground coriander, divided

2 tbsp ground paprika, divided

2 tsp red pepper flakes

2 tsp sea salt, divided

1 tsp ground black pepper, divided

1 lb jumbo shrimp (peeled, deveined, and tails removed), cut into 3 pieces each

12 oz fish (I chose cod), cut into 3/4″ square pieces

1 cup grated monterey jack cheese

1 cup shredded lettuce (I used iceberg for the crunch)

1 firm but ripe avocado, diced

1 large tomato, diced

1 cup diced fresh pineapple

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 cup light sour cream

1 cup store-bought salsa

2-3 scallions, sliced thin

1-4 oz can sliced jalapenos, drained

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

1 lime, sliced into 8 wedges

olive oil cooking spray

18 corn tortillas

2 tbsp olive oil

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees

2) Divide first 6 ingredients between 2 large zip top plastic bags; shake to mix; add shrimp to one bag and fish to other; shake again to coat shrimp and fish; refrigerate

3) Put cheese, lettuce, avocado, tomato, pineapple, corn, sour cream, salsa, scallions, jalapenos, cilantro, and limes in small individual serving dishes; arrange dishes on side table or counter for serving

4) Lightly spray skillet over medium heat with olive oil spray; warm both sides of each tortilla in skillet, 20-30 seconds, until soft and lightly golden (spray more olive oil every few tortillas); transfer tortillas to paper-towel-lined plate; when all tortillas are warmed, stack on serving dish, cover with aluminum foil, and place in oven to keep warm

5) To large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil; add fish and, stirring gently and often, cook 4-5 minutes until done; transfer fish to medium-sized bowl, cover with aluminum foil, and place in oven to keep warm

6) To large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil; add shrimp and, stirring often, cook 3-4 minutes until done; transfer shrimp to medium-sized bowl

7) Set out dishes of fish, shrimp, and tortillas alongside garnishes and serve free-for-all style

Servings: 6-8