We've yet to come across a family that can resist the communal appeal of taco night, with everyone gathered around a table crowded with spiced meat and all the fixings. When we were kids, taco night centered around a certain yellow boxed kit. Although we may have a little nostalgia for ground beef flavored with a mystery seasoning packet, we now prefer turkey flavored with our own combination of spices. It's almost as fast to make and is so much better tasting and more healthful. But, of course, we still let everyone assemble their own tacos.

Serves 4


  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 pound ground turkey, dark meat or a combination of dark and white
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 8 taco shells
Toppings of your choice:
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Chopped tomato
  • Sliced avocado
  • Hot sauce
  • Sour cream
  • Lime wedges


In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir for about 30 seconds. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the turkey, oregano, cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often and breaking up the meat, until the turkey is browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the water and briskly simmer, scraping up any caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan, until almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the vinegar and cook for another minute, then check the seasonings. Transfer the filling to a medium bowl and serve with the taco shells and toppings.

From Keepers: Two Home Cooks Share Their Tried-and-True Weeknight Recipes and the Secrets to Happiness in the Kitchen (Rodale) by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion.

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