Nov 22, 2005

Turkey Nachos (Dinner Plus Your Next Day's Lunch)

I'm a big believer in saving money by cooking at home and brown bagging your lunch, so I'm using this recipe as a chance to explain how I prepare meals like this for our next day's lunch. You'll need access to a refrigerator and a microwave oven at work, and some plastic containers and zip-top plastic bags (the sandwich size works fine). First, the recipe:

Turkey Nachos
Serves 4

1 pound ground turkey breast
2 jalapeños, thinly sliced
1 package taco seasoning
3/4 cup water
1 package tortilla chips
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican blend or cheddar cheese
1 head of romaine lettuce, shredded
1 avocado, diced
3 roma tomatoes, diced or 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup sour cream, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a nonstick pan, cook the turkey, crumbling it with a spoon as it cooks. When the turkey is no longer pink, drain the liquid from the pan and return the pan to the stove over medium low heat. (I put a paper plate over the meat to hold it in place while I turn the pan on its side.) Add the jalapeño, taco seasoning and water, and stir to combine. Cook until the water has evaporated and the jalapeño has softened.
2. Coat the inside of a 13x9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the chips into the dish, top with the turkey mixture and cheese, and bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until cheese has melted.
3. Remove the baking dish from the oven and top with lettuce, avocado and tomato. Serve immediately with sour cream if desired.

To eat half for dinner and half for lunch:
  • Use a 9x9 baking dish and only half of the chips, half of the turkey mixture, and half of the cheese. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, then add only half of the vegetables.
  • I am assuming that you need two lunches. Put half the remaining turkey mixture into each of two microwavable plastic containers. Divide the cheese into two zip-top plastic bags. Divide the lettuce in two more bags. Put half of the avocado and tomatoes into two bags (they can share a bag). Put half of the chips in zip-top bag and use a rubber band or paper clip to seal the remaining chips in their bag. If you want sour cream, divide it into two small plastic containers.
  • The next morning, pack the turkey, cheese, vegetables, chips and sour cream. At lunchtime, heat the turkey in a microwave oven, then top with the cheese, vegetables and sour cream if desired. Use the chips to scoop up the nacho mixture.
It may seem like a lot of stuff to take to work, but one (or two) plastic containers plus the plastic bags won't take up that much space, and won't require much clean up when you get home. Consider keeping paper plates at work so you can bring the turkey mixture in as small a container as possible, then pour it onto a plate before you top with the cheese and vegetables. Lunches like this will make you the envy of your lunch group!

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