Makeover Your Recipes and Let Your Imagination Run Wild!

While looking for a recipe to prepare a favorite food, I often find myself poring over various cookbooks and the Internet looking for what I perceive to be that perfect combination. Even though I have found recipes that I and my family have enjoyed immensely, I often find that I get bored with them and look for new ways to improve them. In other words, I let the recipe be a starting point, and then I let my imagination run wild with new ideas and spice combinations to create a much improved version of a well-loved recipe. Here’s what I did with one such favorite.

Years ago I acquired a diabetic cookbook that contained an especially tasty recipe for beef tacos. I always followed the recipe to the letter and each time, while tasty, it always seemed to lack something. After preparing it for the one who became my husband a year ago, he made several suggestions that I thought were promising. As a chef himself, I always value his opinion. I prepare my dishes with what I prefer to call, “my special twist.” I have done this for years with old family favorites that both my mother and grandmother prepared, making them even more special. I began to experiment with different things and finally hit upon a combination that gave this recipe new life and more taste than it ever had. I also made it budget friendly in that it doesn’t take specialty ingredients to prepare and will stretch your food dollars. This is what I ultimately did:

Beef Tacos – Original Recipe

1 pound lean ground beef

¼ teaspoon salt (optional)

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup diced onion

2 to 3 Tablespoons chili powder (or to taste)

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2-3 drops hot sauce (or to taste)

6 oz. can no salt added tomato paste

¼ cup water

1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained


Low-fat sour cream

1 Tablespoon shredded cheese (per taco)

Shredded lettuce and tomato

Sliced cucumber, if desired

The standard fare for tacos, am I right? Yes, this combination is very tasty, low in fat and calories and quite filling. It’s also a little bland and boring. One thing I discovered when it first came on the market is a spice line called Mrs. Dash. I especially liked that all the combinations are salt-free and sugar free as my diet is restricted for both. When I discovered a new flavor of Mrs. Dash, Fiesta Lime, well shall we say, it was a done deal, my tacos were about to get a major flavor makeover!

My new husband is not fond of onions, but that’s okay, this spice combination contains dried onion, so you don’t have to take the time to dice and brown it. He is also not fond of ground beef, but prefers ground turkey. So, I took those two things into consideration when doing this recipe makeover. I will admit it was hard for a steak and potatoes girl to give up the beef. The results; however, are amazing!

Turkey Tacos – Recipe Makeover (8-12 servings)

1 pound ground turkey breast

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

4 Tablespoons Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime seasoning blend

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

½ teaspoon ground coriander

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

4 drops hot sauce

6 oz. can no-salt added tomato paste

½ cup water

1 can fat-free refried beans

1 can bean of your choice (black, pinto, light or dark kidney beans), rinsed and drained

(I always use the type of bean I’m in the mood for at the time)

1 Tablespoon shredded Fiesta or Taco Blend Cheese (per taco)

Shredded Lettuce and Diced Tomatoes, as desired

1 Tablespoon low-fat sour cream

8 Whole Wheat, Fat-Free tortillas

Fresh cilantro, chopped, if desired

Heat 1 teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil in a 10-inch skillet. Brown ground turkey breast with pepper, Mrs. Dash seasoning, ground cumin, chipotle chili powder, and ground coriander. Add Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Stir 6-oz can no-salt added tomato paste into ½ cup water. Add to skillet. Add refried beans and can of beans of your choice. Let simmer for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend together.

To spice this recipe even more, I have substituted Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning blend and omitted the additional chipotle chili powder. Also, to stretch this recipe even further, add 1 cup cooked yellow or brown rice to the mix. You will have a low-fat, healthy turkey, bean and rice burrito. The calorie difference is almost miniscule, although the Carbohydrate content will be slightly higher. You can allow for this by planning for it before preparing your meal. This dish is also easy and quick to prepare, so dinner will be on the table in no time!

As you can see, the possibilities are endless when making over your favorite recipes! This can be done with any recipe, whether it is appetizers, main dishes, vegetables, other side dishes or desserts. Showing once again that the diabetic diet does not have to be boring, bland and without flavor or spice. Bon Appétit!!

Source by Catherine Huff

Post Author: MNS Master