Realistic Cooking Ideas

for Busy People! And sharing our life adventures along the way!

We have another wonderful recipe from the Testing Community! A healthy take on a southwest meal provided by Jean Ann Harrison Copyright @1995. Jean Ann is a Software Tester and Quality Assurance Engineer and is currently a part of Perfect Pitch Marketing Group. You can reach Jean Ann at

Greg and I really enjoyed this unique and delicious recipe! The complex tanginess of the Mango & Green Onion Salsa complimented the taco mixture and couscous very well. Plus you have the option of using ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken. The Mango & Green Onion Salsa and Taco meat can be prepared ahead of time. This becomes an easy dish to make for a dinner party or to plan ahead for your own dinners.

There are a lot of wonderful tips throughout the preparation steps. Remember when you are seeding hot peppers to wear gloves.

1 box of whole wheat couscous (mid eastern pasta like grain). Prepare according to directions on box.

Taco meat
1.5 lbs (or thereabouts) of 90% extra lean ground beef (can use turkey or chicken but make sure it’s extra lean – the fat produced would need to be drained otherwise)
1 package of taco seasoning
1 tablespoon of chopped chives (dried or fresh)
1 clove garlic finely chopped
(optional) 1/2 teaspoon of dried chipotle pepper powder or any other hot pepper powder
1 teaspoon of ancho chili powder
1 small can of tomato sauce (no salt is best)
1.5 teaspoon of dried cumin powder
1 tablespoon of chili powder
½ green pepper finely diced and added to the meat.

Prep: Put all together in a large frying pan and cook the meat thoroughly on high with all the spices. Use drops of water if needed to avoid the meat sticking to the bottom of the pan. You do not need to salt & pepper the meat since there is salt in the taco seasoning and the chili pepper spices will take care of the pepper flavor. After the meat has been mixed and cooked, turn burner on low. Add the sauce to the meat mixture. Let simmer for about 15 min or a bit longer, occasionally stirring. The longer you let the meat simmer, the more the flavor comes out. Really wonderful served the day after.

Mango & Green Onion Salsa – which normally takes about 2hrs to chop everything by hand (my preference)

4 ripe mangos chunky chopped (ripe would be lots of color, red, yellow, orange and less green, gives slightly to the touch when pressed and smells sweet) See note below about the seeds.

2 bunches of green onions chopped, preferably smaller chopped than chunky.
2 medium chopped red bell peppers (red for visual appeal but can use any bell pepper)
1 small purple/red onion finely chopped
5 jalapeno peppers finely diced (for heat add the seeds, less heat, de-seed the peppers before adding).
2 medium to large poplano or parsilla peppers finely diced (for heat add the seeds, less heat, de-seed the peppers before adding)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (less is always better here)
The juice of 4 fresh limes (do not substitute lemons)

Prep: In large bowl, chop the mangos and salt and pepper them. Salt & pepper brings out the natural flavor – you don’t need to use that much salt. Add the green onions, the bell pepper, the red onion to the mangos and salt and pepper and thoroughly stir/toss. Add all the peppers and again add some salt and pepper. Thoroughly stir. Add the chopped cilantro and add the lime juice. Thoroughly stir, refridge for at least 30 min before serving. Tastes the best the longer you can keep in the fridge before serving. (I usually make the salsa the day before)

SERVE: On a plate, put about a 1/2 cup or a bit more of couscous on the plate, then add a layer of shredded cheese – Monterey Jack, Asagio, Cheddar, Colby or any combination. Layer a portion of the taco seasoned meat over the cheese so that the cheese melts a bit. Put the salsa over the meat, and can have some sour cream but it’s not necessary.

Salsa serving suggestion – Makes a great accompaniment to grilled chicken, pork, or fish as well as mashed or baked potatoes (with melted cheese), nachos.

Notes: Mango seeds or pits are large, almost the size of the mango. Start to cut into the mango and if your knife comes up to a hard pit. Turn the mango to a right angle and then can slice all the way down. Try to cut away from the pit.

For a sweeter, less heat salsa, add another mango.

Important to add the salt and pepper to bring out the natural flavors. I use Kosher salt so I use less and freshly ground pepper.

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Susan Call Hutchison

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