Mini Taco Sliders (in Pita Pocket)

My kids love burgers!  My husband loves burgers!  And I love these – a healthier, build-your-own kid-friendly version slider.  Plus, I’m a really big fan of re-purposing ingredients that you can turn into something else – in this case, taco ingredients.  Re-purposing ingredients allows you to change things up throughout the week, whilst not wasting food, but not feeling like you are eating the same thing over and over, and over.  I do my best to not waste – sometimes that means using what we have, rather than what a recipe might call for, or creating something new out of leftovers in the fridge OR re-purposing previously used/purchased ingredients into something new.

Choosing to be healthy, using healthier ingredients, doesn’t have to break the bank.   Plus, there is absolutely no need for fancy.  I used to think that being a good cook, or a good nutrition coach, meant I needed to use exotic ingredients, and have fancy meals to share with clients and followers.  What I’ve discovered is that most people are just trying to do the best with what they have, with whatever situation they are in.  That could mean living with a grocery budget, having dietary restrictions, living with picky kids or spouses, being picky yourself, or living in an area without access to variety.  So, we do the best with what we know and what we have.

When I find something the kids like, that the rest of us like too, I rejoice, and then I find different ways to use it, fix it, or call it something new.  I’m probably no different than any other mom that way.  One of those things my kids seem to love is my homemade taco spice – soon followed by taco meat and taco night.  So, a few weeks ago, I decided to try something the same, but new – Mini Taco Sliders (In Pita Bread).  Basically, it’s turkey sliders with taco seasoning – it’s not genius, but it’s certainly delicious…and no need to invent the wheel.

As it relates to your health…. here are the ingredients you should feel confident you’re eating and what it’s doing for your body.

Cucumbers and Tomatoes – These two veggies (technically fruits) are in full season over the summer months.  When food is in season and you’ve managed to snag it locally, it tastes better, and is in plenty supply making it less expensive than in other months throughout the year.  Plus, our guts are literally built to eat what’s in season.  Science has discovered that our gut microbiome changes as the seasons change.  Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables feeds our guts the good bacteria it needs to keep our immune system running strong.  Not to mention that cucumbers are extremely hydrating and have been found to reduce blood sugar, and both cucumbers and tomatoes may be good for cardiovascular health.  Tomatoes have been found to reduce the risk of some cancers and are loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Avocado – In my mind, avocados are a superfood.  The green fruit contains components that lower LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and raise HDL (the “good” cholesterol), they contain essential amino acids, aid in digestion and metabolism, are loaded with vitamins and minerals, rich in potassium, and contain those healthy fats our bodies and brains need when we are young and old!

Here’s how we do it, simple and easy!

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Mini Taco Sliders

(in Pita Pocket)

Christina Fit and Balanced

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground turkey (we prefer dark meat or a combination)

2-3 TBSP - Fit and Balanced Homemade Taco Spice

4 – green leaf lettuce leaves sliced in half (or romaine)

8 – tomato slices

1-2 avocados mashed

½ small cucumber, sliced

2 pita bread pockets, cut in half, warmed

Avocado mayo and spicy mustard (if desired)

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“Please mom, may I have some more?

Said some kid, somewhere.

Cooking:

Slider Patties:  With clean wet hands, divide ground meat into 8 even amounts and form into small slider size patties, with roughly a two-inch diameter and ½ inch thickness and set on a sheet of parchment paper.   I don’t measure the next part, so go with your gut.  Sprinkle taco season on top of each burger.  The whole top of the burger should be covered.  You can also work the seasoning into the meat; however, I like the way the flavor sits on top and leaves a char on the burger when it grills.  It’s your call.  Warm grill pan on medium high eat and lightly oil pan.  When grill is hot, add sliders face down (seasoning down).  Add more seasoning to the top of the burger, if desired.  Grill for 5-6 minutes on each side.  If possible, cover patties after flipping to keep moisture in.

Veggies:  While patties are cooking, slice tomatoes and cucumbers, prepare lettuce leaves and mash avocado.  Set aside. 

Pita:  Warm pita on stove top, pan, or toaster oven.  Lightly.  If available, spray lightly with avocado or olive oil before warming.  This adds to the flavor.

Assemble: Place avocado in bottom of pita pocket, add two sliders, two tomato slices, 2 halves of lettuce leaves, 2-4 cucumber slices.  I also love it with avocado mayo and spicy mustard.  You can also add red onion, hot sauce, maybe even some black beans. Create own and make it work for you!

Recipe makes 4 pocket sandwiches.  Serve with homemade fries, carrot fries, or your favorite salad.