Quinoa Turkey Chili Lettuce Wraps for Sweet Clara Bell
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A healthy alternative to tacos, Quinoa Turkey Chili Lettuce Wraps are the perfect Mexican food appetizer, or a meal itself. Using Quinoa Turkey Chili, fill the wraps and top with sour cream, olives, and your favorite hot sauce.
Today’s post is in honor of a family friend, Clara Bell, who passed away last week. She lived 86 years, and the lives she touched could only be counted in heaven, if heaven is even big enough for that. She was an amazing lady, a good friend of my parents; thus a good friend of my sisters and me. Clara taught us all about life, and food was at the core of everything we did. She was a school cook, youth camp cook, church cook, and more intimately for our family, she was the “lead cook” when it came time for our annual one week campouts over in Eastern Oregon.
Everyone loved Clara’s cooking.
A few years back, when I was about 3, Clara often gave my mom a reprieve from me, the youngest of 3 girls, and quite the little stinker (can you tell?) I’d spend nights with Clara, and I think I spent a week once. And I’m sure I loved it, because she always made homemade cinnamon rolls and her house smelled so good. Clara was a country cook, nothing fancy, just wholesome, uncomplicated food.
I chose this picture to share (with my sisters) because Clara took me shopping and bought me this dress that I loved – with a big red bow. She had 2 older sons, who teased me a lot, but I was tough. I could handle it.
Clara’s tacos and tomatoes.
Our campouts where not your typical pork and beans type of campouts. When Clara came, we had fried bread for breakfast, and the best spaghetti and homemade French bread for dinner, plus homemade chili and cornbread, and always … always … Clara’s tacos.
Bud and Clara had a large garden, so on the summer campouts, they’d bring giant heirloom tomatoes. Which goes with this recipe today.
Clara Bell’s tacos were always cooked exactly the same. Fried tortillas, ground beef with beans, refried beans, cheese, finely chopped iceberg lettuce, olives, hot sauce, and Schleigh chopped garden tomatoes.
She set the standard high.
She set the standard high for our family. If the tacos were cooked any other way, they just weren’t good enough. :) I’m sure all the young kids, who are all old kids now, have gone on to make Clara’s tacos to meet our own perfect standards.
Healthier approach to a taco.
There are so many ways to make a taco, and today I’m sharing a healthier approach. You take your meat or bean mixture, or as I did, Quinoa Chili, and add Buttercrunch lettuce, and all the toppings.
So tasty. Even more delicious are my sweet memories of Clara Bell, and her tacos topped with her heirloom red tomatoes, diced in large chunks.
The world was a better place with Clara touching so many lives, mostly children, and I can’t wait for the sweet reunion in heaven one day as I get to see my Mom and her lovely friend, Clara.
What’s your healthy way to make tacos?
Quinoa Turkey Chili Lettuce Wraps Lettuce Wraps
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 1 15 oz. cans Mexican-stewed tomatoes, undrained
- 1 15 oz. cans Bush’s black beans, drained
- 2 15 oz. cans Bush’s kidney beans, drained
- 2 cups peach mango salsa, I use Costco’s brand
- 2 tsp. smoked ground cumin
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups pre-cooked quinoa
- Buttercrunch lettuce, large leaves
- 1 can olives
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2-3 heirloom tomatoes, chopped
- Cook quinoa, either on stove (follow directions) or in a rice cooker (directions in summary).
- Cook ground turkey on medium high heat until brown; strain if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add to a large pot, the beans, tomatoes, salsa quinoa, and spices.
- Heat on medium high for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn down to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Chili will be thick and perfect for lettuce wraps!
- Tear off outer leaves of lettuce. Fill each lettuce leaf with a large scoop of Quinoa Chili, topping with sour cream, tomatoes, and olives. Serve!
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