Never heard of picadillo? I hadn’t either until Mr. Squid, who spent two years in Mexico, got me hooked on this meat and potatoes dish. I mean, literally meat and potatoes.

Picadillo, not to be confused with pico de gallo, is a South American dish that’s made just a little bit differently depending on where you have it. The Cuban version is studded with raisins and olives (no potatoes), other countries include hard-broiled eggs.

But the Mexican version is the one I like.

As I’ve been trying to get my family to eat just a bit healthier, picadillo has become one of our go-to dishes (promise, it’s not a New Year’s resolution thing, it’s more of a my-kids-are-all-in-basketball-now-and-can’t-stop-eating-so-it-better-be-good-for-them thing). It’s fast and easy. Plus, it’s packed with fresh ingredients–and it heats up beautifully on day 2.

Making the dish is pretty simple too. You cook ground meat, add chopped, boiled potatoes and then pour in a fresh tomato sauce. Let it simmer while you toast corn tortillas–that’s it.

Now before I get into the recipe, I’ve gotta make a plea here–please no hard taco shells, unless you’re frying them yourself (which would definitely blow the calorie count for the dish). Instead, toast corn tortillas one at a time–if you’re lucky enough to have a gas stovetop this should go quickly. The flavor of toasted corn tortillas is so unlike the hard taco shells and even very different than if you simply heat up the tortillas instead of toasting. And it’s better for you too. Okay, enough convincing, here’s the recipe…

Turkey Picadillo


1.5 pounds ground turkey

3 medium-sized potatoes

4 medium-sized tomatoes

1 large onion

1-2 cloves garlic

1/2 serrano chile pepper (optional)

cilantro (optional)

limes (optional)

corn tortillas


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove.
  2. Wash and peel the potatoes.
  3. Dice the potatoes into small pieces and cook them in the water until they’re soft.
  4. Cut up the tomatoes and onions in large pieces. Place the tomatoes and onions in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth (along with the chile pepper and a handful of cilantro, if you’re using them). Set aside.
  5. Add 1 teaspoon canola oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil is heated, add the ground turkey.
  6. Once the meat is cooked through add the potatoes and the tomato mixture. Let the ingredients simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.
  7. Toast 2 to 3 corn tortillas for each person. (Keep them heated by placing in either a tortilla warmer or in a clean kitchen cloth).
  8. To serve place a heaping 1/2 cup of the picadillo on each person’s plate and put the tortillas and cut limes on the table (alternatively, you can fill each corn tortilla and serve it that way).
  9. I sometimes serve picadillo tacos with chopped tomatoes, lettuce and cheese. But most often, we eat them plain with just a little bit of lime juice squeezed on top.

Along with trimming calories at the dinner table, check out these simple ideas for giving your family a healthy makeover. I’ve been looking through the site as part of the Motherboard team. Once a week, I’ll be posting about the exciting things not to miss on the their site, and their affiliates.

What about you? Are you trying to eat just a little bit better–and looking to convince your family to do the same?

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