Sometimes you just have to have a taco. After a week or two of nothing but turkey and mashed potato holiday meals, for example, (though they are delightful), nothing is quite so appealing as a taco, all crunchy and cheesy and salsa-y.

But year-round you can put all kinds of yummy stuff in a taco shell, from fish to chicken to veggies and sauces. You also can put the traditional flavors of a taco into other forms, such as a casserole or burger.

Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Jalapeno Mango Slaw

Prep time: 15 minutes.

Refrigerate Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Makes 6 servings.

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons dried jalapeno peppers, diced

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 count), peeled and deveined

3 cups shredded cabbage

1 mango, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

2 tablespoons chopped red onion

6 flour tortillas (6-inch)

— Mix oil, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, honey, garlic powder and salt in small bowl with wire whisk. Reserve 1/4 of the marinade. Pour remaining marinade into large resealable bag. Add shrimp; turn to coat well. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix cabbage, mango and onion in large bowl. Add reserved marinade; toss to coat. Cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Brush 1 side of each tortilla with oil. Grill, oil-side down, over medium heat 2 to 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove tortillas; cover with towel to keep warm.

Remove shrimp from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade. Grill shrimp over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes per side or until shrimp turn pink.

To serve, place 3 shrimp on each tortilla. Top with slaw and serve immediately.

Per serving: 272 calories, 521mg sodium, 12g fat, 26g carbohydrates, 112mg cholesterol, 3g fiber, 15g protein.

Asian Steak Tacos with Spicy Mushroom Salsa

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Refrigerate Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Makes 8 servings.

Asian Steak Tacos:

6 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried lemon peel

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon Sicilian sea salt

2 pounds skirt steak, trimmed

8 flour tortillas (6-inch), warmed

Spicy Mushroom Salsa:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 pound shiitake or cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced (about 3 cups)

2 large shallots, sliced into rings

1 teaspoon dried chipotle chile peppers

2 tablespoons chopped green onion

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed

1/4 Sicilian sea salt

— For the Tacos, mix oil, soy sauce, honey, lime juice, garlic, ginger, lemon peel and sea salt in small bowl until well blended. Place steak in glass dish. Rub seasoning mixture all over steak. Cover. Refrigerate 1 hour or longer for extra flavor.

Meanwhile, for the Salsa, heat oil in large skillet on high heat. Add mushrooms; cook and stir 4 minutes or until golden brown. Add shallots and chipotle chile pepper; cook and stir 3 minutes or until shallots begin to brown. Spoon mushroom mixture into medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients; toss lightly. Set aside.

Grill steak over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes per side or until medium-rare doneness. Remove steak to cutting board. Let stand 5 minutes. Slice steak across the grain into thin slices. Serve in warmed tortillas topped with Spicy Mushroom Salsa.

Per serving: 435 calories, 1003mg sodium, 27g fat, 21g carbohydrates, 51mg cholesterol, 1g fiber, 27g protein.

(Created by Cat Cora, Bon Appetit Executive Chef, for the McCormick Gourmet Collection.)

Taco Casserole

Serves: 6

1 1/2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey

1 package taco seasoning mix

1 can (16 ounces) pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce

1 can (11 ounces) Mexican-style corn or whole kernel corn, drained

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup coarsely crushed tortilla chips

Assorted toppings, such as sour cream, sliced green onions, shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes (optional)

— Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brown meat in large skillet on medium-high heat. Drain fat.

Stir in seasoning mix, beans, tomato sauce and corn. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes. Spoon into 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese and tortilla chips.

Bake 5 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with assorted toppings, if desired.

To decrease sodium by 474mg per serving, use 30 percent less sodium taco seasoning mix, no-salt-added tomato sauce and unsalted tortilla chips.

Per serving: 417 calories, 1248mg sodium, 21g fat, 27g carbohydrates, 83mg cholesterol, 30g protein, 5g fiber.

Turmeric Spiced Chicken with Tomato Avocado Salsa

Prep Time: 15 minutes

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Cook Time: 16 minutes

Serves: 8

Step 1:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon Sicilian sea salt

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, trimmed

Step 2:

6 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (2 1/2 cups)

2 avocados, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (1 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped red onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon Sicilian sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 cups frisee or other lettuce

8 flour tortillas (8-inch)

— For the Chicken, mix oil, garlic powder, sea salt, turmeric and red pepper in small bowl. Place chicken in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat well. Refrigerate 30 minutes or longer for extra flavor.

Meanwhile, for the Salsa, mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Remove chicken from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade.

Grill chicken over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes per side or until cooked through. Cut chicken into thin strips. Place 1/4 cup lettuce on each tortilla. Fill with chicken and Salsa. Fold sides of tortilla over filling and roll up to serve.

Per serving: 397 calories, 882mg sodium, 21g fat, 27g carbohydrates, 74mg cholesterol, 25g protein, 4g fiber.

Cheesy Taco Burgers

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 6

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips

1 package cheesy taco mix

6 slices Cheddar or American cheese (optional)

6 hamburger rolls

Lettuce, tomato and salsa (optional)

— Mix ground beef, tortilla chips and seasoning mix in large bowl until well blended. Shape into 6 patties.

Grill, broil or cook in nonstick skillet on medium heat 5 minutes per side or until burgers are cooked through (internal temperature of 160 degrees). Add cheese slices to burgers 1 minute before cooking is completed.

Serve burgers on rolls with desired condiments and toppings.

Per serving: 333 calories, 657mg sodium, 13g fat, 27g carbohydrates, 71mg cholesterol, 27g protein, 1g fiber.

(All recipes courtesy McCormick Foods)

Reach Karen Herzog at 701-250-8267 or karen.herzog@bismarcktribune.com.

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