What to Cook While You’re Cooking

Naked Steak Tacos

Hi! Holiday season is a crazy time. I love cooking for the holidays, but I’m often over ambitious when it comes to how much I can make. While freaking out about how much I had agreed to bring to our Thanksgiving this year, I realized that one of the reasons I was feeling so overwhelmed was that I’d never had a full time, 9-5, or in my case 6:00 job during the holidays before and I wasn’t sure I would have enough time to get everything done. Cooking for the holidays after work, especially for the Thanksgiving holiday, is even harder than cooking a regular meal after work. I decided to make myself a cooking/shopping schedule for my nights after work. Once I saw what actually needed to be accomplished on paper, it felt much more doable. Making a list or schedule for yourself is a great way to figure out what you can actually make in advance. You might make your schedule and realize you can’t make anything in advance. My advice to you would be to substitute a few things, because even though you “did your best work” during all nighters in college, I have learned the hard way that this theory often doesn’t apply to post-grad life, if ever.

I decided that it made the most sense to do all of my grocery shopping yesterday, that way if I couldn’t find something I had a few days left to get it. While I was at the supermarket checking off item after item, it dawned on me that I was hungry, and not for Thanksgiving dinner, but for a normal, Monday night dinner. I love Thanksgiving food, but for some reason I never want to eat any part of it until Thanksgiving, possibly because I know it’s probably all I’m going to be eating for a week straight afterwards. Last night I was making the cranberry component to our Thanksgiving dinner and I tried out a recipe for Pickled Cranberry Sauce which I then canned and put away until Thursday.

Pickled Cranberry Sauce

I find it really hard to feed myself a real meal when I’m cooking. I told myself that I would not succumb to ordering in and I would find something inexpensive and fast to make for dinner. I decided to make a tortilla-less taco. Not a taco salad. Just the taco filling topped with my favorite things. It was majorly good and this is a dish I would recommend anyone make, whether you’re in the middle of prepping for Thanksgiving or you just feel like eating a plate of meat. I have written the recipe below with steak, however, if you prefer chicken or fish you can certainly substitute it.


Naked Steak Tacos

Serving Size: 1

Active Time: 20 minutes

Skill Level: EASY!

What You’ll Need

  • A sauté pan or grill
  • A bowl
  • A cutting board
  • A sharp knife


  • 1 avocado (cut into 1 inch cubes)
  • 1/2 small red onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbs pickled jalapeños (chopped)
  • 2 plum tomatoes (cut into 1 inch cubes)
  • Juice of one lime
  • Cilantro (finely chopped) *optional
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded Mexican cheese
  • 1 6oz skirt steak (It might not be exactly 6 oz, but they usually come in fairly small quantities in the meat section of the super market)
  • Unsalted butter (if you only have salted butter, go easy on your salt when cooking the steak)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Prep the first 5 ingredients and stir them together in a bowl. If you don’t like spice, then use less.  Season with salt. Place in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. I think using pickled jalapeños is a nice twist to classic guacamole.

Remove the steak from its packaging. I like using skirt steak when making tacos because it cooks really quickly and I always seem to be in a rush to eat when I decide to make them. Season each side with generous amounts of salt and pepper. Heat your butter in the pan on medium high heat. Once the butter begins to sizzle, add the steak. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side. You should see a golden brown color on each side and it should start to crisp a bit. If your meat is gray, it’s not done. I like my steak medium rare.

Remove your steak from the pan and let it rest. Meat doesn’t stop cooking once it’s out of the pan, so even if it feels a little undercooked, trust yourself. Skirt steak is not the most refined meat you will eat, so if it gets too well done it might be a bit tough. If you like your steak well done I might suggest making this dish with chicken.

Once your meat has rested, slice it. You can slice it however you most like it. It’s your dinner after all. Dab your meat on a paper towel before placing it on your plate. Even if it’s rested for a few minutes, it could still bleed a bit. Top the steak with a big dollop of guacamole and then on top of that add a spoonful of sour cream. Sprinkle with cheese….and enjoy! If you have any guacamole left over you can have it on your eggs in the morning!


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