It's hard to beat the standard American taco — ground beef flavored with a packet of taco seasoning piled with toppings into a crispy, store-bought shell. But with a little extra effort, you can create more gourmet tacos that are appropriate even for a special occasion. Today's recipe comes from Cooking Light magazine.


2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder

32 peeled and deveined large shrimp (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 teaspoon olive oil

8 (6-inch) white corn tortillas

2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

1 ripe avocado, peeled and cut into 16 slices

3/4 cup salsa verde


Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add shrimp, tossing to coat.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp mixture to pan; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from heat.

Heat tortillas in microwave according to package directions. Place 2 tortillas on each of 4 plates; arrange 4 shrimp on each tortilla. Top each tortilla with 1/4 cup lettuce, 2 avocado slices and 1 1/2 tablespoons salsa.

Makes 4 servings.