Katie Workman: The Mom 100, Comfort Food and Ground Turkey Tacos

Taste Buds with Deb - Episode 49
March 27, 2024
Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

Katie Workman spent her childhood reading cookbooks the way others devour books.

“My mom was a great cook, my sister and I grew up cooking in our house … my father was a book publisher and published a lot of cookbooks,” Workman, founder of the Mom 100 website, told the Journal. “We love food [and] we love entertaining.”

When she was growing up, Workman says she made Toll House chocolate chip cookies constantly. She also made Bisquick coffee cakes every Sunday, until her family begged her to stop. “How many coffee cakes can one family eat?” she said. “When I was 12, I got a [hand crank] pasta machine for my birthday, and I used to make pasta all the time … there was always pasta hanging over the back of chairs in our house.”

Workman, author of “The Mom 100 Cookbook” and “Dinner Solved,” and a food writer for the Associated Press, started her career as an assistant cookbook editor and then cookbook editor. As she moved her way up the publishing ladder, she got farther away from cookbooks and food.

“I love cooking, I love feeding people and I love writing,” she said. “When I left book publishing, I became the founding editor-in-chief of a website that no longer exists; it was a recipe based website and an incredible learning experience.”

Then an editor friend approached Workman about writing a cookbook.

“I had the idea for “The Mom 100 Cookbook,” which is 100 recipes every mom needs in her back pocket,” she said. “It was an answer to the everyday cooking challenges, conundrums that parents face, day-in day-out when they’re cooking for their families.”

Whereas many cookbook authors get discovered from their blog, Workman’s journey was the reverse.

“I started the blog as sort of a companion to the cookbook because [in] 2012 food blogs were becoming a thing and you needed an online presence of some sort,” she said.

TheMom100.com started as a “supporting character” to both of her cookbooks; then it started taking off. So Workman shifted her focus.

“It was a ‘go big or go home’ moment,” she said. “I was either going to make the website into something that was going to be a real job or I was going to find something else to do; it ended up becoming a real job.”

Workman says her Jewish background has influenced some of her recipes, and her Jewish recipes, like noodle kugel and brisket, are some of the most popular ones on the site.

“We’re food Jews as much as anything else,” she said. “We definitely  express our Jewishness through cooking and through the holiday meals, such as Passover, Rosh Hashanah, break fast and Yom Kippur.

She adds, “Those meals and foods associated with them were definitely a very, very intrinsic part of my, my childhood.” 

If Workman had to pick a favorite Jewish recipe, it would be latkes.

“I had a latke party this year, which we often do,” she said. “I made 200 latkes and there were only like three of four left.”

She adds,  ”This is the other part of me that’s Jewish; thank God there was some left, because if I had actually run out of food, that would have been devastating.”

Comfort foods are big in her online presence, as well as in Workman’s house.

Tacos, which she often makes with ground turkey, are a particular favorite. Recipe is below.

“Were this Jewish. New York family, and our comfort food is a Mexican or a Tex Mex dish,” she said. “I make my own taco [seasoning] blends, which I spent an enormous amount of time  creating.”

She makes the seasoning in batches, and is taco-ready at any moment. Workman can have tacos on the table in 30 minutes.

Comfort foods inspire a visceral reaction, and there’s nothing like it.

“When somebody says, ‘What are you making?’ [And the answer is] ‘Chicken pot pie, chicken and dumplings, steak and potatoes,’ you have a natural longing for it,” Workman said. “It doesn’t just have to be ‘American food,’ [which is] a weird big bucket.”

There are pockets of food throughout the country, and around the world, that are beloved within their location or culture. They are just out there, waiting to be discovered.

“I love food that the first time that you eat it, you think, ‘Oh, where has this been all my life?’” Workman said.

Learn more about Katie Workman at TheMom100.com.

For the full conversation, listen to the podcast:

Ground Turkey Tacos

These old-school hard shell tacos made with ground turkey will become a much-loved part of the weekly rotation.

Photo courtesy themom100.com


For the Taco Seasoning:

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon sweet paprika

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Pinch cayenne or red pepper flakes (optional)

For the Ground Turkey Tacos:

2 pounds ground turkey

12 Taco shells (approximately)

To Serve (Choose Your Family’s Favorites):

Shredded lettuce

Salsa or taco sauce

Diced tomatoes

Diced avocados


Preheat the oven to 350° F.

In a small bowl or plastic container, mix together the onion powder, salt, chili powder, cornstarch, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne or red pepper flakes, if using. Blend well.

Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray and place over medium-high heat. Add the turkey, and cook, stirring and making sure to really break it up into small crumbles, until it is browned throughout, about 5 minutes. Drain off any liquid. Add the spice mixture and stir for 1 more minute so that you can smell all of the spices. Add ¾ cup of water, and stir until the water is mostly evaporated, and the meat is evenly coated with the spices, and there is still a little bit of liquid in the pan.

Meanwhile, heat the taco shells on a baking sheet (or right on the rack, whichever you prefer) in the oven for 5 minutes until warm and toasty. Place any desired toppings into small individual bowls. Transfer the meat to a serving bowl, place the shells on a plate covered with a napkin or clean dishtowel to keep them warm, and set out with the bowls of toppings. Let everyone serve themselves.


Leftover taco meat can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a skillet over medium heat, stirring often.

Debra Eckerling is a writer for the Jewish Journal and the host of “Taste Buds with Deb.Subscribe on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform. Email Debra: tastebuds@jewishjournal.com.

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