TACO SALAD – MUY BUENO!

Taco Salad

Taco Salad

Taco Salad_Printable Recipe

We all eat & it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly ~ Anna Thomas

Now before I say anything else I want to go on record stating that I AM NOT A SALAD IS A MEAL PERSON.  Anytime I sit down for a meal I require satisfaction.  This doesn’t mean I don’t eat healthy, I just prefer salad as PART of my meal.  But a salad like this?  I have had this for many meals and I am sure I will for many more.  This is actually my own version of a taco salad my grandmother has been making for years.  It’s an old family favorite that I have taken, added some of my own touches and a few healthier substitutes.  I make this a lot in the summer especially.

This is one of those recipes that hits every craving, taste, texture you could ever want and all at the same time.  It’s fresh and crisp, sweet, crunchy, salty, it can be as spicy as you want, and creamy & cool.  You can add or omit anything you want!  A few years ago I entered the recipe into a calorie calculator and a HUGE (we’re talking like 2 1/2 to 3 cups) was like 250 calories.  CLUTCH!

I want to get cooking with you but I have a couple of things I want to mention before we start.  First of all, I didn’t add cheese to the ingredients list but by all means add it if you like.  I love cheese in this salad but you know, swimsuit season and all….so I left it out of mine.  You will notice in the pics that I added chicken on top of the salad but also didn’t add to the ingredients list.  I had leftover grilled chicken so I just sliced it and served it cold on top.  You can add any kind of meat you like if you want some.  Leftover steak (something that gets ruined if reheated) can be sliced cold and is my personal favorite topper to this salad.  Shrimp, salmon, chicken, whatever you want!  Like most of my recipes if you don’t like something I put in then just leave it out.  If you want more or less of something then do it that way.  Want more beans, do it!  Don’t like avocados, skip them!This salad, especially this salad, is a blank canvas.  Get creative!  If you have an idea to add then please try it!

SALAD INGREDIENTS:

• 10 oz. mixed greens or chopped romaine lettuce, washed

I just buy the bags or boxes of mixed greens that are already washed, ready to serve.  You can truly use any kind of lettuce you want.  I prefer mixed greens or romaine because they can stand up to the other flavors.
• 1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
• 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained & rinsed

Make sure you rinse the beans.  The liquid they come in is not tasty.  You can use any beans you enjoy.  I use these because my family & I love them. 
• 1 15 oz. can black olives, drained

You can use fresh black olives too.
• 2 cups corn

Defrosted frozen or canned corn is totally acceptable.  I also love to grill my corn on the cob for this salad.  I will add some instructions on grilling the corn and tomatoes near the end of the blog.
• 1 10 oz. bag Chili Cheese Fritos

This is the kind my grandma always uses so this is what I use.  Any kind of tortilla chip is fine – blue corn would be fantastic.  You could even make your own if you are feeling ambitious.
• 2 avocados, peeled, seeded & sliced

Confession:  I cannot stand avocados!  But I know I am in the minority on this so I am adding them in.
• 3 tomatoes, chopped

Some other toppings could be meat, some cheddar, Monterrey Jack, queso fresco cheese, sliced jalapeno or pablano.  I had some sweet bell peppers so I sliced them up and added them to mine.  They add a great flavor and crunch.

DRESSING INGREDIENTS:

These amounts are all eyeballed in my house.  If you aren’t used to doing that feel free to measure them out.  This dressing is creamy but very light.  I like it a little thinner than most. 
• ¾ cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt

I like to use the yogurt because its healthier and very similar in flavor & texture to the sour cream my grandma uses. Use what you want.
• ¼ cup mayonnaise

I prefer olive oil mayonnaise.  Use what you have.
• 1 small pinch kosher salt
• 4 green onions (scallions)

These will add a nice background spice to your creamy dressing.  If you don’t have them on hand don’t worry about it.  You could also put the avocado in the dressing instead of on top of the salad.
• 2 tablespoons chili powder

I know this seems like a lot of chili powder but we need it to be so it can compliment the creamy tang of the yogurt.  Believe me they compliment each other beautifully.
• ¼ – ½ cup milk

Whatever kind of milk you have in the fridge is fine.  This is added to make the dressing less thick which is why I gave a range amount.  You can make it as thin or as thick as you like.  I don’t like huge gobs of creamy dressing – I want it thinly distributed all over my salad.

NOTE:  If you are not a fan of creamy dressing or for some reason stay away from dairy – not to worry.  My mom makes this salad all the time but just used a quality French dressing.  That’s the name – French.  It may sound like a weird type to put on a taco salad but it totally works!

DRESSING DIRECTIONS:

Put all the ingredients (start with ¼ cup milk) into blender and blend on high until smooth. Do a taste test. Add any needed salt or chili powder. If dressing is too thick add more milk and blend a couple of tablespoons at a time until desired thickness.

If you are omitting the onions you can do this whole thing without a blender.  Just put it in a jar, screw the lid on tight and shake away.  My daughter loves to help doing it that way. Make sure you cut off the dry ends of the green onions as well as the tip with the roots!

Just throw it all in.

Just throw it all in.

Blend until smooth.

Blend until smooth.

Pour into seal-able container & refrigerate until ready to use.

This will last about a week in the fridge.

SALAD DIRECTIONS:

In a large serving bowl pour about 2/3 of the dressing on the bottom. Top with the greens, tomatoes and Fritos. Toss until dressing is evenly distributed. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients evenly over the top and serve.

Putting the dressing on the bottom is a great way to make sure it doesn’t end up in random gobs.  When you toss the salad it will distribute evenly so every bite has the right amount.  I like to add all the stuff on top because #1 it looks beautiful and #2 if you toss the salad with all those things they kind of sink to the bottom.  When I am making an individual plate I just drizzle it on top like this.

YUMMER

YUMMER

Easy peasy, right?  If I am not planning to serve all of this at once, I just keep the greens in their own bag and all the beans, corn & olives in a Tupperware container together in the fridge.  Then when I want to eat just my own serving I assemble a single serving in a bowl, add the chips & dressing and go to town.

All in one container, ready to use!

All in one container, ready to use!

GRILLING CORN & TOMATOES

One added touch I like to do is to grill my corn (on the cob) and tomatoes.  It’s really easy.  Just drizzle with olive or vegetable oil, sprinkle with kosher salt & pepper.  Grill for about 5 minutes or until grill marks appear.  Just watch them closely.   If you are nervous about the corn then wrap each cob in foil first.  It will steam on the grill.

Seasoned & ready to grill!

Seasoned & ready to grill!

Check them often

Check them often

This is how you get the kernels off

This is how you get the kernels off

Oh yeahhhh

Oh yeahhhh

Thanks for stopping by BradyMunch! All feedback is welcome! I hope you try this recipe because I know you will love it!
See you on the flip side folks!
Don’t forget to email questions & feedback to bradymunchblog@yahoo.com &
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Taco Salad

Taco Salad

DISCLAIMER: All recipes are just a jumping off point – unless I specify otherwise all ingredients or amounts are changeable. If you don’t like it then don’t use it! If you don’t have it then check your cupboard for a good dub. Remember – if you buy junk ingredients your end result will taste like junk! That being said, quality doesn’t always mean more expensive!! And most important of all, bring some pleasure into your kitchen – have some fun while cooking! Put on music, get the family involved (family time doesn’t just have to be at the table!), find things you like and enjoy the adventure. If I can do it, you can definitely do it! Like I said before – IT’S NOT THAT HARD! And if you mess up then make some PB&J and try again tomorrow. Mistakes and disasters are part of the journey. Don’t let a mistake or the possibility of one stop you!

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Risotto Primavera by Erin Brady

My weekly recipe on Eating For Our Futures – Risotto Primavera. Check out the rest of the EFF blog while you’re there – Adria has some great stuff!

Eating for our Future

I picked Risotto Primavera as this week’s EFF recipe. Primavera means the season of Spring in Italian, but in food language it usually means lots of vegetables. For those of you not familiar, risotto is an Italian rice dish, commonly seen in higher end restaurants. It originates from Northern Italy and is a creamy, luxurious dish. There are about as many types of risotto as there are stars in the sky. You can pretty much use the basic recipe and then go from there. I will add suggestions and ideas as we go. I can also promise you that this will not be the last risotto you see from me. Risotto and where you can go with it has become a staple here at the Brady compound.
It’s creamy, it’s rich, and it’s comforting. It can be cheesy, brimming with freshness, or meaty. And it can be all of that…

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