Two new books I have acquired and recipes for a couple taco salads.
Somehow at the library I picked up a couple books I found online with good reviews. One is 400 Best Sandwich Recipes (Lewis) and the other is 300 Best Taco Recipes (Coffeen). During my month-long stray from my usual food menu (aimed at trying out a few new books and recipes just for this blog), I am going to spend two of those four precious weeks cooking (overstatement) largely from these two books. I have not started yet, but I am drooling thinking about all the awesome tacos (hopefully) that I will ingest soon, all for your benefit. What simpler meals can we highlight besides tacos, wraps, and sandwiches? If anything on a healthy menu is approachable, it is a sandwich or a taco.
In honor of this coming project (and of summer), I am going to give you my two taco salad recipes. The first is the one I grew up with in the Midwest, the one I use most now. It is very Midwestern-y but, in my opinion, makes a great supper for a sultry evening, and kids love it. The second is just different than the first. Neither are authentic to any cuisine, but do you really care?
MIDWESTERN SPECIALTY TACO SALAD
- In a skillet with a little oil brown 1 pound ground beef, bison, turkey, or chicken or 12 ounces Quorn or Boca crumbles. Add in all-natural taco seasoning packet, per packet’s instructions. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, shred 1/2 head romaine or butter lettuce, dice 1 large tomato, dice 1 small, white onion, grate 2 cups Monterrey Jack, cheddar, or queso fresco, and slice 1 can drained, black olives. Place all ingredients in separate bowls or in a divided server.
- In more bowls or compartments, place 1 cup sour cream (preferably mixed with enough cream to make sort of pourable), and a small package whole flour or corn tortilla chips. (You could also use Tias, to keep with an 80s tradition of Doritos but without the MSG, etc.)
- Assemble on plates however you like to do it, and top with hot sauce.
ANOTHER TACO SALAD
- In a large skillet with a little olive oil, brown 1 pound ground beef or 12 ounces Boca crumbles along with 1 small, diced onion, 1 diced, green bell pepper, 1 seeded and minced jalapeno, and 2 cloves pressed garlic.
- Add 1 tablespoon chili powder and 2 teaspoons ground cumin and stir well. Add 1 cup frozen sweet corn, 1 cup black or pinto beans, drained, 1/3 cup catsup or tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes. If needed, throw in a little water to bring together and keep from drying out.
- On a large platter, layer 1 head torn romaine or 2-3 chopped romaine hearts, the beef mixture, 2 cups quartered grape tomatoes, 1 cup shredded, sharp cheddar cheese, a few chopped scallions, and 1 diced avocado (or 2, if you love them as much as I do).
- Mix 1 cup sour cream with 1 cup tomatillo salsa. Drizzle on salad, serve immediately, and devour completely.