Taco, Burrito, Well…

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. Assemble on plates however you like to do it, and top with hot sauce.

ANOTHER TACO SALAD

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3.  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).
  4. Mix 1 cup sour cream with 1 cup tomatillo salsa. Drizzle on salad, serve immediately, and devour completely.
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