Sunday, August 12, 2012

Taco Salad

I wanted M&M's for dinner. All the M&M's in the world.

"I'm going to the store," I told the DDH. "I'll be back with however many M&M's $105 will buy me."

I didn't buy a single M, as it turns out. I bought sour cream and kidney beans and other things the pantry needed and made taco salad for dinner instead.

Taco Salad.

Taco Salad
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book Special Edition..

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Theoretically, you can make tortilla-shell bowls for your taco salad, just like you get in a Mexican restaurant. All you need to do is take your oiled tortillas and fold them into little individual baking dishes and bake them.

But honestly I don't like getting taco salads in those bowls at the restuarant. The tortilla bowl gets soggy and weird tasting and you never really end up eating it anyway. So I left my tortillas flat.

Either way, you'll need six tortillas. Lay them out on a cookie sheet

and brush one side with water, butter, or oil. You need to get them a bit wet so they don't set on fire or burn, basically, and just water will do the trick. Butter or oil (I used coconut) will add flavor and give them a pretty browning.

Just enough to give them a nice sheen.
Bake your tortillas for 10-20 minutes or until browned on top and a bit crispy. Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, brown 1 pound ground beef and approximately 3 cloves garlic, minced.

Cook until the beef is done; drain off the fat if desired. One benefit of grass-fed beef is that there's rarely enough fat to be worth draining off, only enough to be flavorful. Saves on paper towels and dishes!

Add 2 cans kidney beans (Two cans of beans equals about three cups cooked and drained beans. One cup of dried beans makes about 2 1/2 cups cooked beans. So if you were starting with dried beans the night before, you would prepare about a heaping cup of dried beans, soak, cook, and then add to the recipe here. Or, if you cook bulk batches of dried beans and freeze them, you'll want to grab about three cups and take them out to thaw when you first start the tortillas. Got all that?),

When using canned beans, drain and rinse to help removeexcess sodium.You can reserve the drained liquid of canned and especially home-cooked beans and add it to the salsa for additional flavor and nutrients.

1 1/2 cups salsa, 

Roughly. You can always add water or bean juice tostretch a smaller salsa supply.

1 1/2 cups corn

You can definitely get away with less or omit entirely.I found the sweet corn notes to be disconcerting, but to other people that's the best part.
 to cooked beef.

Beans and corn.

With salsa.

Bring to a boil.

There should be enough liquid for it to boil. If not, add some water.

Turn heat to low and simmer, covered, for ten minutes.

Serve on lettuce with a tortilla. Delicious garnish ideas: cheddar cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, avocado, and green onions.

With cheese and sour cream.
Verdict? Delicious. The salsa you use will greatly affect the final flavor, making it spicier or sweeter. You could use all beans for a vegetarian version or change the meat : beans ratio to reflect your preferences or the supplies you have on hand. Black or pinto beans would be a good substitute for kidney beans.

The DDH and our dinner guest both loved it, even getting seconds. It made excellent leftovers, as well, though the DDH opted to skip the lettuce and make a burrito instead. The meat mixture makes an easy, tasty, and filling Mexican meat for a variety of uses: tacos, burritos, and nachos as well as salads.


  1. Much better for you than M&Ms :-) And it sounds like it was just as tasty, so good for you for making real dinner. I definitely had candy and popcorn for dinner last night. And I don't think JM had anything for dinner last night. We're bad at being adults sometimes :-)

    1. Well, yes. And I was proud of myself for not buying any candy at all on that grocery trip.

      Then the DDH came home on Saturday with not one, not two, but THREE GIANT BAGS of M&Ms. So that's what I ate for just about every meal the rest of the weekend. ^_^

  2. You could have gotten M&Ms for desert. Anyway, I love tacos. I'm going to try your recipe. I'm going to use grass fed beef that I got from La Cense Beef. Their new catalog is so enticing. You should check it out.

    1. Oh, I got some M&Ms eventually!

      We actually go in with my mother-in-law on local cows occasionally, so we are pretty well set in the beef department. ^_^



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