I always look forward to the warm weather of the spring and summer, not only because I grew up in the desert of southern California, but also because meals become simpler. Although I enjoy the comfort foods of winter, summer cooking steals my heart. I love the simplicity of what you can do with fresh ingredients--throwing together a salad is one of the simplest and freshest ways of cooking in my book. I was excited last week, then, when my husband requested the first salad-as-a-meal of the year--taco salad. This is the salad I grew up eating, and although I've changed up the ingredients somewhat, it's really my mom's recipe. Thanks, Mom!
Cook's Note: This is more of a guide than a flatout recipe. Don't like ground beef? Use chicken! Do you have some fresh veggies from the garden? Throw them in! You get the idea... :-)
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon of your favorite taco seasonings (I use Penzey's Bold Taco.)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6-8 cups of your favorite lettuce
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 avocado, chopped
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2-1 cup pepperjack cheese
Crushed tortilla chips
Cook the ground beef along with the taco seasoning, salt and pepper until well browned. Strain the grease and set the ground beef aside in a bowl lined with paper towels to cool.
In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado, kidney beans and cheese. Place a serving of salad in a wide bowl and top with a handful of ground beef and crushed tortilla chips. Dollop a bit of sour cream and some salsa on top, and mix until the salad is covered with the dressing.
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