Thursday, February 4, 2010

Taco Salad


I should probably state up front that this is not your normal, average taco salad.  This is my mom's taco salad.  Now, I grew up in Illinois-the daughter of Croatian and Polish parents.  We're about as far removed from authentic Mexican cuisine as one can get.

But this is a comfort food to me.  It nourishes my soul.  I live 2,000 miles away from my mom now, but when I make this it's like getting a big hug from her.  It just makes me happy. 

Bear with me; give this a try and see if you don't like it too. 

Here's your grocery list:


Ground beef, chili beans, kidney beans, Chili-O seasoning, lettuce, tomato, taco Doritos, and cheese (pretend you see it; it's key)

The first point of business is to brown your ground beef and drain when completely browned.


While your beef is cooking, you can dice up your tomatoes.  I like Roma tomatoes the best.  I cut them in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, lay the cut side down and slice in long strips.  Then turn 90 degrees and cut across the slices you just made.  Voila, diced tomato.


Take a minute while the beef is finishing to drain your kidney beans.  Give them a little shower to get all of that slimy stuff off.  I'm not a slime fan unless it's green and being dumped on your head. 

(Remember You Can't Do That on Television?  I loved that show...especially when watching it while eating taco salad!  But, I digress.)


Let's talk seasoning for a moment.  Remember, this is not a traditional recipe.  I'm not sure how my mom started using Chili-O seasoning, but she insisted on it.  If you can't try Chili-O, you can substitute a taco seasoning packet with similar results; but it won't taste quite the same.  And my mom will be sad.  Don't tell her.


Add the chili beans (Brooks Chili hot beans are my favorites, but up here I can only find Bush's chili beans in mild sauce), kidney beans, and Chili-O to the drained ground beef.


Give it all a good stir and cook over medium heat until it's heated through.  No need to bring it up to a boil, just get it nice and hot all the way through.


Get some good cheese and employ child labor to get a good chunk of it grated. 


This is my eldest's hand.  He's a guitar player.  Short, short nails, but good for grating cheese.  It's a valuable skill in my house.


At this point, my mom would mix everything together in a bowl and serve it up.  I like to put my ingredients in separate bowls and let everyone serve themselves.  It usually takes us a couple of days to finish, so this way our lettuce doesn't get all soggy in the fridge.

One note--give your doritos a little crush to make them smaller and easier to eat.  Then call in the troops and have them load up their plates.  We usually add salsa, sour cream, and guacamole if we have it.  Some people enjoy onions and black olives on it as well. 


I hope you give this a try sometime; it's different, but it really is tasty! :)


Taco Salad
1 pound ground beef
27 ounce can chili beans
15 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 packet Chili-O seasoning
1-2 heads of lettuce, whatever variety your family prefers, cut into small pieces
2-3 tomatoes, seeded and diced.
1 bag taco flavored doritos, crushed
Shredded Cheese
Sour cream, salsa, guacamole for toppings

In a large skillet brown ground beef.  Drain off fat.  Add chili beans, kidney beans, and seasoning.  Stir and cook until heated well throughout.  Serve over broken chips and lettuce.  Top with tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, salsa, and guacamole.

7 comments:

Sinful Southern Sweets said...

That looks like the best taco salad I've ever seen...loved the sentiment about your mom. Thanks for sharing one of your comfort foods!

Velva said...

Your taco salad looks fabulous! The best meals are those that are eaten together or remind us of someone we love. Thanks for sharing.

Robyn said...

That's what I love about your recipes Missy, they are real food that real people will eat and usually are easy to make! Have to try this one on the fam. Steve's mom has a similar version oddly enough but I like your recipe using the Doritos and the ChiliO seasoning instead of regular taco shells and taco seasoning. Seems like it would give it that just right twist:)

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