Friday, November 2, 2012

Taco Salad

As I've said before, there are a few things that I love to make big batches of and keep on hand in the freezer.  Taco meat is one of those.  Besides the obvious use for it, we also make taco salads, nachos, soups, etc. and love the convenience of having it on hand.  This week, we were craving this particular taco salad that my family back home in Nebraska always makes.  Usually, it's all mixed together and taken to a holiday or other family gathering as a side.  I decided to leave it separate, so we could take it as leftovers the next day (once mixed, the lettuce and Doritos don't keep all that well).  Try it for your next pitch in or get together - it's always a big hit!   Just wait to add the Doritos until right before serving so they stay crunchy. 

Taco Salad

Ingredients:  **I always double the taco meat and freeze half, so the recipe reflects that

- 2 lbs. lean ground beef
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 pkgs taco seasoning (or make your own)
- 1 c. water
- 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilis
- 1-2 cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cans sliced black olives, drained
- 1/2 c. chopped green olives (feel free to leave this out, but we are obsessed with green olives in our taco meat!)
- 1 bag Taco flavor Doritos, crushed
- 1 head of lettuce, chopped
- 2 c. shredded cheese
- 1/2 - 3/4 bottle Dorothy Lynch dressing (this is key to the salad, but it's not sold in all areas.  It's made in NE and used to be one of those things we always looked forward to when going there (along with Zesto, Runza, and tiny pop cans which are now everywhere).  When I can find it around here, it's usually been at Walmart.  If not, use a creamy red French dressing.)


1.  In a large skillet or stock pot, brown the ground beef over medium-high heat.  Meanwhile, chop the onion.

2.  Once beef is cooked through and no longer pink, drain the fat.  Add the chopped onion and saute until softened, 1-2 minutes.

3.  Add tomatoes to the beef mixture.  In a mixing cup or small bowl, mix the water and taco seasoning.  Pour into beef mixture, stir to combine.

4.  Add the black olives and red beans. (you can also stir this directly into the salad instead of the taco meat.)

5.  If you're feeling brave, add some green olives, too!

6.  Let the taco meat simmer for about 8-10 minutes, until thickened slightly.  Spoon half of the meat into a quart size freezer bag, allow to cool slightly, then label and freeze.  If mixing into a salad for later, allow to cool.  Then mix everything together in a large bowl, adding the crushed Doritos just before serving.

7.  If serving immediately, spoon warm meat over lettuce and crushed Doritos.  Sprinkle with cheese and drizzle dressing over the top.

sprinkle some cheese on baby's tray, too!

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