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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Summer Meal - Taco Salad

Coming up with a new meal that everyone in the family loves is difficult. This meal quickly became a family favourite! I can't even remember where I discovered this meal but it was likely when tacos were becoming popular here. It is a perfect way for me to use my home canned salsa and taco hot sauce as well as the taco meat I keep on hand in the freezer. In the summer it is also a perfect way for me to use garden fresh lettuce and tomatoes. I've experimented with the lettuce as well and have found that Chinese mustard leaves add a nice flavour so you don't need to limit the dish to using only lettuce. It is a perfect quick or summer meal as the meat only needs to be warmed in the microwave. The best thing is the dish is so flexible and doesn't heat up your kitchen in the summer!

Taco Salad

A sure to please, flexible, quick meal. It really is a taco without the shell, sort of. Keep prepared ingredients on hand for a real time saving meal! Be warned, the meal is very filling and eyes can be bigger than tummies sometimes. If you use zip loc containers, any left overs can be refrigerated for lunch the next day so clean-up is rather easy. Kids love it because they can choose their own toppings.

Taco Salad
by: Garden Gnome
note: ingredients are listed without measurements because this is a "make it as you please dish" and depending on family size amounts will vary. The fat content can be reduced using lean ground beef, low fat sour cream and low fat cheddar cheese.

prepared taco meat*
shredded leaf lettuce or lettuce of your choice
salsa, hot or mild (homemade)
chopped tomatoes
chopped spanish onions
chopped green peppers
olives, pitted black or green or stuffed
jalapeno rings
taco hot sauce**
sour cream
shredded cheddar cheese
nacho chips or tortillas

Prepare vegetables. Place each ingredient in a separate serving dish and put on the table. Warm meat and place in serving dish. From there it is build your own. My preference is: meat, salsa, lettuce, vegetables, hot sauce, sour cream and cheddar cheese in that order but really any order is good. When it comes to eating everyone finds their own preferrance. I like to eat as is with a fork. My husband rolls his in a tortilla, wrap style. My kids like scooping their creation up with nacho chips.

*Prepared taco meat: Brown lean ground beef and drain. Stir in taco seasoning. I prefer Tone's or homemade but any brand of taco seasoning will work. Pour in enough water to cover. Mix well. Allow to simmer until liquid absorbed. The meat will be saucy but not runny. Allow to cool if not using immediately. If freezing, divide into meal sized portions. Vacuum seal then freeze or use zip loc bags if you want to use for quick snacks. This prepared meat is ideal for quesedillas, tacos or tacao salad.

**Taco Hot Sauce: I am making a batch of Taco Hot Sauce this afternoon. I'll post pictures and the recipe shortly.


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