Thursday, October 4, 2012

Taco Salad

When I was 14, my family took a 6 week camping trip across the US in just a pop-up camper.  We started in Virginia, made it to Pasadena, CA then up to Victoria Island, Canada, Banff National Park (also in Canada) and eventually back to Virginia.  We camped at the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Yellowstone.  We threw snowballs in Oregon in the middle of July and hiked on a glacier at Banff.  We spent a sleepless night at Lake Meade, so hot, that we attempted to sleep on wet towels.  We stayed at Circus Circus in Las Vegas and extra night or so (because we couldn't stand to spend another night at Lake Meade).  We visited relatives in Kansas, California, and Wisconsin and saw moose, deer, elk, and other wildlife.

All this camping and traveling meant we ate lots of easy of meals at our campsite.  One of our standby's was taco salad.  Recently, I found a recipe for Taco Salad on  Reading the recipe brought back all sorts of crazy camping memories of playing cards at our campsite and listening to ranger talks.  I decided to make it.

This has quickly made it into our summer recipe rotation, especially when time was short for making supper.  I took the recipe that had been updated (with ground buffalo meat and black beans) and reverted to the old recipe that I grew up with.  Feel free to add buffalo or beef if you want, we do this one vegetarian.

The kids will eat this, although a bit begrudingly because of all the lettuce.  I'm going to keep making it though, surely someday they'll start eating lettuce, right?

This serves 4 - 6 depending on how big your head of Romaine is and how hungry your crowd is.

Taco Salad
adapted from

1 (15-oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 - 2 T chili powder (I use New Mexico blend, great flavor, not very spicy)
1 (8-oz) bottle fancier French Dressing or Roasted Bell Pepper Dressing (Brianna's or Annie's)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 head Romaine lettuce, washed, drained and chopped
1 c (4 oz) sharp Cheddar, grated
1 (2.25-oz) can sliced ripe black olives, drained
2 c tortilla chips, lightly crushed

In a small bowl, combine the beans, chili powder and a dash of salt.  Set aside.  Place the lettuce in a large salad bowl.  Gently toss in the tomatoes, grated cheese, drained olives, and seasoned beans.  Pour 3/4 of the dressing over the salad and toss.  Taste and add more dressing if you'd like (we do).  Top with crushed tortilla chips toss just a bit, and serve.

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