News of Seasonal Produce Offerings, Auctions, Events, Agritourism and Farmers in Casey County, Kentucky ~ and the Old Order Mennonite & Amish Communities ~ located in the scenic Knobs Region and agricultural heart of Kentucky.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Easy Taco Salad

This is an easy, all-in-one meal salad and perfect for hot days because you can cook the meat ahead and serve it at room temperature or cold from the fridge––or hot from the pan, if you like (I like that option because it emulates nachos when you sprinkle cheese on the meat).

Casey County candy onions are sweet and don't make you cry––
the heart-shaped "Indiana Red" tomato just can't be beat for flavor and meatiness.

I used our own beef, that we had processed in Crab Orchard (there is also at least one butcher in Casey County and I will list them), canned salsa that I made last year (with Casey County tomatoes, peppers, onions and other goodies: I will post a recipe this summer), fresh Casey County candy onions and tomatoes (the variety "Indiana Red," which is particularly meaty and flavorful), and other ingredients from the store (I also get my taco seasoning in bulk at Sunny Valley Country Store on South Fork Creek).

You can add whatever else you like into it, too: chopped cucumbers or peppers, olives, black beans, sweet corn kernels, and thinly sliced jalapeno peppers are some suggestions. If you can get it, the addition of fresh cilantro adds a light lemony buoyancy to the salad and is very refreshing––parsley is a good substitute. [You can find cilantro––and usually two kinds of fresh parsley––in most grocery store produce sections. I have to remember to grow some next summer!]

Our family enjoys this and it makes a light but filling meal. This recipe could easily serve 6 large portions or 8-10 smaller ones. If you like a lot of beef, or want a bit extra for burritos or tacos the next day, cook 3 pounds of meat (and add an additional packet of taco seasoning).

Easy Taco Salad 

• 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
• 1/2 onion, chopped
• 1 package taco seasoning
   (about 1/4-1/3 cup)
• 3 heads of romaine lettuce
• 1 large tomato, chopped
• 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
• 1 to 2 cups shredded cheese
• 1 pint jar salsa
• 1 cup sour cream
• other dressing of your choice (some like Ranch)
• 1 big bag of nacho chips

Brown the chopped onion in a bit of olive oil or other fat and add ground beef. Add fresh ground pepper liberally. When meat is almost browned add taco seasoning, 1 cup water, and simmer for ten minutes. [I also like to add about 1 cup of salsa at this point.] While beef mixture is simmering or just before serving, chop up lettuce and tomato and other vegetable additions. Toss altogether.

With remaining cup of salsa, mix in about 1 cup of sour cream (or use a small bowl). Stir well and refrigerate unless serving soon. This will be the dressing. [You can also use other dressings.] Serve tossed salad on a plate, with meat mixture on top. Sprinkle cheese to taste and add dressing of choice. Don't forget the nacho chips! (On the side or on the bottom of the lettuce.)

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