Crunchy Taco Salad

As a food blogger, there are a few times a week (especially when we get a little closer to those dark winter evenings) I make our dinner at lunchtime. The light is much better in the afternoon/morning/evening than around 7ish when we get around to dinner in our family. This also gives me a chance to plan something else for dinner if the recipe flops. Thankfully, this taco bowl was one of the WIN recipes! I was able to reheat the meat perfectly at dinnertime, crunch some new tortilla chips, grab the pico de gallo, cheese, and guac from the fridge and BAM, dinnertime was on the table within minutes. 

It saves so much time, and we end up with an awesome dinner without any stress at all at crunch time. 

The meat is just your basic taco meat with seasonings, but instead of using the spice packets, I just added in my own favorite taco blend from the seasonings I already have in my pantry. Make sure the ground beef browns before you start tasting when you season everything. Pink ground beef is no bueno. I like to make sure my beef is browned to the point of a little char even. This adds so much flavor to regular ground beef. After the beef is browned, toss in the seasonings (go easy on the chili powder if you don't want it to be too spicy - especially if you're serving it to little ones) and chopped jalapeno. Let that cook for a little bit, then add in the garlic. You don't want the garlic to burn, so only let it cook for maybe a minute until really fragrant. Remove from the heat, and you have all the making for your taco bowl. Layer the chips, ground beef, pico de gallo ingredients, and a heaping dollop of guacamole. Add some chopped romaine if you wish, and enjoy a quick and easy dinner tonight! 

Crunchy Taco Salad
makes 4 servings

1 lb ground beef
salt and pepper 
1 T cumin
1/2 t chili powder 
1/2 t paprika
1 medium onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 T garlic, minced
4 handfuls of tortilla chips
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
salt and pepper 
1/4 C cilantro, chopped
shredded monterrey jack cheese
guacamole & sour cream
4 handfuls of tortilla chips

1. In a medium pan, heat oil and brown the ground beef (make sure there's a nice dark brown color and some toasting), about 4 minutes. Season with cumin, chili, and paprika. Toss in jalapeno and onion and cook until translucent, 2 minutes. Add in garlic and cook for about a minute. Cook everything through, and set aside. 
2. Make the pico topping: In a small bowl, stir together tomatoes, onion, oil, cilantro, and season with salt and pepper. 
3. Assemble the bowl: lightly smash one handful of tortilla chips in 4 serving bowls. Add warm beef mixture, top with cheese, tomato mixture and guac. Serve warm. 

Recipe source: Baking with Blondie

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