Why is it almost Taco Salad? Because there's no tostada or chips with it. If you want full-blown Taco Salad, just add some. Pretend they're corn-chip croutons. I didn't use those because of a sudden urge to make roasted potatoes and didn't want a lot more carbohydrates in the meal. Besides, if I opened a bag of chips, the whole thing would disappear, and that's anywhere from $1- 2.50, depending on if we're using cheap tortilla chips or Fritos. The potatoes, as our carb, cost about $ .50 instead. Yum.
½ lb. ground beef
1 Tbsp. tomato powder
2 Tbsp. chili powder
Salt to taste
1 head of lettuce (or a half head each Iceburg and red leaf lettuce)
½ green bell pepper
½ red bell pepper
½ c. shredded cheese
1 tomato, cut in wedges
Optional: thin-sliced onion, sliced avocado, jicama cubes, cooked black beans, drained canned corn, canned green chilies....
Cook the beef until browned. Meanwhile, wash and chop lettuce and veggies. Put the lettuce in, then add the vegetables and most of the cheese; mix slightly. When the burger is done, drain off grease, then add tomato powder and chili powder. Stir to coat, taste and add salt if needed. Spread out the meat on a plate to cool more quickly. When it’s cool, top the salad with it and the remaining cheese.
My family thought it was good without salad dressing, but if you want something to drizzle on top, Ranch is a good choice- especially if you mix a little chili powder into it-, OR this:
Creamy Garlic Dressing:
¼ c. plain yogurt or sour cream
1 Tbsp. water or milk
½ tsp. garlic powder
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp. dried parsley, optional, if you want it to look prettier
Whisk until smooth.
Serve with oregano-roasted potato wedges and vegetable sticks.
One of my children is needing to avoid dairy for a while, but I found strawberries on sale and wanted a creamy salad using them. Add some pudding? Not an option. Yogurt? Nope. Whipped cream? No, but... I had coconut cream. The thick, creamy, good stuff you find at the top when you open a can of coconut milk. So I used that. It worked beautifully. Everyone was happy.
It's super fast, too. If you feel like making it fancier, you can whip chilled coconut cream (yes, it whips, just like dairy cream, but goes flat faster if it warms up).
Creamy (Dairy-free) Fruit Salad
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
1 apple, cored and chopped (I leave the peel on)
3 Tablespoons coconut cream
3 drops lime or orange essential oil, optional
2 Tablespoons shredded sweetened coconut
Combine fruit in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, stir together the coconut cream and essential oil, until smooth. Pour over fruit and stir gently to coat. Sprinkle with coconut.
(If you like things sweet or if your strawberries are sour, add 1 Tbsp. honey to the coconut cream mixture
My 12-year-old science nut convinced me to buy a red cabbage- why?
While walking through the produce section together, I had told him that the vegetable could be used to make a pH indicator. He was excited. You can see how to do this in the one-minute video, below.
Meanwhile, you don't need the whole head of cabbage for such a project, so it got chopped up into a creamy, flavorful, no-mayonnaise coleslaw. The recipe is below this cabbage video.
Isn't that simple? If you don't have a coffee filter, any other absorbent paper will work, including (white) construction paper or paper towels. My favorite is the construction paper. You can read more about why this works here
* * * * * * * * * * * * Coleslaw with Bacon and Buttermilk (or Kefir) Dressing
adapted from America's Test Kitchen
If you are going to eat this coleslaw RIGHT AWAY, you can skip the salting step, which keeps the cabbage from releasing water and diluting the dressing as it sits. However, if you’re not a fan of raw onion, cook it along with the bacon; salting the onion also mellows it.
½ medium head of red or green cabbage, shredded
1 large carrot or apple, grated
½ medium onion, sliced thin
6 slices bacon, chopped, cooked and drained
½ c. buttermilk or kefir
2 Tbsp. oil (I used coconut oil)
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
½ Tbsp. caraway seeds
¼ tsp. mustard (dry or prepared)
2 tsp. sugar or honey
Black pepper to taste
Combine the cabbage, carrot/apple, and onion in a colander; sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt. Let stand over a bowl until the veggies wilt, 1-4 hours. Rinse, drain, and pat dry. Add in the bacon (and onion if you cooked them together.) Stir together the buttermilk/kefir, oil, vinegar, caraway, mustard, and sugar. Pour over the salad, and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
A little of this, and a little of that... to make a brightly flavored salad!
There are a couple ways to make this, depending on what you have on hand.
2 (29-oz) cans of sliced or cubed peaches, preferably in light syrup or juice
1/4 c. instant clear jel (like Ultra Gel)*
6-8 drops lemon essential oil *
6 oz. (1 cup) fresh blueberries
Combine the juice or syrup from the cans, clear jel, and essential oil. Whisk together until slightly thickened- it will thicken more within the next 5-10 minutes. Stir in peaches and blueberries. Flavor improves the longer it sits, but it's good right away, too.
Makes 8-10 servings.
*If you don't have instant clear jel on hand- first, I recommend it! You don't have to heat it to get it to thicken food. I use it in sauces, fruit glazes, pie fillings, puddings, salad dressings, jam, cold soups (you can use it in hot soups, but flour and cornstarch are cheaper), frostings, and more- you can substitute 1/4 c. flour instead, or 2 Tbsp. cornstarch. Whisk it in to the juice, then bring the mixture to a boil, whisking often. Let cool a few minutes so it doesn't cook the blueberries.
Another option is to use a 4-serving-size package of instant lemon pudding in place of the clear jel and lemon oil. The pudding is essentially instant clear jel + sugar + flavors and colors.
This is good with all kinds of fruit. Try it with apple, orange sections, mango, banana, pineapple, raspberry, strawberry, apricot...
Frozen fruit works as well, but frozen blueberries will release their juices and turn the whole salad purple. Just so you know.