Monday, 17 June 2013

Taco Salad


I used to love when my Michigan relatives came for a visit. We’d send my uncle off to the park in the morning to reserve a picnic table (and clean off the bird poop). A few hours later, the Americans would arrive in their visors and Detroit Tigers hats, car trunks loaded up with boxes of chips and buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken, announcing, “Oh my gad! Can someone get Bannie a pap?”

It was Bonnie, in fact, who first introduced me to Taco Salad. I remember the exact moment she brought out the bowl, tore open a bag of Doritos, crushed them up and poured them in. “Cheez of Whiz," I thought. “Them American cakers know how to do things right.”

Perfect for a summer picnic, Taco Salad (not to be confused with the equally delicious Taco Salad Casserole) combines ground beef, cheese, iceberg lettuce, and yes, Doritos. I’m warning you ahead of time – you won’t be able to stop eating this. Make sure there are other people around. Otherwise, your tears will make the Doritos all soggy.

4 tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped (see note)
1 pound ground beef, cooked
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 bag crushed Doritos
1 head lettuce
250 ml bottle Catalina salad dressing

Prepare everything ahead of time. Mix everything together approximately five minutes before serving. (This salad is great for large gatherings. Even half this recipe makes a large salad suitable for a family of four.)

Note: My taste testers found the onion a bit strong. I used white onion. They suggested green onions might be better. Whatever. Everyone’s a critic.

Source: What’s Cooking at St. Joseph





30 comments:

  1. Yum. Now this is my kind of salad. I like that there's a good cheese-to-vegetable ratio.
    Just as an aside, there's a restaurant here the puts Tater Tots on their salads. Isn't that the best?

    Also, Taco Salad Flambé.

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    1. Tater Tots on salads? Where do you live? Fantasy Island? If so, make me a reservation for two. Tattoo will be joining me.

      I tried to flambé this salad, but my taste testers complained the lighter fluid left an aftertaste. God. People are so finicky these days.

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    2. In Pittsburgh we put french fries on our steak and chicken salads.
      We also put french fries on sandwiches.
      Because Pittsburgh is the best place on the planet.

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    3. Um. Hell yes. French Fries on everything! Go Pittsburgh!

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    4. I don't understand. You put french fries ON the sandwich? Is this just to make room on the plate for more fries?

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    5. If it isn't, it should be.

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  2. I absolutely love this stuff. I could eat pounds of it. (Yes, I am an American Caker!) Though I hadn't heard of the Doritos with it - down in Oklahoma we just used regular tortilla chips, or Fritos. Good gracious, I'm totally going to make this.

    I have a Minnesota Caker recipe to submit. I was visiting Minnesota friends last night and they served fruit salad. Recipe: one can of peach pie filling; sliced bananas and strawberries and whatever fruit you have on hand. That's it. I almost shouted out THAT'S A CAKER SALAD!!!! But I refrained. (Also, I didn't actually try it. What. There were no mini marshmallows. How could I?!)

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    1. Amy, I'm down with the Fritos, but you might want to give the Doritos a whirl. The neon-orange cheese powder makes this such a pretty salad.

      I don't blame you for not trying that Minnesota caker salad. No mini marshmallows??? I'm glad you stood your ground on principle. As far as the salad, I'll give it a whirl, although I'm not used to eating that much fruit. It might send my system into shock.

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    2. No way! This past weekend my mother made both taco salad and the pie filling salad (except she used apple pie filling, cheaper, you know, than peach!). If I ever had doubts about coming from caker stock, this recent meal proves it, doubly!

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    3. Sara, your mother sounds like a good cook to me. Nothing better than a double whammy of cakery!

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  3. We ate this growing up - loved it! Yes to the Doritos. For sure. Although instead of Catalina we used sour cream with a few shakes of tobasco. Pretty yummy too : )

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    1. You're right, Kim. Sour cream would be good in this, as well. But I'm partial to my Kraft salad dressing. If I ever have a kid, I'm naming it Peppercorn Ranch.

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  4. We used to make this with Italian dressing instead of Catalina and added Black olives as well. That may have been a regional variation

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    1. Truthfully, I think you could use motor oil in this and it would still taste good. It's all about those Doritos.

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  5. I am picturing myself with a giant fork, hiding behind a tree & hovering over this salad - eating straight from the serving bowl while everyone at the picnic is gasping in horror. Not that this has actually ever happened or anything like that. No really, it never has.

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    1. So long as that giant fork is wooden and comes from a hanging wall set, you're good, Mimi.

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  6. My best friend's sister makes this for every party - only she uses a Family-size bag of Doritos, and only half a head of iceberg. It's basically ground beef, Doritos and Catalina dressing. Freakishly delicious.

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    1. Can I get a dinner invite to your best friend's sister's house some time?

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    2. Absolutely! Bring some antacid and your heart pills.

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  7. Hey Brian,
    Should there not be some sort of caveat on this recipe that specifies that it must be ICEBERG lettuce. So crunchy & delicious, and is a head of iceberg not the base for every caker green salad? Yum. I don`t know why iceberg lettuce has such a bad rap!!!

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    1. Iceberg lettuce is crunchy, cheap and refreshing. I don't know why it has such a bad rap, either. I'm smelling an arugula conspiracy.

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  8. I've been enjoying your blog, and feel like this post isn't complete without a mention of the walking taco. Really the ultimate in southwest (US) or Alberta foodways. You take a single serving bag of fritos and eat a few of them, then drop in a scoop of ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning (preferably the kind that is sort of an unnatural orange color), a bunch of ice berg lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, shredded cheese and salsa. A plastic fork and you are good to go! No plates required!

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    1. Hold on, Sarah. Are you telling me there's not a single dish to wash afterwards? This is genius!

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  9. My family makes this but uses Old El Paso canned enchilada sauce for the "sauce"... I don't think you can buy it here... I like it without lettuce, but haven't had it in years!

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    1. Hmm. I don't think I've ever seen canned enchilada sauce before. If you haven't enjoyed this salad in a long time, why not start 2014 on the right foot by making it today? Only good things will follow.

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  10. I make this all the time but I use Russian dressing instead of Catalina and I also do a vegetarian version with a can of black beans instead of meat. Both versions get black olives added. Everything is better with black olives. Yumm.

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    1. The only thing that isn't better with black olives is chocolate cake. But everything else is pretty much fair game.

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  11. What about browning the hamburger with taco seasoning & I have sour cream & taco sauce on the side & it's gotta be "Western French" dressing. I would put the chips on per serving when not to be eaten same day. Otherwise ALL soggy!! So yummy!!

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  12. At my house we make taco salad with Fritos and we use thinly sliced red onions, avocado, black olives, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning and Catalina dressing. The very best!

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    1. Your house seems more on the gourmet side. We could never afford olives when I was growing up. And the only avocado we were familiar with was the colour of our fridge.

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