First, let me say that taco salad is a very good thing: nicely seasoned beef and corn chips with lettuce, topped with diced tomato, scallions, onion, sour cream, and – really – just about whatever else you fancy.
Then, allow me to posit: how much better could said salad be when you season your beef with your own, home made stuff, and also make your own seasoned corn chips?
Much better, as it turns out, and really, not too much bother to make, at all.
You’ll recall that Friday’s Parfait! post was Tante Marie’s French Dressing; which just so happens to take the place of the bottled ‘Catalina’ French dressing in this recipe, which means you’ve already saved yourself a bunch of sugar, a fair amount of sodium, and all of the corn sweeteners – so this salad has already gotten off to a good start! Let’s get to work on the rest…
•1 lb ground beef
•1/2 cup French dressing
•2 tbsp chili powder*
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce (or 1/2 tsp of your favorite hot sauce)
•Torn iceberg lettuce
•Ranch spiced corn chips (see below)
•Shredded Mexican cheese blend
•Diced sweet onion
*Chili Powder Blend:
•2 tsp paprika
•1 tsp Cayenne
•2 tsp oregano
•1 tsp parsley
•2 tbsp garlic powder
•1 tsp cumin
•2 tsp Colman’s dry mustard
Ranch Spiced Tortilla Chips:
•Corn tortillas, cut into 8ths
•Ranch dressing mix
Heat oven to 350º.
Cut the tortillas in 8ths and arrange on a foil lined baking pan. Note: I’ve done these chips two ways, one with a rack inserted into the pan and one without, and they seem to come out a little crispier without the rack.
Brush with olive oil, then sprinkle with ranch dressing mix.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or so, until the chips are lightly browned and nicely crispy.
Remove from the oven and set aside while you cook the beef.
Brown the beef in a large skillet, then drain and stir in the French dressing and chili powder.
Arrange the chopped lettuce on a platter or in individual shallow salad bowls, then top with some of the crumbled chips and and the cooked, seasoned beef.
Add other toppings as you like, I went with chopped tomatoes, diced sweet onion, sliced scallion, a bit of cheese, and a dollop of sour cream on top.
The only downside I will say to making this salad is that the home made corn chips need to be fresh. In my experience, while they are quite nice the day you make them… the next day? Not so much; so only make as much as you think you’ll use at one sitting. Fortunately, they’re pretty simple to toss together, so making them fresh isn’t really a bother.