Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tasty Tuesday - Taco Salad

I am linking up again today for the Kid Tested Mommy Approved link up party.  Today is hosted by Colleen at Meet the Sullivans and the topic is family friendly recipes. Football season is upon us and one of my go to recipes for football guests is taco salad. It's my mom's recipe and she's been serving it to our family, and the constant waves of friends that were always stopping by the Justice household, for years. Everyone loves it, it's quick and easy to make and it's super easy to make a vegetarian version too. I have quite a few vegetarian friends, so that's something I look for in recipes.

It turns out great every time, but you do have to follow the recipe pretty much to the T to consistently get great results. The recipe calls for Hidden Valley ranch dressing mix and if you use bottle ranch or ranch dip, your salad won't taste right. The ingredients need to be layered in a specific order, otherwise the taste will be off. When people tell me they tried making "my" taco salad and it didn't turn out the same, it's pretty much always for one of those two reasons.

Somehow between all of the craziness of Sunday, I had time to make taco salad for us and our guests that came over to watch the game, I told you it was quick and easy. The kids got to try it for the first time and our nephews, who swore they didn't like salad, ate it up and asked for seconds. I believe the exact quote I heard was, "Wow, this is really good." 

Taco Salad

Hidden Valley ranch salad dressing mix
1 cup milk
1 cup mayonnaise
1 pound ground beef
1 package Old El Paso taco seasoning
1 head iceberg lettuce, or 12 oz package romaine lettuce
2 medium tomatoes
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 8 oz package shredded cheddar cheese
1 bag nacho cheesier Doritos


1. Mix milk, mayonnaise and salad dressing mix. Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

2. Brown ground beef and season with taco seasoning. Set aside to cool.

3. Cut up lettuce and tomatoes.

4. Layer ingredients in a large bowl in the following order: lettuce, tomatoes, kidney beans, cheese, ground beef. The salad can be stored in the refrigerator like this for up to a day.

5. Immediately before serving, crunch up 2/3 of the bag of Doritos. Layer on top of other ingredients.

6. Pour approximately 1/2 of the prepared salad dressing over top of the salad. You want the dressing to pick up some of the flavor from the Doritos and ground beef, which is why it's important to layer the ingredients in the order listed above. Serve immediately after mixing.

Notes: I always use romaine instead of iceberg lettuce simply for nutritional content. Iceberg is what the recipe originally calls for. If you want to prepare a vegetarian version, substitute one package of MorningStar Farms Grillers Recipe Crumbles for the ground beef.  The salad is best if eaten right after mixing. If you have leftovers, freshen the salad with remaining Doritos before serving.

 H and B were a little skeptical at first, but they put their terrible fork skills to work and dug in. 

Make sure to follow the link below to see what other family friendly recipes are being shared today. I'm hoping to find a couple to add to my recipe box Pinterest board.

For those of you that read our blog regularly and saw the post about our sweet dog Layla, I thought I should share an update.  She is home and is doing well.  The medication she is on has her pretty strung out, but she is dealing with it like a champ.  She had a few seizures back to back to back at the emergency vet when she was there overnight and that prompted them to give her more medication than originally planned. She hasn't had any seizures since they started the meds, which is the great. Hopefully she'll adjust to the medication quickly and then we can tweak her dosages to the lowest amount possible while still maintaining efficacy. Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers you sent our way.


  1. Oh my gosh, I love the photo of them eating the salad! I'm impressed! Thanks for linking up!

    1. They were all about it! I think mainly because they got to use real forks.

  2. Jenn, why must you do this to me!? HUGE love for all things taco, this salad would be considered a healthy option though, right? ;)

    IG: megawat
    Hello Newlywed Life Blog

    1. It's healthyish. Take out the Doritos and ranch, and I wouldn't think twice about feeding H and B any of the ingredients.