I'm having a little love affair with Mexican food these days. I'm not sure what brought it on, or why I crave this spicy, fragrant food, but it truly is all I want to eat these days.
Happily, all the boys in my house are on board as well. Rob could likely live off nachos, and while Ben isn't a fan of cheese he adores beans and vegetables and the seasonings and herbs that accompany this type of food. And Jackson? Well, he just happens to think that taco salad is about as cool as borrowing my iphone. So, we've been eating a lot of that.
Here's the thing about serving a taco salad; it's completely family-friendly and makes for an excellent week night dinner. But even better than that, is that it's also a complete winner when it comes to entertaining or hosting a dinner party.
The platter you see above can feed quite a large crowd. You can make a few them (I'd say one for every six guests) and scatter them over a buffet table with bowls of Monterey Jack cheese, flavoured sour cream (think chipotle, lime and cilantro), tortilla chips, limes, jalapenos, salsa and possibly even tortilla bowls.
Let your guests, or your kids, help themselves while you sit back and marvel at how easy it was to put this all together. Feel free to swap the seasoned ground beef for grilled chicken or keep it completely vegetarian and offer a few different kinds of beans.
- Romaine lettuce, chopped
- Avocado, peeled and chopped
- Pinto beans, cooked and cooled or drained and rinsed
- Tomato, chopped
- Corn, grilled and removed from the cob
- Seasoned ground beef
- Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, grated
- Sour cream (seasoned with chopped chipotles, lime juice or chopped cilantro)
Place the romaine, avocado, beans, tomato, corn and ground beef mixture on a platter.
Fill bowls with grated cheeses, sour creams and salsa.
Fill a large wicker basket with nacho chips, and set everything out on a table for a self-serve taco salad bar.
For the ground beef mixture:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
Place the olive oil in a skillet set over medium high heat and add the beef, breaking it up into small chunks with the back of a wooden spoon, cooking for 2-3 minutes.
Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper and tomato paste, and stir together, cooking, until the beef is golden brown and fragrant.
Drain the meat if necessary and place it on a platter