Quick and Easy Taco Salads

I am a fan of a great taco salad.  Years ago, you would have found me using a dried package of taco seasoning and adding it to ground beef to make the salad.  Over the years, I have tried to cook everything organic and with the least amount of additives (farm to table),  just like our moms did.  Restaurants lead you to believe they are on to something new – however, I don’t know about you but my mom always cooked everything fresh and from scratch.  I remember thinking how great it would be to have a sandwich on purchased bread, since I grew up only eating homemade bread.  Now, I am thrilled that I was raised by a cook, baker and chef.  You know the tale, shop the outside perimeter of the store and not the center aisles so you avoid those items that are loaded with ingredients that are best to stay away from.  Well, back to my taco salad.  For this salad I used ground turkey and seasoned the meat with one cup of organic salsa.  Delicious, easy and quick.  You can add any variation of complements to your salad, I love adding the blue corn chips.

Quick and Easy Taco Salads

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Vegetable Rice Salad with Garlic Herb Dressing

I am always trying new salads.  What inspired this salad was my trip to the grocery and finding gourney cheese with garlic and herbs  (Boursin)  on sale.  I took that as a challenge to come up with a salad that would incorporate this cheese.  Since it is a creamy cheese, I thought about a salad dressing.  I also had asparagus, zucchini and Peppedew peppers in my refrigerator.  I think the term ‘necessity is the mother of invention’  applies to this recipe.  The results were outstanding – a new rice salad to add to my salad list. 

 vegetable rice salad 3

 

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Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad is a summer staple.  I am sure everyone has a family recipe or favorite recipe they make during the summer.  There are so many variations to this basic salad.  I even think that the term ‘macaroni’ has gone by the wayside in favor of pasta salad or other more intriguing names.  However, I think there is nothing better to accompany grilled foods that a wonderful macaroni salad.  I added my favorite pepper, Peppedews to this salad.  If you prefer a more mild flavor you can certainly use chopped pimentos in place of the Peppedews.   This is a best made early in the day or the day prior, so the wonderful flavors can meld together.  If desired, you can certainly add tuna, chicken, shrimp or crabmeat to the salad.

macaroni salad

 

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Chutney Chicken Salad

I just love making cold salads for dinner during these warm summer months.  They are easy to prepare and this salad can be made in advance, as a matter of fact, this salad is better when made early in the day.  The flavors blend after being refrigerated covered for 4 hours or overnight.  This is a great salad to serve with a glass of chilled white wine.  That is my type of summer dinner!

chutney chicken salad

 

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Vegetable Pasta Salad with Lemon Dill Buttermilk Ranch Dressing (Vango Salad)

Years ago, when we lived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, we had a favorite dive hang-out.  Yes, it was a true dive, but the food was delicious.  They made this pasta salad with fettuccine and a dill ranch dressing.  To this day, we still remember the salad and I think I this combination is very close to the original.  I have added the name Vango Salad since that was the restaurant that inspired this dish.  I hope you like it as much as we do.  It is a real throw back recipe for me.

Vegetable Pasta Salad

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Pasta Salad with Artichokes and Tuna

This is the perfect salad for a picnic or dinner on the porch.  If you prefer, you can certainly substitute cold grilled tuna or shrimp for the canned tuna.  This would be the perfect salad to serve with a savory bread and a chilled white wine.  How many ways can you say marvelous!  That is what this salad is!

pasta salad with tuna and artichokes

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Chopped Chicken Salad with Homemade Chips

One thing I learned years ago when living in Texas, was how to make fresh tortilla chips.  I still make these chips and they are a favorite.  I remember when our children were young and they could not wait to have these for dessert sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. After flying home from a fun weekend in Atlanta, I thought that a chopped salad would be quick and easy on this warm spring day.  I combined orange juice and spices for a wonderful marinade for the chicken.  I would plan on one chicken breast per person.  The salad ingredients can easily be adjusted for a larger crowd.  The only dressing needed is a dollop of sour cream and salsa. Check back for more postings on my food findings in Atlanta this weekend, a great food town for inspiration.

chopped chicken salad

homemade chips

 

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Steak Salad with Parmesan Vinaigrette

In my opinion, it is hard to beat a wonderful steak salad.  I wanted to create a salad that incorporated ingredients that would be found in your favorite steakhouse.  Spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes (I loved those large grilled tomatoes they serve), squash, avocado, steak and a vinaigrette.   I marinated the steak in our favorite marinade, grilled until medium rare, sliced and served on top of all of the salad ingredients.  I then drizzled the vinaigrette over the steak.  Let’s just say – steakhouse wonderful!

steak salad with parmesan vinaigrette

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BLT Chopped Salad with Roasted Corn and Avocado Cream

One of my favorite sandwiches is a BLT.  In my opinion bacon, lettuce, tomato and toasted bread make the most magnificent sandwich. Here is a deconstructed version with roasted corn and topped with an avocado cream dressing.  For that crusty bread, I added toasted baguette slices chopped as croutons.  This is the perfect main dish or side salad, perfect with grilled meats, poultry or fish.  If you are a fan of a wonderful BLT sandwich, this is a must try.

blt chopped salad

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Raspberry Romaine Salad

When I walked into the grocery store this morning,  I immediately saw the fruits that are bold in color and look beautiful after a long winter.  I picked up these jumbo raspberries and decided to add them to a salad.  This is a simple salad made with romaine, raspberries and chopped pecans.  I used white balsamic raspberry blush vinegar when I made the vinaigrette.  I think goat cheese would also be wonderful crumbled on top of the raspberries.

Raspberry Romaine Salad

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