Saturday, May 11, 2013

Taco Salad

Have you ever gotten a taco salad from Taco Bell and thought: "There has to be healthier option."  Many people who are trying to eat healthier often times find themselves in a fast food restaurant thinking, "Hey, if I get myself a salad, it'll be a healthier option, right?"  WRONG.  In most cases, the salads are not a healthier option.  In fact, a Taco Bell Taco Salad is over 700 calories!  And you are thinking, "What?"  Yep.  Well my friends, I have a recipe that will make a yummy taco salad for under 500 calories per serving, and it's easy on the wallet too!

And, if I had my memory stick for my camera (which suddenly disappeared one day), I would add a pic, but I'm just gonna share the recipe here.  So, grab your cast iron skillet, your spouse, and get in the kitchen.

Here's what you'll need:

1 lb 93% ground sirloin
4 slices bacon
romaine lettuce (either 1 head, or 1 package romaine hearts)
roma tomatoes
1 english cucumber
1 can summer crisp corn, rinsed
1 can bush's black beens, rinsed
1/2 block monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 med red onion
3 garlic cloves
Santitas Chips (5-6 per serving)

Taco Seasoning, or the following:
chili powder
smoked paprika
salt and pepper 
(all seasonings are to taste)
red pepper flakes (optional)
Hot Sauce (optional)

Ranch Dressing (I used Wishbone brand, but you can use whatever brand you like.)
Salsa (Optional)

Ok, so before you do anything, you want to heat your cast iron skillet before adding any ingredients.  While heating pan, also heat the pan that you are gonna cook the bacon in.  You'll want to cook the bacon extra crispy, so that when it cools, you can crumble it easily.  So, cook and crumble bacon and set aside.

So, to make this go a lot quicker, grab your spouse and have him/her put together the vegetable salad.  You'll need the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, beans & corn.  The chunkier the vegetables, the better. 

Now, while the vegetable salad is getting prepped, you are gonna brown your onion, garlic and meat.  You can then add your taco seasoning and cook as per directions, or use a combination of the remaining spices to create a unique taco taste of your own.

Once meat is brown, and vegetable salad is put together, you are gonna layer the salad as follows:

5-6 Chips
Meat Mixture
A heaping serving of salad greens
A drizzle of ranch dressing
a small handful of cheese
a very small handful of bacon crumbles 

That's it!  I opted for the Ranch dressing instead of sour cream and salsa to cut on calories.  Trust me, you have plenty of taste without it, and I really didn't miss it at all.  With everything added, you have a very tasty Taco Salad for under 500 calories.  It was 476 calories to be exact, and that is WAY better than over 700 calories from Taco Bell.  This recipe serves 6-8 people depending if you are serving a household of kids like I do, or a mixture of kids and adults.

So, the next time you are at Taco Bell, and you are trying to watch what you eat, then opt for the chicken soft tacos.  No more than two.  If you eat more than that, then you might as well get the Taco Salad.

Do your body, and your wallet a favor, and cook something you love at home.  You'll be surprise how many calories you cut, and how fat your wallet gets to be.  Not to mention, it's fun cooking with your spouse.  You are spending quality time with your significant other, and creating a masterpiece that you'll both love to eat.

Next week at LW: Finishing the series of What Every Kitchen Should Have.  I apologize for not completing it earlier, but I'm back in full swing, and should be back here every week.


  1. One tasty meal + cooking with the spouse = a great evening! Good recipe, Mel!