Thursday, February 23, 2012

Deadline Taco Salad

Life in our household is crazy busy.  Mr. Wendy has a 40 minute commute to his full time job; he has band practice at least once per week; and he plays shows about once per month.  In addition to writing (and cooking!), I teach full time ... this semester, I have over 650 students!  And then, of course, there's laundry, the litter box, and the occasional social outing.
So weeknight dinners are often hurried affairs, and they are often woefully short on fresh vegies.  When I'm on deadline, it's even worse.  One of our favorite "holy cow, we need something quick and with a vitamin or two" meals is taco salad.  We've been eating a lot of taco salad these days.  

A couple of cooking notes:  

First, we usually make our own "corn chips" by putting corn tortillas in a 425 oven for anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes (turning with tongs and watching them really closely to prevent burning).  We do this to keep the sodium content of this meal from going right through the stratosphere (the taco seasoning is bad enough ...).  You can use packaged tostada shells or corn chips if you prefer.

We usually use reduced fat mild cheddar cheese, but Monterey jack, colby, a Mexican blend ... the sky's the limit.

This is our easy, delicious, and reasonably healthy version of taco salad ...

Deadline Taco Salad

1 bag vegetarian burger crumbles
1 packet (1/4 c.) taco seasoning
3/4 c. water
1 1/2 c. frozen corn
salad mix (I prefer spinach and baby red lettuce)
grated cheese
sliced olives
cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
corn chips or tostada shells
taco sauce
reduced fat sour cream

Combine the burger crumbles, water, taco seasoning, and frozen corn in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the water evaporates and the mixture is hot.

Spoon seasoned crumbles on top of a bed of greens and garnish with cheese, tomatoes, and olives.  Drizzle with taco sauce and add dollops of sour cream.   Sprinkle corn chips on top (or serve with tostada shells.


Wendy is the author of the Mysteries a la Mode. Visit her on the web or on Facebook. She also writes the Pet Boutique Mysteries under the name Annie Knox; you can follow Annie on Facebook, too!


  1. Sounds delicious. If I don't tell my 14 year old it's rather healthy, I might be able to get him to eat it.

    What do you teach? I'm an elementary school librarian. I teach information skills, readers advisory, etc. This year I have 630 students over double what I had last year.

    Beverly aka Booklady

  2. I make a very similar taco salad. Because I watch my salt intake I make my own taco seasoning.. in case anyone wants it..

    1 teaspoon Paprika
    1 teaspoon Ground cumin
    1 teaspoon Chili powder
    1/2 teaspoon Ground oregano
    1/2 teaspoon Cayenne
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    You can adjust to your liking.

    Now that I see this recipe, I think I will make it this weekend.

    Booklady, my daughter is a fussy eater and she really enjoys it. She will use it with taco shells or tortillas instead of a salad.

  3. BookLady and BusyMom, I was just thinking that this would appeal to kids! LOL. Of course, it appeals to me too. We all need those go-to dinners for busy days. This is not only easy and fast, but it looks delicious, too!

    Shawn, I love your taco seasoning recipe. I think I even have everything at home!

    ~ Krista

  4. Please remove if needed,,,

    Here are two more recipes with a Mexican Vibe, easy and good!

    Nacho Grande

    1/2 lb. ground beef
    1/2 lb. chorizo (mexican) or italian sausage
    1 can refried beans
    1 (4oz) can diced green chilies
    3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
    3/4 cup taco sauce
    3 large advacados
    1 tbl. lemon juice
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. garlic salt
    1 cup sour cream
    1 tomato, diced
    1/2 cup olives (stuffed with pimentos)
    Tortilla chips

    Brown beef and sausage, drain well. Layer meat, refried beans, chilies, cheese and taco sauce in a greased 13 x 9 baking dish.
    Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

    Chalupas (makes two)

    two 3/4 ounce rectangle taco shells
    1/2 cup fat free refried beans
    3 tbl. shredded nonfat cheddar cheese
    1 tomato, chopped
    1/2 cup shredded lettuce
    2 tbl. nonfat sour cream
    2 tbl. salsa
    1 tbl. rinsed and drained chopped green chilies

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Place shells on a baking sheet. Spread the bottoms with refried beans and top with the cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted (about 8 minutes). NOTE: I heat mine in the microwave. Top each with the remaining ingredients.

    NOTE: I have heated up some Boco Ground crumbles with a little taco seasoning and serves on the chalupas.