When my daughter texted me to let me know what she planned to bring to the lake for our 4th of July get-together, taco salad was on the list. We must think alike, since that’s exactly what I was thinking of making. Especially weird considering I hadn’t even thought about taco salad for years. It was a regular on the table at the lake when my in-laws lived there in summer and there were often unexpected visitors for lunch or dinner. Leave it to someone like my mother-in-law Dorothy, from a big, Depression-era family herself, and with six kids of her own, to be resourceful when suddenly faced with 10 extra people at the table.
Naturally I have put my own spin on this, but the seeds come from Dorothy. I usually use ground beef, but ground pork or turkey, or shredded beef, pork or chicken would work just as well. I treat it like a salad and let people choose their own dressing and add-ins.. Thousand island, ranch, salsa, ranch with salsa, yogurt dressing with cilantro, asian-inspired, citrusy – they’re all good and can be tailored to complement the meat. The additions also can be adjusted to whatever meat is added. Try cilantro, green onion, and sweet peppers with chicken, or green onions and raw snow peas with shredded beef, avocado and/or cherry tomatoes with ground beef. Dorothy always put broken corn chips in her salad, but that’s another item that’s optional. Leftovers will last longer if the dressing is added at serving time.
– Joan, 11 September 2020
Sauté ground beef, drain excess fat. Stir in the taco seasoning and set aside to cool. Mix all of the other ingredients in a large bowl. When meat has cooled, stir it into the mix. Refrigerate or serve immediately, with a choice of dressings on the side. Refrigerate leftovers without dressing mixed in.