Sunday, September 8

Taco Salad with sugar free, flour free, smoky taco seasoning

I recently posted about taco seasoning mix so I figured perhaps I should do a small little thing about taco salad. Taco salad made with chicken or beef is probably one of my top 5 favorite foods ever. One of these days I should do it with fish :)

Growing up we had tacos all the time. Its one of those foods I can't count how many times I have had. It was a staple. I can close my eyes and picture my family eating them. Good times. Each kid was given some sort of taco prep task like chopping up lettuce or shredding the cheese - way before I knew you could buy shredded cheese. There was 4 of us which now makes me wonder if that was to get more help around the house. 

Anyways, as an adult I still love the flavors of tacos but don't really want the carbs that like to come with them. Tacos have like carb groupies... they seem to always be followed by rice and beans. I do like rice and beans but all those carbs spell bad things for my stomach when I eat them together in one meal. So to make it work for my life style I loose the carbs and end up eating it in salad form. Same great taste just different. It helps that the taco seasoning is wheat free, flour free, cornstarch free, sugar free - so I can even eat it while on a diet. It is healthy, easy, and yummy. Since I have no other excuses to explain my behavior I may need to talk to someone about this taco salad addiction. Until then... here's my recipe so you can join me :) 

My favorite way to make a taco salad: 

Beef taco salad:
1.Start cooking 1/4 lb of defrosted, lean, ground beef in a 1/4 cup of water over medium heat. 
2. After 2-3 minutes add in 1/2 chopped onion and half of red or green pepper finely diced. Saute them in the water/fat rendering off the meat. 
3. When the meat is browned, looks light brown (maybe 3-4 mintues later) and the water is evaporated, add in 1 Tbs of oil.  Then add 1-2 Tbs of taco seasoning plus 1/4 cup of water to really get that caramelized, darker color, and yummy crispy texture thick meaty taco sauce. 
4. Stir the seasoning in well. Bring the meat mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cook 2-3 minutes and its done. 
5. Serve meat hot or cold over fresh crisp salad.

Chicken Taco Salad: 
1. Start cooking up the usually half of a chicken breast flattened a bit for even cooking in 1/2 cup of water over medium heat. Bring it to a boil. 
2. Continoue to poach the chicken until it is completely cooked through. Should be 8-10 minutes depending on its thickness. Half way through boiling time add in 1-2 Tbs of the best taco seasoning in the world. 
3. Internal temp of chicken breast should be 160. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before slicing. 
4. While the meat is cooking I chop my veggies. The list of veggies for each salad varies based on whats good at the store that week and what I have left after a week of salads... but it usually looks something like this:

  • 1-2 cups Fresh baby spinach or romaine lettuce, chopped
  • a handful 5-7 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • a carrot peeled into the salad for sweetness
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • l handful of cilantro chopped
  • handful of sprouts
  • 2-3 radishes, thinly sliced
  • half or a whole avocado, sliced (depending on what I had for breakfast) 
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
  • occasional extra piece of grilled corn will end up in the salad as well.... not a bad reason for grabbing an extra piece of corn on the cob at the store.
Top the salad with yummy combo of 1/2 cup of mild salsa and 1/4 cup of plain organic Greek yogurt or organic sour cream.

Serve the salad with a very large glass of ice water. Resist the urge to garnish it with yummy leftover chips from Monday night or Thursday night football games. Stay healthy! 

Eat well. Enjoy my favorite food. 
From my kitchen to yours. 

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