Chopped Taco Salad

My mom used to make a version of this salad when we were kids. I remember there being enough salad that an entire bag of crushed Doritos was mixed in! I think there was also most of a bottle of ranch dressing involved. I substituted a handful of Late July organic tortilla chips. Mom would approve of this version nowadays versus the dusty orange, chemical laden Doritos of the past.

Late July chips

Confession: I hid the rest of the bag of chips from my teenage son, otherwise I wouldn’t have seen them again!

chopped taco salad

Served in front of the tv while watching the movie Fury with a side of pickled jalapenos.

Chopped Taco Salad

What it took for 2 nice sized servings:

  • 8 ounces ground sirloin
  • heaping tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 4 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
  • shredded cheddar cheese, (didn’t measure about 1/3 cup)
  • 3 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced (in the summer I have used chives)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 12-15 nacho chips, crushed
  • Newman’s Own organic ranch dressing  (didn’t measure about 1/4 cup)
  • pickled jalapenos
  • cilantro is amazing in this salad but I didn’t have any


  • Cook ground sirloin until well done and drain. Stir in taco seasoning along with a couple tablespoons of water. After the water has evaporated turn off and remove from heat to cool slightly.
  • In the meantime start preparing the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Start with the lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cheese, avocado…then squeeze the lime juice over the avocado (for amazing flavor and to keep the color fresh), crush the tortillas over the salad, add the slightly cooled meat, drizzle with the ranch dressing and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

layering the taco salad


Southwestern Salsa with Black Beans and Corn

Southwestern Black Bean and Corn Salsa

I started making this recipe 7-8 years ago when a co-worker made it and brought it to work. It was delish and an extra bonus? I already had the cookbook that she got the recipe from!

Since then I have made this salsa for cookouts and take it over to dinner parties as an appetizer on numerous occasions. My Mom even makes it too! Of course when this dip gets around my brothers and my son what would typically be enough for a “big party” is devoured in no time. I’m lucky if I get a couple of chips worth!

Southwestern Salsa with Black Beans and Corn

I hosted our neighborhood book club last night and made this salsa. I had a couple of people ask for the recipe…always a good indicator that it was enjoyed!

The yellow peppers were on sale where I shopped so I substituted them for the red pepper. In the past I have used cumin powder instead of cumin seed and it works well. I bought cilantro and used parsley from my herb garden. The lime juice, garlic and red pepper flake…yummmmm…I think I’ll have more for breakfast!

Southwestern Salsa with Black Beans and Corn


Recipe from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

Homemade Taco Seasoning

It’s taco night in our house! There’s so many reasons to love tacos. Everyone can pick their own toppings, they take no time to make and they can be as healthy (or as bad) as you want! I have a few hard taco shells leftover from another dinner and some soft flour tortillas (for me) so we’ll have a mix of both tonight.

The toppings tonight are: avocado, tomatoes, red onion, jalapenos, lettuce, black beans, Herdez salsa (hot!) and of course cheese and sour cream!

I’ve been searching around for a while for just the right mix to make homemade taco seasoning because the packets that are available at the grocery store are so pricey, especially the organic ones and the “regular” brands have so many mystery ingredients. I think I have finally created our favorite mix! This blend is very bold and flavorful. It tastes like it cooked for hours instead of just minutes.

Taco Seasoning

  • 4 teaspoons cumin
  • 4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3 teaspoons shallot salt (sold at Penzey’s)
  • 3 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Mix all spices together and store in a glass spice jar (I wash and reuse all of my old glass spice jars). Use a heaping tablespoon of spice plus 1/3 cup of water per pound of cooked ground beef to season for tacos.