Friday is the first day of Spring.
Can I get an “Amen”???
And I’m not even religious. But, oh, I am sick to death of winter.
In Autumn, I begin to crave hearty, warm dishes like chili and turkey with dressing and sweet potatoes. Stew, freshly baked bread and warm apple pie. In the Spring, the opposite happens and I begin to anticipate the arrival of fresh sugar snap peas, rhubarb, blueberries and Spring lettuces. And while I daydream about tender young asparagus marinated in a light but lively vinaigrette or a freshly baked strawberry shortcake, mostly my thoughts stray to salads.
Wonderful big salads of mixed greens and nuts. Spinach salads with red onion and freshly sliced mushrooms. Hearty salads with grilled chicken, sliced apples and slivered almonds. Fruit salad. Coleslaw. Potato salad.
One of my favorite salads, and one of my family’s favorites, this is a hearty entree salad that is entirely appropriate for this time of year, when we are yearning for the lighter meals that come with the fresh greens of Spring…but they’re not quite here yet. I don’t know where she got the recipe, but this taco salad is one my mother served several times every summer when I was growing up – our kids love it too (with the exception of The Young One, who never met a leafy green vegetable he didn’t view with suspicion). It is tasty and filling (to say nothing of super simple), but fulfills my craving for salad when the real deal is still a few weeks away.
Note: Ranch Style Beans are mostly available only in the south and southwest – at least I’ve not been able to find them in the northeast. If you can’t find them, no matter what, you can substitute canned pinto beans, chili beans or kidney beans. It just won’t be quite the same…still good, just not quite the same. But use the Ranch Style Beans if you can find them.
1 pound ground beef
1 envelope taco seasoning (McCormick is good if you can find it)
1 bag pre-wahsed salad greens
1 can Ranch Style Beans, well-drained
1 medium tomato, diced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Kraft® Catalina Salad Dressing
Prepare the ground meat with the taco seasoning per the package instructions; let cool to room temperature.
Empty the salad greens into a large salad bowl. Top with the drained beans, tomato, taco meat and cheese; toss lightly.
Divide into six salad bowls. Drizzle each salad with the Catalina and garnish with a handful of Fritos.