Over the years, MM and I fell into a habit of eating out every evening after work. Restaurant food doesn’t necessarily provide the best nutrition, and it was getting to be extremely expensive. What used to be only $6-$7 an entree 10 years ago ballooned to $9-$10 dollars. With tax and tip, we were spending upwards of $35 per meal per night. You can buy a lot of groceries for that kind of money.
Now we do our best to eat at home every night and go out to eat only once a week. We’re not perfect, but we’re doing a lot better than we used to do. Because both of us are tired and hungry after work, we’ve devised a few quick and easy recipes to get us over that “what do you want to eat” hump. One of our go-to recipes is the Kitchen Sink Taco Salad.
This recipe is so versatile. You can add just about anything you want, and it will taste delicious. If you have ground meat, add it. If you have seasonal veggies such as zucchini or butternut squash, dice them up and saute them with the onions. If you are lucky enough to find some fire-roasted Hatch chilies in August, use those instead of canned green chilies or jalapeno. Use lettuce instead of spinach if want. If you need more than four servings, add another can of beans and adjust the seasonings to taste. You can use packaged taco seasoning mix, but start with half a package and add more to taste. Use the taco filling in actual taco shells or as the filling for burritos.
Use yogurt instead of sour cream and limit the amount of cheese you put on top to make this taco salad a low-calorie meal. I used an online nutrition calculator to come up with an unofficial calorie count of approximately 180 calories per serving and 7 g of protein, using black beans in the example.
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked chipotle powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp red pepper (optional, to taste)
1/2 onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, diced
1 can green chiles, drained, or 1 fresh jalapeno, diced
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil, preferably olive or canola
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed, or 1 can refried beans
1 can corn, drained
1 small can sliced black olives, drained
Fresh spinach or other salad greens
1 fresh tomato, diced
grated cheese (cheddar, jack, or similar)
- Combine salsa and yogurt in a separate bowl and mix well. Set aside.
- Saute onion, garlic, and chiles in a little oil until soft.
- Add taco seasoning. (Instead of making your own taco seasoning, you can use 1/2 package of packaged taco seasoning instead.)
- Add beans, corn, and black olives.
- Cook over medium heat until all ingredients are hot.
- Add spinach or other salad greens to a bowl or plate.
- Layer a large spoonful of taco filling on top of the salad greens.
- Top the salad with a spoonful of the salsa/yogurt dressing.
- Add tomatoes and cheese.
Makes 4 servings.