Friday, October 4, 2013

Chicken Taco Salad


My husband knows that I LOVE chicken taco salad. We have  a Culver’s around where we live, and they serve Chicken Taco Salads (but only on Mondays), so from time to time he takes the family there on a Monday so I can get it. The other day he decided to surprise me and looked up on the internet how to make your own “taco salad bowl”, so I am going to show you what he found, along with my easy slow cooker “chicken taco” meat.

To make the chicken taco meat you only need three ingredients and a slow cooker.
Here they are:
1 packet of taco seasoning
Skinless boneless chicken (I used three chicken breasts)
1 (16 oz.) jar of salsa
Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.




When the chicken is done you will be able to shred it very easily with a fork.

 

The nice thing about this Mexican chicken is that you can serve it as tacos, nachos, salads, or use the leftovers to make Mexican chicken soup.
For our purposes today, I will show you our chicken taco salad.

Here are the chicken taco salad bowl directions my husband learned:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. You can use corn tortillas or flour tortillas for this one. Flip a cupcake pan upside down and spray with nonstick spray. Nest the tortilla to into the spaces between the cups, making a diamond shaped bowl. We could fit four at a time on our 12-cup pan. 
 
 

3. Cook them in the oven for about ten minutes.

 

4.Fill them with everything you would put into a taco.  Things to consider: beans, the taco meat above, lettuce, tomato, onion, black olives, cheese, sour cream and/or salad dressing.




 
Another idea is to coat the tortilla in cinnamon and sugar before you bake it and use it as a dessert bowl for ice cream or fruit!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Two Fresh Sauces, One yummy pasta meal.

Because it is October and the days are still strangely hot my garden has been flourishing even later than usual in the season...with one exception...those darn squash bugs. They are doing some damage, but not to the tomatoes.

I have made at least once a week a fresh tomato sauce. Its easy. Its zesty. And, I love the way it makes my house smell.

It goes a little something like this.
Send the kids to the garden to pick a wide variety of tomatoes.
Put a pot on the stove with a little olive oil in it, turn it on warm.

Wash and chop the tomatoes. Don't peel them.
Toss them into the pot.
Add some salt, basil, oregano. Really add whatever floats your boat.

Sometimes I add onion and pepper, but not always.

Simmer on low for a few hours and every now and then give them all a good mush together.  The juices come out of the tomatoes. Oh yum.

Adding just a hint of sugar at the end takes a little bit of the tang away, but don't over do it.

Season to taste. Serve hot over noodles. Or whatever. I'll admit I eat the stuff plain jane off the spoon.

You can also toss it all into a blender and made a smoother sauce with it.  But, we tend to eat it chunky. This is my summer sauce.  The fresh off the vine sauce. I save the thicker stuff for the coming days of cold when all the tomatoes are canned or store bought.

                                                                          AND

And, just because I cant help myself I made an alfredo sauce too.  Every now and then I like to serve both sauces and give everything a little choice in the matter. This Alfredo is so delicious that I stand over my pot and spoon it into my mouth as if I were a kid with cookie dough. (Its also amazing cold with a few pretzels to dip into it!)

Warm up the pot.
Add some butter.
Add some freshly cut up garlic.
I don't know how much. Just enough. A lot.  Real butter and garlic are good for you.
Now add an entire package of cream cheese.
Stir slowly.
When it is all melted together, add about a cup of milk, and some shredded parmesan (about 8 ounces).

Melt all together.  Do this to taste and texture. If you want it thicker, add less milk and more cheese. If you want it thinner add more milk.  You cant go wrong.

Its amazing.

 We serve these two sauces side by side. 
The noodles are the Kroger brand "Simply Truth"  Angel hair pasta noodles. On sale often for 99 cents a package. 

This makes me hungry.