With a little prep and a large bowl of lettuce, you can have your taco salad and eat it, too! This nostalgic Picnic Taco Salad pleases the whole crowd this summer!
My mom and step-dad came to visit one Memorial Day weekend. We had such a great time with them. We went to a ballgame, a winery, and a wine tasting. Mom and I talked about so many things; memories, life, accomplishments. It fed my soul.
For those that new to my blog, Mom and I haven’t had such a great relationship for a long time. I don’t even really know why. I’m the complete opposite of my sister. Maybe that’s it? I have my life and while I appreciate her opinion, I don’t need her to tell me how to live it like my sister did or still does. Yes, I’m guessing here, folks. I just know that for a long time I was more like a friend she’d come to visit and not a daughter she wanted to spend time with.
I know. This is about nostalgic stuffs. Trust me. I’m getting there.
On the way to the wine tasting on Saturday, Mom and I were in the back of car. I was talking about the Food and Wine Conference, showing her some pictures, and just explaining how being a food blogger got me the money to buy the tickets and pay for the hotel. She said she was very proud of all I have accomplished.
Then the conversation changed to the scenery. We were driving through Culpepper, Fredericksburg, and the Civil War area in that part of Virginia. A comment was made about there being lots of battlefields and parks in the area.
That’s when I brought up a family memory I had of meeting someone somewhere near there, at least I thought it was near there. I couldn’t remember who was there, except the immediate family. I couldn’t remember when or why we were meeting in the park for lunch, but I just remember we were.
Then I remember how we had taco salad for lunch at the park. I always thought it was an interesting thing to have for lunch. Most have sandwiches or cold fried chicken. But not us. We had taco salad that day. I remember sitting at a picnic table unpacking the cooler full of bowls.
I remember the large yellow Tupperware bowl we usually used for popcorn was full of lettuce. Then there were tomatoes, onions, cheese, black beans I think, and some taco meat. Of course there were tortilla chips! Duh! You can’t have taco salad with the taco part!
In typical fashion, Mom didn’t remember any of that. You see, that’s usually how my memories go. I have so few memories. Ones I do have are usually something completely obscure that no one else remembers. This makes me think I’ve actually dreamt it and it didn’t really happen. Like the time my sister made me bite into one of the dogs pills so hard it went into my eye. No one remembers that. But I do. Or the time we went to the gift shop at the hospital when my grandfather was ill. Or that time my sister blamed me for someone spilling the dog food.
But this one memory happened. I remember it. I might not have been in Virginia, but I remember having a picnic where we ate taco salad for lunch. And that, my dear readers, is how I come full circle back to my nostalgic recipe; Picnic Taco Salad.
If you’re like me, you could eat taco salad at least once a week. Honestly. I love the crunch of the lettuce. I love how the hearty tomato and crisp red onion mingle with the taco seasoning. Then there’s the beef simmered until tender with flavorful seasoning. Oh, I’m not forgetting the cheddar cheese with its sharp flavor or the taco chips with their salty crunch.
I know. You’re still trying to figure out the logistics of the cold taco salad. Most people want their meat hot. But, people eat fried chicken cold. People eat meatloaf sandwiches cold. People eat ham sandwiches cold. So, why not taco meat? It doesn’t taste different cold. It’s just, well, cold. I guess, if you really wanted and had one of those warmer thingies, you could have your meat piping hot-ish. But I prefer mine cold.
Another part of the nostalgia of this recipe is the love of cold left overs in the morning, for lunch, or for dinner. If you haven’t had cold left overs, and I’m not talking about pizza or Chinese take-out. I’m talking about cold spaghetti, cold steak, or curry. If you haven’t had any left overs cold, you should. The flavor is just a little different than the night before. It’s also different if you reheat it in the microwave, but eating it cold is just an experience you really should try.
See how delicious they can be? My lunch was my picnic. I had the meat and lettuce in separate containers. I put the onions and tomatoes together. The cheese and taco chips went into separate sandwich bags and the salsa went into a salad dressing container. I pretended I was sitting on a picnic bench in Fredericksburg having lunch with the family while I nibbled away at my lunch. Not only did I travel to the battlefield park, but I traveled back in time to that one afternoon.
Have you ever had taco salad at a picnic? What’s your favorite picnic food?
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 3 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 1/3 cup water
- 4 cups shredded, iceberg lettuce
- 2 cups diced tomato
- 1 cup diced, red onion
- 2 cups cheddar cheese
- 1 bag taco chips
The day before:
- Preheat a skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and brown; crumbling while cooking.
- Sprinkle the taco seasoning over the ground beef while it’s cooking. Once the meat is browned, add the water and simmer until thickened; about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and cool completely before storing in an airtight container overnight in the refrigerator.
The day of:
- Pack your taco meat with your lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, and chips along with any other toppings you’ve purchased into your cooler with plenty of ice to keep the contents cold. Once you arrive at your destination, unpack the containers from your cooler and build your taco salad.
- I place lettuce on the bottom then top with cheese and meat. Then I sprinkle with tomatoes, onions, more cheese, and chips before garnishing with salsa.
- Serve with tortilla chips.
Dinner Ideas Using Ground Beef
- Albondigas Soup [Spicy Mexican Meatball Soup] by Wanderspice
- Easiest Greek Hamburgers by Positively Stacey
- Easy Doritos Taco Casserole by Recipes Food and Cooking
- Enchilada Burgers by Fantastical Sharing of Recipes
- Ground Beef and Vegetables over Garlic Seasoned Potatoes by Hot Eats and Cool Reads
- Keema Curry (Keema Matar) by Caroline’s Cooking
- Meat and Potato Skillet Gratin by From the Bookshelf
- Low Carb Mini Mexican Meatza by My Life Cookbook
- Picnic Taco Salad by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Sweet Potato Crust Cheeseburger Pizza by Pies and Plots
- Taco Salad with Salsa Dressing by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Poached Egg Burger with Caramelized Onions by Sunday Supper Movement
The Sunday Supper Movement is committed to bringing our readers delicious recipes that encourage them to gather and eat together around the family table. Search for your favorite ingredients on our Sunday Supper website. Also check out the Sunday Supper Pinterest boards for plenty more ideas and inspiration.
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