Monday, September 27, 2010


Recipes like family have a genealogical history too.  This recipe is actually Lorri's son's mother-in-law's recipe.  Nine years ago this coming November, I lost a dear friend and my assistant Lorri to brain cancer. She died much, much too young. She and I loved to cook and collect recipes. This recipe for Taco Salad is the last recipe she gave me.  That makes it, to me, extra special.  I still miss her.

Grab a fork and enjoy!!!

It is also special because it is so good and so easy. I made it for a tailgating party to watch the band at a football game and everyone loved it. One young girl, who’s mother says she is a picky eater, announced, "The salad was amazing!!!!"

You don't need anything fancy to have fun at a tailgate.  This serving area is the back of our van.  We started our tailgate Friday night with our family favorite TOO LAZY TO MAKE HAM ROLL-UPS http://michigancottagecook.blogspot.com/2010/04/to-lazy-to-make-ham-roll-ups-dip-for.html

The wind was desperately trying to blow us away that night so we tried to use the van as a wind breaker.

Someone is wearing the wrong hat to be part of a Michigan State University family.

One band member said the Taco Salad was amazing!

The 8th Grade Band did an amazing job.  It was an amazing night as the school colors are maize and blue.

For the crushed taco chips called for in the recipe, I used our daughter-in-law’s hint and used Dorito Chips for extra zip. I think a can of your favorite beans, well-drained and rinsed, would be a great addition to the salad. I added pasta water to the drained pasta in a bowl. As a result, I only needed about 1/3 of the bottle of dressing. A big savings in calories.

So pretty and so easy to transport to a party or tailgate.


1 pkg. (16oz) spiral pasta
1 lb. ground beef
¾ c water
1 envelope taco seasoning
2 c cheddar cheese, shredded
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 medium sweet white onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 cans (2 1/4oz) sliced ripe olives, well drained
1 bottle (16oz) Catalina or Western dressing, I like Western dressing
Crushed taco chips

Ingredients:  Ground beef, rotini, taco seasoning. taco chips, green pepper, sweet white onion, tomatoe, black olives, cheese and Western dressing.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Save a cup of pasta water before draining pasta. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water; continue to drain. In a skillet, brown ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain well. To drained meat, add water and taco seasoning, simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes. Stir meat mixture frequently. Put drained pasta in a large bowl. Add up to ½-cup of pasta water and allow pasta to soak it up. Then add beef mixture, cheese, green pepper, onion, tomato and olives. Mix well. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Add crushed taco chips on top just before serving.

Brown the ground beef and cook until all the pink color is gone.  Drain well. 

Add taco seasoning and water. 

Stir and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes

Chop onion.

Chop green pepper.

I used three tomatoes as mine were small.  Chop tomatoes.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Chop vegetables ready for salad.  Looks like the Mexican flag colors.

Meat cooked and ready.

Remove a cup of pasta water before draining cooked pasta.

Drain pasta well.

Rinse with cold water to chill.

Put pasta in a large bowl and add up to a 1/2-cup reserved pasta water.

Drain olives.

Add meat and cheese to pasta.

Add vegetables to pasta.

Add olives to pasta.

Add salad dressing to pasta.  Start with 1/3-of a 16oz. bottle.  Add to your desired consistency.

Just before serving, add crushed chips.

A wonderful blend of flavors and textures ready to eat.  Enjoy!!!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, this Taco Pasta Salad was amazing! :) I'm so glad we were able to try it at the tailgate! We will definitely be making it ourselves! Thanks for sharing! ~Lori
    P.S. Cute girls! :)