When I first met Kerry and would go to his parents’ house, there were two things his mom always made for dinner. One was a dessert Kerry grew up eating, which was lime Jell-O mixed with cottage cheese and crushed pineapple. She made it in a 9x13 inch pan, but I think it also would look nice served in individual parfait cups. Maybe that will be a future post.
The second thing she always made was this delicious taco salad. I’ve never had anything like it elsewhere til this day. It’s so refreshing and hits the spot when you want Mexican on a hot day. She gave me the recipe years ago, but I’ve misplaced it. It’s not lost. I know it’s somewhere amongst my recipes. I can still picture the recipe card it’s written on in her handwriting with a little blue design on the corner. Mom has since passed, so I had to make it from memory.
She made this in a salad bowl and tossed broken tortilla chips right into it, so when you took a mouthful, you got that taco crunch. The creamy dressing held it all together and your mouth was just so happy because your taste buds were singing.
For Big Bang Bites, I deconstructed it. Instead of chopping up iceberg lettuce for the salad, I used butter lettuce cups to hold the salad, so it could be a hand held appie. I also did not toss the tortilla chips into the mix. I crushed them on top as a garnish. The flavors of everything coming together is what makes this salad, so deconstructing didn’t take anything away from it. It still made my mouth happy and my taste buds sing. Thanks, Mom! This is still one of our favorites.
Makes about 24 small cups or 12 large cups
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 2 pieces of garlic, minced
- 1-15 oz. can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup sweet onion, chopped fine (rinse and drain them if they're a bit spicy)
- 2 avocados
- ½ cup mayo
- 2 T ketchup
- Butter lettuce leaves
- Tortilla chips for garnish
Cook the ground beef with the garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Drain and set aside to cool completely.
When the beef is cooled, place in a large bowl. Add the rinsed and drained kidney beans, tomatoes, cheese, and onions. Toss to combine.
Mix the mayo and ketchup in separate bowl. Then add to the beef mixture.
Cut the avocado into chunks and add to the salad last. Toss lightly as not to smash up the avocados.
Scoop into lettuce cups. Crush some tortilla chips in your hand and sprinkle on top.
If making ahead of time, add chips right before serving.