Monday, August 06, 2007
Last Wednesday's Picnic by the River
I never did get around to blogging about last week’s picnic by the river, but we did have one! It was a blisteringly hot, humid day, but blessedly cool down by the river.
I tried a new recipe for an unusual, warm salad. Here’s the recipe, which I adapted somewhat from a Country Woman magazine
TACO PASTA SALAD
3 cups spiral pasta, cooked
1 lb. ground beef*
1 envelope taco seasoning**
3/4 to 1 cup mayonnaise
2 to 3 Tblsp. milk
4 tsp. cider vinegar
4 tsp. sugar
1 Tblsp. ground mustard
Bagged salad mix or torn lettuce
Chopped tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes
Shredded cheddar (optional)
Crushed tortilla chips, regular or nacho flavored
While the pasta cooks, brown the beef in a large skillet over medium heat until well done; drain if necessary. Stir in the taco seasoning and heat through.
In a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, sugar, and mustard. Drain the cooked pasta and add it along with the beef to the mayonnaise mixture. Toss to coat. Add lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese if desired; toss to combine. Sprinkle with tortilla chips when serving.
Yield: 8 - 10 servings.
* I omitted the beef and used several cups of shredded pork in barbecue sauce, left over from crockpot ribs.
** I use my own homemade taco seasoning mix and will include the recipe here.
I omitted the cheese and we thought it was delicious without it. Also, because I was taking this to a picnic area, I just mixed the tomatoes in with the salad, not the lettuce. I took a bag of romaine salad along and we just put some on our plates and topped it with the salad mixture, then the crushed tortilla chips. We had baby carrots on the side too.
Here’s the taco seasoning mix:
TACO SEASONING MIX
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1/4 cup chili powder
3 Tblsp. salt
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 Tblsp. dried minced garlic
1 Tblsp. cumin
1 Tblsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp. beef bouillon granules
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
Mix all together thoroughly and store in a tightly covered tin or jar. For each pound of browned ground beef, use 3 Tblsp mix and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes.
To use as an ingredient in a recipe, use 3 Tblsp. mix in place of an envelope of taco seasoning mix.
This works wonderfully and saves you a bundle of money!
As I mentioned, it was lovely and cool down by the river; a real oasis from the steamy heat back in the real world. Someone had made a line of rocks all across the river, a sort of little dam or breakwater. It added a picturesque note. We sat at a table under the trees and just took in the beautiful coolness while we ate. What a blessing!