Layered Taco Salad

Layered Taco Salad -- A Pinch of Joy
Layered Taco Salad -- A Pinch of Joy

Most layered salads recipes are aimed at groups and served in large glass bowls.  Yet layered salads are an easy make ahead for the evening meal  — in a smaller quantity.  This one makes four servings of about 1 and ¼ cups for a meal.  Or if you serve it with a meat dish it will serve 6 with ¾ cup sized portions.  For this size salad, a glass 8×8 pan is the perfect size.  I have a vintage covered refrigerator dish that works great! 

Use any sturdy lettuce or lettuce mix as the base – iceberg, romaine,etc. A 12 ounce package seems to be the norm, but a 16 ounce package will also work with the proportions above.  Feel free to up the amount of taco seasoning for more kick.  1 teaspoon is very mild, 2 teaspoons is medium and 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) makes the flavor pop!   Wait till the last minute to add the tortilla chips so they stay crunchy.  Wheels and Bytes like to have extra chips to moosh on their plates as a foundation to top with the salad.  Avacado is optional, but if you choose to use it, add it at the last minute as well so it doesn’t turn brown.  My personal feeling is that anything that smooth and silky should have a superb chocolate flavor so why bother just to end up with  the disappointing avocado non-flavor.  :-)

Layered Taco Salad

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1 1/4 cup

Layered Taco Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp taco seasoning mix
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 12 ounce package lettuce
  • ½ cup sliced onion
  • 1 cup Mexican style shredded cheese
  • ½ cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 cup broken tortilla chips
  • Optional: avocado

Instructions

  1. Mix mayo, sour cream and taco seasoning mix and set aside
  2. Layer lettuce, onion, beans, tomatoes and cheese in 8x8 glass container
  3. Spread dressing mixture over salad.
  4. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.
  5. Crush tortilla chips and sprinkle over the top of the salad just before serving.
  6. Optional, dice avocado and add to top of salad before serving.
http://www.apinchofjoy.com/2014/07/layered-taco-salad/

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Basic Creamed Peas

Basic Creamed Peas -- A Pinch of Joy
Basic Creamed Peas -- A Pinch of Joy

Creamed peas are good on their own but  they are also very versatile.  You can dress them up with onions, mushrooms or small new potatoes.  Creamed peas are one of those traditional family dishes that are rarely given a thought.  Some families add to the basic sauce.  Things like a spoonful of sugar — or a dash of nutmeg, a bit of crushed garlic, a couple slices of crumbled bacon, some cheese.   Just one or two from the list to lift the dish from bland to memorable.  My own preference is butter — LOTS of it!    Creamed peas served over mashed potatoes are a traditional accompaniment to salmon patties – along with sweet coleslaw.     

The sauce is a basic white sauce.  Not only does it make a great sauce for creamed peas, but making a good white sauce is a basic and versatile cooking skill that will serve you well!    I like it thick for creamed peas, but you can add a bit more milk to make it thinner, if desired. Canned peas can also be used and the liquid substituted for an equal amount of milk.   I use the steam in a bag peas and only microwave them for half the time specified, then let them finish cooking in the sauce.  If using fresh peas, cook as usual before adding to the white sauce.  I use 2% milk because that is what I keep on hand, but any milk or light cream can be used.    

Basic Creamed Peas

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 2/3 cup

Basic Creamed Peas

A basic and versatile side dish! Serve as family comfort food or dressed up for company.

Ingredients

  • 1 package frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook peas half the time specified on package directions. I use steam in package peas.
  2. Melt butter in medium skillet or saucepan.
  3. Add flour and stir until just blended with butter.
  4. Whisk in about ¾ cup of milk and then add remaining milk until desired consistency is reached. If you want a thinner white sauce, add more milk one or two tablespoons at a time
  5. Add peas and let simmer gently for about two minutes.
  6. Season to taste
  7. Options -- choose one
  8. Saute ½ cup very small whole onions in additional two tablespoons of butter and then add to creamed peas.
  9. Scrub 1 cup small (thumb sized) new potatoes. Do not peel. Cover with water and boil until they can be pierced easily with fork. Make creamed peas, but double the ingredients for the sauce. Mix together before serving.
  10. Serve over buttered mashed potatoes as a traditional accompaniment to salmon patties.
  11. Saute ½ cup mushrooms in 1 tablespoon butter and add to creamed peas before serving. Can substitute small jar of mushrooms for fresh sauted mushrooms.
http://www.apinchofjoy.com/2014/07/basic-creamed-peas/

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Bacon Ranch Garden Patch Salad

Bacon Ranch Garden Patch Salad -- A Pinch of Joy
Bacon Ranch Garden Patch Salad -- A Pinch of Joy

We love a main dish salad for dinner in the summer. Bacon Ranch Garden Salad has it all – meat, pasta, veggies and bacon!  It’s perfect for a  summer day – make ahead in the morning when the kitchen is cool and it’s ready to serve on the shady deck for the evening meal! 

Use your favorite pasta, mini or regular.  Hidden Valley has a bacon ranch dressing with their signature creamy ranch flavor, Kraft’s version is more zippy with a hint of vinegar in the base. Add bacon cooked crisp and crumbled or packaged real bacon crumbles to up the bacon flavor.  To make Bacon Garden Ranch Pasta salad even quicker and easier, I buy the packaged fresh broccoli that has already been trimmed and cut into pieces.  They are usually the same price at my store as the heads of broccoli with less work and less waste for me.  One and a half cups is about one third of a ten ounce package. (You’ll have enough left to make Sunny Broccoli Salad another day. :-) )  I also don’t measure the other vegetables.  I use half a red bell pepper (or whatever color pepper I happen to have in the refrigerator).  Half of a medium cucumber is about half a cup diced.  You can leave the seeds in if they are small.  I always buy a large (marked way down!) ham after Easter so we have plenty of ham on hand in early summer for all kinds of dishes.  We like this salad with ham, but chicken is also good.  I can also vouch for  it being tasty without either meat! 


 

Bacon Ranch Garden Patch Salad

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 1 cup

Bacon Ranch Garden Patch Salad

A super main dish salad with meat, vegetables and pasta.

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups pasta such as rotini, shell or farfalle
  • ½ cup bacon ranch dressing
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill
  • 2 Tablespoons bacon crumbles
  • 1 ½ cups broccoli florets, cut small
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ cup cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 4 medium green onions, sliced (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 ½ cups ham or chicken, into small pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Fill 3 quart saucepan 2/3 full of salted water and bring to boil.
  2. Add pasta and return to boil.
  3. Cook until al dente according to package directions. Do not overcook!
  4. Drain and rinse pasta with cold water.
  5. In meantime, mix dressing, dill weed and bacon crumbles in large bowl.
  6. Prepare broccoli, pepper, cucumber and onions and pour into that same bowl.
  7. Cut ham or chicken into bite sized pieces and add to bowl.
  8. Add cooled pasta and mix well.
  9. Chill 2-3 hours or overnight before serving. If salad seems dry before serving, add another tablespoon of bacon ranch dressing.
http://www.apinchofjoy.com/2014/06/bacon-ranch-garden-patch-salad/

I’m so glad you stopped by today!   Be sure to follow A Pinch of Joy so you don’t miss a thing! 

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Linking up to these awesome parties here and, ,Nifty Thrifty Sunday  /   Share Your Creativity  /    Sunday Showcase  / Let’s Get SocialBewitch Me and Titi  /  Monday Funday / Sunday Pinterest /  . . . / Inspiration MondayMotivate Me Block Party   / /  Marvelous Mondays / CraftoManiac Monday / Sew Darn Crafty / / Sweet Sharing Monday / Melt in Your Mouth MondayMore The Merrier /Made By You Monday / PincentiveTime to Sparkle / Give Me the Goods / The DIY’ers / Manic Monday  / Tuesday at Our Home  / . .Twirl and Take a Bow Tuesdays Treasures  / /  Create Link Inspire  / Tutorials and Tips  / You’re Gonna Love It / Mommy club Linky / /  Titus 2 Tuesday  / Totally Tasty Tuesday  /  Tuesday Talent Show, / Wake Up Wednesday / Wow Me Wednesday. . . Hit Me with Your Best Shot  / Homework Wednesday / The Inspiration Exchange /  Cast Party Wednesday  /What’s It WednesdayPretty Wednesday /  Wow Me Wednesday   /Wine’d Down Wednesday  /Wednesday Project Stash /  Wonderful WednesdaysWe Did It!/   It’s A Party  / Whimsy Wednesday / Wildly Original  / Brag About It Linky  / Delish Desserts /Project Pin It /  . .  . Full Plate Thursday  / Showcase Your Talent / Krafty Inspiriation  / All Things PrettyThrowback Thursday / Crafty Blog Stalker/ Fantastic Thursday /   Tasty Thursday  /      / Catch a Glimpse ,   Grace at Home,  Kitchen Fun,   Thrifty Thursday. .  Feathered Nest Friday  /  I’m Lovin’ ItFlaunt It Friday /  What’s ShakinLink Party Palooza  / Foodie Friday / Anything Goes./ Freedom Friday / Remodelaholic AnonymousSimple and Sweet Fridays  / Craft Frenzy Friday  / Be Inspired Friday / Friday Link Party  / Best of the Weekend / Weekend Winddown  /  . . . .   /A Bouquet of Talent   / Party Junk Saturday Dishes / Saturday Show and Tell / Strut Your Stuff Saturday /  Favorite Things Saturday /   Serenity Saturday, / Pin It SaturdaySaturday SpotlightSaturday Showilicious     / Show Stopper Saturday /   Saturday Night Fever  /



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