Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Taco Salad Favorites!

I recently ordered taco salad shell molds from an Avon catalog. You can search for them online and buy them through other sources - but they are a must for Mexican food lovers!

You can be quite creative with them. I thought about creating a desert by dusting them with cinnamon and sugar and using as an edible bowl for vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. They also make great bowls for guacamole and other dips. What a fun presentation piece!

Of course, my first time using them I made taco salads. When making taco salads I like a lot of flavor in my beans. So I thought I would share my personal recipe for delicious black and pinto beans. I also thought I would show you how easy it is to use the molds and share another personal recipe for creamy cilantro vinaigrette that is very low calorie.

Savory Southwestern Beans

You can use this for tacos, salads, burritos or as a side dish.

  • 2 cans of black or pinto beans
  • 1/2 tsp fresh minced garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp of finely chopped dried or fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • salt & pepper to taste
Heat in a saucepan on medium high for 5 minutes and then simmer on low heat for another 5 minutes.

Crispy Taco Shells

Place flour tortilla inside mold. For a fun flare try red, blue or green tortillas.

Brush shells lightly with canola oil for a delicious flavor

Bake at 350 degrees for 3-5 minutes or until shell is lightly golden. If it begins to brown on the edges you have baked it for too long and it will have a dry, burned flavor. Poke bubbles with a fork.

Fill shell with your favorite salad and toppings. I like to use beans, grilled chicken or seasoned ground turkey, greens, cheddar cheese, red onions, fresh tomatoes and fresh salsa. I always top it with a giant scoop of homemade guacamole dip and lime wedge. I then drizzle over my own recipe for low calorie creamy cilantro dressing. Enjoy!

Creamy Cilantro Vinaigrette
  • 3/4 cup of non fat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sodium free rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp fresh minced garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp fresh cilantro
  • salt & pepper to taste
Combine ingredients in food processor and blend until creamy. Chill for 2 hours and serve.

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