Kay Wheeler Moore

Welcome to my blog

Hello. . .

The Newfangled Country Gardener is for anyone who has a garden, would like to have a garden, or who simply enjoys eating the garden-fresh way. I don't claim to be an expert; in this blog I'm simply sharing some of the experiences my husband and I have in preparing food that is home-grown.

About the author

Kay Wheeler Moore is the author of a new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, that features six generations of recipes that call for ingredients that are fresh from the garden. With home gardening surging in popularity as frugal people become more resourceful, this recipe collection and the stories that accompany it ideally will inspire others to cook the garden-fresh way and to preserve their own family food stories as well. The stories in this book center around the Three Red-Haired Miller Girls (Kay's mother and aunts) who grew up in Delta County, TX, with their own backyard garden so lavish that they felt as though they were royalty after their Mama wielded her kitchen magic on all that was homegrown. Introduced in Kay's previous book, Way Back in the Country, the lively Miller Girls again draw readers into their growing-up world, in which a stringent economic era--not unlike today's tight times--saw people turn to the earth to put food on the table for their loved ones. The rollicking yarns (all with recipes attached) have love, family, and faith as common denominators and show how food evocatively bonds us to our life experiences.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Taco Salad with fresh veggies ranks high among time-honored food favorites

In trying to find the most on-trend recipes and the freshest new ideas for the table, I tend to forget my old standbys. This week a trip to a Tex-Mex restaurant at which I dined on a really excellent taco salad prompted me to pull out a recipe from days gone by—truly the best at-home-made taco salad I’ve ever tasted.

That was in the pages of a recipe book called The Food Chronicles, compiled by my longtime co-worker Ann Criswell from the best of her recipes during her legendary tenure as Houston Chronicle foods editor. She often brought this salad to serve her fellow laborers; it was a crowd-pleaser.

Layers of fresh lettuce and tomatoes, South-of-the-Border seasoned ground beef (I used ground turkey), chips, and tomatoes-and-green chilies cheese sauce (the latter two layers served warm) make this recipe a mouth-watering delight. So glad I ventured back to find this familiar favorite to liven up our dinner table.

Taco Salad

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (or ground turkey)
1 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
salt (or salt substitute) or freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon chili powder
6-8 dashes ground cumin
1 (1-pound) box pasteurized processed cheese spread loaf
1/2 (10-ounce) can tomatoes with green chilies
1 head lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
2 medium-size tomatoes, chopped
1 (6-ounce) bag corn chips, crumbled

In large skillet brown meat well; then drain grease. Stir in bell pepper and onion. Add salt and black pepper. Brown a few minutes more. Stir in chili powder and cumin. Meanwhile, melt cheese in a saucepan over very low heat (or in microwave); then stir in tomatoes with green chilies. In large bowl layer in this order: lettuce, chopped tomatoes, corn chips, hot meat mixture, and hot cheese mixture. Serve immediately. Makes 4 to 6 servings. (Source: The Food Chronicles)

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