A Simple Summer Salad - Meatless Taco Salad

There's a lot of alliteration going on in that title ... ahh high school days and learning about different figures of speech.  Anyway!  On Thursdays I usually make my grocery list since I like to knock out my shopping over the weekend, and I was thinking about what I wanted for dinners next week.  I had my mason jar taco salads for lunch this week, but I still had that craving for a good salad.  Then I remembered this amazing concoction that my Grandma usually has for us when we visit.  And aren't meals made by Grandma about a million times better than what we make ourselves?  It's a meatless taco salad which is perfect for hot summers like we are having now, since it requires no cooking whatsoever.  Plus, it's a little different than your typical taco salad, which is a plus (not that I would


get burnt out on Mexican food). 

You will need:

  • One head of iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • A few medium tomatoes, diced
  • Medium red onion, diced
  • One can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • One bag of shredded cheese
  • One bag of Fritos
  • Catalina dressing

 Here's the hard part - combine the lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese and kidney beans in a large bowl and mix together.  I don't really measure each ingredient, I just eyeball it.  Then, when you're ready to


devour this salad, add the Fritos and dressing for each serving individually.  Also, make sure the lettuce and beans are good and dry before you assemble the salad and it will store well in a sealed container (this is also why I add the chips and dressing per serving).

Ironically enough, my aunt called my Grandma today too to get this recipe, so you know it's gotta be good.  If you try this out, let me know how you like it!



A Lovely Layered Dessert - Brownie Mocha Trifle

The beginning of May means one thing here in Louisville - Derby.  To celebrate, we had a potluck style cookout last week at my office where everyone was asked to bring a side dish or dessert.  Before I even had a chance to think of what I could bring, the decision was made for me by my co-workers.  Everyone was requesting that I make the Brownie Mocha Trifle that I had brought the year before.  Easy enough.  Even though Derby is now over, I thought it would be great to share this easy recipe with you since there will be many more opportunities for cookouts and potlucks in the coming months.

To start, you will need to gather the following ingredients:

  • 1 package fudge brownie mix (8-inch square pan size) and the associated ingredients (eggs, oil, water, etc)
  • 1 3/4 cups cold milk
  • 2 packages (3.5 ounces each) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/4 cup cold brewed coffee
  • 2 cups whipped topping
  • 2 Heath Bars, crushed

Prepare your brownie mix and bake according to the package instructions.  Since they need to cool afterward before being layered, I actually did this the day before I fully put the dessert together.  That way, I wouldn't have to be up all night waiting for it to cool.  You can easily cover the pan with plastic wrap and store it in the microwave for a day - just don't forget it's in there, especially if you have a metal pan.  That would be bad.  If you are a night owl and staying up late won't bother you, you can absolutely do this all in one day.

Once they are cool, or the day you are ready to assemble, cut the brownies into 1-inch squares.  Then, in a large mixing bowl combine the milk and pudding mixes until thickened.  Next, stir in the coffee and fold in the whipped topping.

Now you're ready to start layering!  In a trifle bowl or large glass bowl, layer the brownies and pudding mixture, one after the other.  In my bowl, I was able to get about 3 layers each.  Top with the crushed Heath Bar and you are all set.  It's that simple!

After our cookout the bowl was practically licked clean, so I think it's safe to say it was a hit.  What are some of your favorite desserts for summer cookouts?