Taco Salad

Some nights I just want something relatively easy to make for dinner because I’m tired or because I have to take el nino (aka my son) to swimming lesson. Last night was one of those nights. The previous evening I’d planned on grilling steak but the weather didn’t cooperate. As a result I had a New York strip steak that needed to be used. Normally this would be no big deal but we’ve had a week’s worth of rain and once again grilling wasn’t going to be an option. Sometimes I’d just use my grill pan on these occasions but the steak was thick and the chances of getting it to a reasonable temperate were low. Stir fry was also out, because we’d had rice twice already this week. So I decide that a taco salad topped with beef strips would be a good option.

What makes a taco salad really good though is a nice dressing. I like the dressing that Chipotle serves when you get a salad bowl there but I didn’t have any chipotle chiles on hand. What I did have as a plethora or jalapenos. So I thought maybe a creamy jalapeno dressing would be good. An internet search led me to the recipe for Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeno Ranch Dip (Copycat). The difference between dip and dressing is really the consistency of mixture. So I went into recipe hacking mode. First, I changed the sour cream for greek yogurt. Then I added some cumin for taste. Lastly, I increased the liquid in the recipe to get the right consistency.

Creamy Jalapeno Dressing

Ingredients
8 oz. light greek yogurt
1 pkg. (1 oz.) ranch dip mix
1 whole large jalapenos, seeded
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 whole limes, juiced
2-4 Tbsp. milk

Instructions
Roughly chop the jalapenos, cilantro and garlic cloves. Add to a blender and chop, scraping down the sides a time or two. Add lime juice and yogurt, and pulse until creamy. Add milk slowly until you’ve reached your desired consistency. I used 4 tablespoons

Once I had the dressing I could make my salad. For my salad base, I used a romaine mix and added thin slices of red onion, red bell pepper, corn kernels, and cherry tomato halves. I sliced the beef until into thin strips and marinated it for 15 minutes in some oil, lime juice, ground cumin, ground ancho chile pepper, and garlic salt. Then I cooked the beef on my grill pan. Into each bowl I placed the salad base, some cooked beef, shedded mexican mix cheese, then topped with the dressing. The final product was super tasty and produced enough left overs for lunch the next day, plus some extra dressing. I haven’t decided how I’ll use the rest of the dressing leftovers. Maybe on another salad or maybe I’ll add a little more yogurt and transform it back into a dip.

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