It is finally National Taco Day! Not that we need a national day to eat tacos, but still.
I love me a good taco. And sour cream. Gobs and gobs of sour cream.
Ever since I started limiting my diet to help with my PCOS symptoms, I’ve refrained from most taco (and sour cream) opportunities. But life without tacos, just isn’t as delicious. Also, most ingredients in a taco are actually pretty healthy. So I set out to make a salad that is healthy and can easily be measured for 21 Day Fix.
To give you some background, there is this glorious, little, local restaurant in town called “Blue Bike Burrito.” Let me tell you, the BEST taco (er, burrito) salad that I have ever had. Chipotle and Qdoba can go sit in the corner. The best thing about it is that I feel great after eating there because it is entirely comprised of fresh, healthy ingredients–plus I always choose salad not burrito. Anyway, it occurred to me that this meal is incredibly easy to make at home AND you can find all of these ingredients at Aldi. Cheap, healthy, and delicious–hard to beat! So for all of you that lack Blue Bike in your life or if you just want to avoid the trip to town, here’s the scoop on my favorite, personalized, taco salad!
Crunchy Chicken Taco Salad
First things, first. MEAT. You’ll need a jar of salsa, a taco seasoning packet (not pictured–because I forgot), and 1-2 pounds of chicken breast. You can go about this one of two ways, I’ve done both with great success: cooking fresh chicken in the crockpot with salsa & seasoning for 4-6 hours, shredding when tender OR combining that leftover chicken with salsa & seasoning in the crockpot for 1 hour to warm up and “blend together.” Set aside the leftover salsa for later OR just be cautious like me and buy a second jar.
Once the meat is cookin’, I like to prep everything that I can so I don’t have ten things going at once when I just want to eat. So break out your blue corn chips (I suppose they can be any color really, but blue is so much more fun). Open the bag to let the air out and then TAKE OUT ALL OF YOUR FRUSTRATION AND STRESS ON THE CHIPS! Make those chips beg for mercy but do not give it until they are small pieces of their former selves. We’re just going to skip past the fact that I have animated corn chips and have a completely cold & heartless attitude towards them. Once they are all crunched up to your liking, you can store them and set them to the side.
This is my favorite sour cream hack that ironically, I stole from Blue Bike Burrito. Like I said, I LOVE sour cream. I hated it as a kid so it’s like my body is making up the time with doubly craving it now. Anyway, I have control issues when it comes to an open container of sour cream. So I take extra measure to transfer the sour cream from it’s large spoon enabling container to that squeezable condiment container. IT IS WORTH IT. Even if you don’t have sour cream control issues, do it because LESS MESS. Somewhere along the line I lost my funnel (which would make this process much simpler) and have neglected to purchase a new one on my many tips to Walmart. I have no explanation. In a pinch, you can go full MacGyver and use a sandwich bag.
*21 DAY FIX TIP* Since sour cream isn’t 21 Day Fix approved, you can swap it out for plain, greek yogurt. It’s got the tangy quality and similar texture, it really is a great substitute. Personally, I only use a teaspoon of sour cream and consider it a weekend splurge. Do what you will with that.
No, Daisy isn’t sold at Aldi. It’s that one thing I forgot to grab even though it was on my grocery list. It happens.
Next, grab your romaine. Just look at all that beautiful green stuff. I use 2-3 green containers of this stuff by myself, so don’t skimp. Chop into thin pieces, which I usually chop in half. Otherwise it’s just a bit too long for me. Think bite size. Rinse and stash in the fridge.
To amp up my health game, I skip on the white rice and stick with Basmati or Wild Rice. At Aldi, I discovered a Rice/Quinoa blend that I LOVE. Unfortunately, it’s not always available so I make my own! You really can’t go wrong with the measurements. Half quinoa, half rice. All quinoa. All rice. In this case, I used 1 cup of rice with 1/4 cup of quinoa. I think that next time, I’ll go halvsies. Toss in 1 TB of butter, season with salt, and cook according to the directions on the package.
While the rice is cooking, let’s prep the cilantro. You either love cilantro or you don’t. I typically don’t. HOWEVER, cilantro lime rice makes this dish. The key is to temper your cilantro–don’t go overboard if you don’t love it. Just enough to add the light, citrus element to your rice. I’ve seen delicious recipes that involve browning diced onion with the rice, boiling with chicken broth, or seasoning with cumin & lime zest. I’m up for experimenting in the future, but usually I don’t have much time so I just stir in cilantro, fresh lime juice, and some salt and/pepper after the rice has cooked through.
Finally, just before the rice is finished, open up one can of black beans & corn. I prefer using fresh or frozen corn, but canned is wonderfully easy and won’t kill you in a pinch. I don’t bother rinsing the black beans but I DO add 1 can of water to thin out the “bean juice.” That way it doesn’t get all gloppy while cooking.
That’s it–now you’re ready to make your salad! Don’t worry, your husband can stuff the same ingredients in a burrito if he’s not digging the all-green option. Family friendly, I love it.
If you abide by the 21 Day Fix plan, it’s easy to portion out the ingredients. If you’re curious, this is how I measure it out:
When you’re trying to take nice food pictures and your sour cream explodes. Typical.
Voila! So much healthy, taco goodness to enjoy on National Taco Day. I know you’ll love it as much as I do–enjoy!