Par-tay!

Friday nights used to be about putting to rest the former week and celebrating the weekend’s return. Nowadays everyday is Friday and Monday all wrapped up in one. It’s like one long, lazy day of Summer, except there’s no vacation to look forward to and schoolwork/office work to be done every day. Everyone is cooking and baking like it’s Thanksgiving and Christmas and no one knows which end is up anymore. Me? Honestly, I’m working more than ever and that’s pretty much the only thing that’s changed. We’re all ready to get back to the ways things were. Back to “normal.”

To maintain a sense of pace and normalcy about our lives, I’ve done my best to continue to thoughtfully prepare delicious meals despite both of our (sometimes conflicting) work schedules. It’s only a season, I tell myself. Tonight, I pulled more inspiration from Joanna Gaines’ newest cookbook Magnolia Table, Volume 2. Since I’d just made homemade brioche and Easter candy is still taking up residence in our fridge, I didn’t want to completely go overboard. I still wanted fresh produce to keep adorning our plates. I’ve been doing really well with loading at least half my basket with fresh produce lately and I’ve been so excited to discover different ways and means of incorporating them into our diet!

Now, this dish may not be the healthiest in terms of caloric-density, but every single one of the ingredients is not only recognizable, it’s pronounceable too! It was a complete panoply of colors and flavors and textures. A regular fiesta in my acacia salad bowl… As a matter of fact, that’s part of the name! Mexican Party Salad. It was great no its own as written, but I made a few simple changes (of course) to make it that much more satisfying.

One of the biggest things I recommend is buying (or shredding) the thick cut cheese. This ensures that every bite will be loaded with with a satiating hit of cheese and you can even get away with using less. When you use the smaller shreds, the cheese can kinda get lost among the chaos of the rest of the dish. On the same note, I love using Sprinkles tomatoes. There’s no chopping or slicing tomatoes. They’re the perfect size for snacking or salads. They’re beautifully multi-colored and absolutely poppin’ with sweet goodness. Just like grape tomatoes, only smaller and less messy!

Ingredients:
Cooking spray
1lb 80/20 ground beef
2tsp ground cumin
1tsp chili powder
1tsp garlic salt
1/2tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, coarsely chopped
2pkg Sprinkles tomatoes
1 (15oz) can red kidney or black beans, drained
1 good handful of thick cut, sharp cheddar
1/2c bottled French dressing
1c broken tortilla chips (I used Late July Sea Salt & Lime!)
1 lg avocado, pitted, peeled, cored, and diced for garnish
Rough-chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish

Instructions:
1) Spray a large skillet with the cooking spray and heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and break it up with a spatula. Dust the beef with the seasonings and cook for 5min.
2) Remove the skillet from heat and transfer the mixture to a plate with a slotted spoon to cool slightly.
3) Place chopped lettuce in a large bowl and top with beans, tomatoes, cheese, and ground beef. Drizzle the dressing over top and toss to coat. Top with tortilla chips and garnish with cilantro and avocado. (Finish with Maldon flaked sea salt – optional)
4) Serve immediately with plenty of lime wedges!

How have you been distracting yourself during these unprecedented times?

Currently Reading: Women’s Health, June 2019 Issue

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