If you have a complete set of salad bowls and they all say Kool Whip on the side, you might be a redneck.
And it's thrifty too. This lettuce is the lovely Merveille de Quatre Saisons (fancy schmancy isn't it?) or simply put, Marvel of the Four Seasons. Purchased for the hefty price tag of three packets for a dollar at the Dollar General store. How much does a head of plain old iceburg lettuce cost now days?
I once overheard my son telling one of his friends that I made the best salads in the world. It pretty simple really. Just use the freshest of ingredients, like lettuce picked fresh just minutes before serving, Use one of the much-maligned salad spinners to make sure that the greens aren't soggy. Tear the leaves into bite sized pieces. Can't stand those big pieces that you get in restaurants can you? Make sure you don't use the stems. Finely mince , dice or slice all other vegetables you are going to use. And don't use too much dressing. It should just enhance the flavors not drown them out.
Several people have asked me how I "got" our boys to eat salads and vegetables. Simply put, they didn't have a choice. They were expected to eat what was put in front of them or go without. We never prepared special meals for picky eaters. Hate to sound like an old fogey but, children are treated like royalty now days. Just go to a garage sale and see tables upon tables of children's clothing and toys is proof enough. And having suffered through many conversations interrupted by little children that asking rude questions, while their parents stood by smiling, thinking it was the cutest thing, makes me long for the Victorian age when children were "seen and not heard". Anyway to get back on track ... Children are so influenced by their parents when they are young, so if you don't eat healthy for your own sake, consider doing it to set a good example for your children. If you don't tell them it's yukky they won't know it. Here's a recipe that even "picky" adults like:
Prepare simply chili or use some leftover (in a pinch you can buy some of Wendy's) But here's a recipe that makes up quick:
1 lb hamburger (or vegetarian crumbles or leave it all together and just use an extra can of kidney beans as I do)
1 large onion.
To that add :
1 can kidney beans
1 can tomatoes (I add a pinch of sugar if using store bought)
1 package of taco seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
Now back to the salad:
Layer some lettuce, crushed taco chips, some of the chili and shredded cheddar cheese in a large bowl. You can gild the lily if you like (and who doesn't) and top with a dollop of sour cream, chives and salsa. That's it! If you're a vegan you can substitute the cheese with a soy cheese, but to be honest, I find them a pretty poor substitute, so I just use the real thing sparingly and a low-fat variety. Cabot's is good.
We also make up our own Taco seasoning in large batches. The dollar stores and Wal-Mart carry an inexpensive brand of spices called Spice Time that sells for a dollar or less. It cost a lot less to make up your own if you make a lot of Mexican foods. And I do! Here's the recipe:
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Combine and store in a dry place. We multiply this recipe by ten or twenty times and keep it in a quart-sized mason jar on the pantry shelf.