Taco Salad

The only thing missing from this recipe is my mom’s yellow Tupperware bowl. Growing up there were a few staple summer dishes my mom would make. They were in the fridge more often than not in case my friends or any of my brother or sisters friends stopped by. Taco salad was one of the essentials in our house and it was always in a big yellow bowl with a clear top.


It super simple to make and can feed a whole lot of people which is perfect for a house of teenagers who have friends stopping by all of the time. You can really alter it however you’d like. Basically if it goes in a taco, you can throw it in the salad.

This past weekend we had Chris’s dad and his younger siblings down to our house. We went to Disneyland one day and the next day everyone spent the day at the pool while I went to work. Since I knew I wouldn’t be able to cook for everyone I made my taco salad so they would have something to eat with their hamburgers and hot dogs. Chris just had to pull it out of the fridge, pour some extra dressing on top and bring it down to the pool area.

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1 lb ground beef
1 package Taco mix
1 small red pepper
1 bag Cool Ranch Doritos
8 oz California French salad dressing
½ head iceberg lettuce
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup olives, halved
1 small onion
1 small carrot, shredded

1.  Cook meet until browned, drain and remove from pan.
2.  Add Taco seasoning and add a splash of water to smooth together seasoning and meat. Add cheese and refrigerate.
3.  Chop veggies and set aside. Chop lettuce.
4.  Open bag of chips and crunch chips to bite size pieces.
5.  Mix veggies and chips into bowl with meat and cheese.
6.  Mix in salad dressing.
7.  Can refrigerate after serving for up to 5 days. Before serving left overs, add about a tablespoon of more dressing.

Mama Bartlett’s Pasta Salad

This weekend we are having Chris’s family down to our new place for the first time since we moved. Last weekend we had a few friends over for the fourth and Chris requested some of the same barbecue foods for this weekend while we relax by the pool. I will be making my Aunt’s Baked Beans which are super easy and equally delicious andmy best friend’s, mom’s Pasta Salad. It is one of my favorites!! To be honest I’m not sure if my family or her family actually introduced me to this salad, both families have been eating it for as long as I can remember. Well now you can all enjoy at your next picnic.

Mama Bartlett’s Pasta Salad


1 lb Tri-Color Pasta
½ red or orange bell pepper
1 can olives, halved
10 oz grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup broccoli, cooked
½ block of cheddar or Colby jack cheese
¾ cup Zesty Italian salad dressing

Cook pasta, rinse and drain. Return to refrigerator and let cool for two hours. Prepare veggies and cheese by cutting them into bite sized pieces. Mix all veggies and cheese in with pasta. Sprinkle with black pepper. Pour salad dressing on top and fold together.

Auntie Barbara’s Boston Baked Beans

Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. Like I mentioned earlier: it is a big holiday in my family. My uncle’s birthday is on the fourth and my grandmother’s was a few days later. We have had a standing Fourth of July party at my aunt’s house for as long as I can remember. My favorite part of my family gatherings is the fact that they are usually a pot-luck style. Everyone brings something to contribute. To feel a little closer to home I pulled out my recipe book and found my aunt’s famous Boston Baked Beans. They were an instant hit. Our friends and Chris ate them up, and Chris even requested them for this weekend when his family comes to visit us. Good thing it’s a pretty wallet friendly recipe. Enjoy!


Auntie Barbara’s Boston Baked Beans

2 large cans baked beans
¼ cup molasses
3 Tbsp ketchup
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
6 bacon strips, cooked


Mix all ingredients together except for the bacon and paprika. Put mixture into 13 x 9 inch pan. Cut bacon into bite sized pieces and layer on top of the bean mixture. Sprinkle paprika on top of beans and bake at 250⁰ for at least 3 hours.