I’m not sure who coined the phrase atop this recipe but after enjoying this hearty salad I discovered it to be quite true!
The mere mention of Thousand Island dressing takes my laughs back to the 1980s with this memorable scene from the movie “Cracked Up” where Jerry Lewis’ character gets a little more service than he bargained for thanks to this rigorously exhaustive waitress!
Despite my salad sign as a Leo, fate had a fresh bottle of Thousand Island dressing in my hands so that’s what I used. What’s your salad sign?
❤ I’ve included Mom’s original recipe scan below. I enjoyed the way the ingredients were organized (chop, toss, crunch, slice, brown, decorate) but I’ve taken liberties to put the typed instructions in order to help make it easy for you to prepare.
❤ Red, white, or yellow onion – it’s all up to you! If you prefer your onion cooked you can add it to the beef medley when browning; otherwise get ready for a little “oompf” from the uncooked fresh onion kick, as did I.
❤ While I’m 99% confident that Mom used tortilla chips for this dish I went with tortilla strips – their multi-colors are more festive than their typical chip cousin plus they’re easier to eat with a fork! Tip: HEB makes tasty Tri Color Tortilla Strips that I stock in my kitchen. Now if you’re eating this dish with your hands, step up to the plate (or bowl) and get some full-sized tortilla chips … or better yet a bag of Fritos Scoops!
❤ This recipe makes A LOT of salad. I believe in its entirety this dish will serve up to 6 as a main course and even more as a sidekick! You can easily half the ingredients for 2-3 people.
❤ Make sure and introduce your tortilla chips (strips), avocado, and tomatoes just before serving; nobody likes a limp tortilla chip, brown avocado or mushy tomato! As you would guess it this dish is best consumed fresh as with leftovers the dressing will make your lettuce turn sad and soggy.
for the salad:
1 head | lettuce, chopped
1 | onion, chopped
4 | tomatoes, chopped
8 ounces | thousand island or french dressing
4 ounces | cheddar cheese, grated
to top | tortilla chips or strips
to top | avocado, sliced or cubed
ii. what to do
1. In a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat brown the beef. Halfway through browining add the kidney beans and the salt. While the meat-medley is simmering for 10 minutes…
2. In a large serving bowl introduce the salad ingredients – lettuce, onion (unless browning), tomatoes. Pour your dressing on top and mix well. You can set this into your refrigerator to chill for a few minutes or if your beef is ready…
3. Give one last mix to stir things up a bit… then toss in your beef mixture, top with cheese, chips, and your avocado. Serve pronto!
Yields up to 6 servings (using full ingredients)
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
Picadillo Is My Pillow
In March 2014 my awesome Cousin Julie gifted me the recipe for this ole time family favorite.
What a great gift! I remember Mom talking about “picadillo” but the recipe wasn’t in her cookbook. Luckily, it was in her sister Delores’ cookbook that Julie has in her care!
Totally flexible, this Cuban-inspired dish made its way to San Antonio kitchens before the days of the internet … and into my heart 4ever. A foodie’s BFF.
♥ The original recipe scan below makes mountains of this delicious stuff. My Cousin Julie said the portions were large because her Mom, “Delores,” would often serve this dish at parties. I divided the recipe down, down, dowwwwwn into 6ths below. And yet after Joe and I ate it all, we wanted more.
♥ Cousin Julie was very specific – unless you don’t mind soggy almonds, sprinkle the almonds on top just before serving; or set them aside in a serving bowl with a spoon.
♥ Cousin Julie also said this picadillo freezes well. Sweet! If you freeze or refrigerate it overnight, add more dry sherry when reheating. It’s the honest thing to do.
♥ You can serve picadillo many ways – on top of scrambled eggs, breakfast tacos, nacho chips or inside tacos. This stuff is so good I even ate some with a shovel-spoon or two… :)
1 pound | ground round
⅓ cup | dry sherry
1 teaspoon | salt
⅓ teaspoon | pepper
3 | japaleños, chopped
1 clove | garlic, chopped
splash | oil
4.8 ounces | canned tomatoes
⅔ cup | tomato sauce
2 tablespoons | pimiento
to taste | raisins
⅓ teaspoon | oregano
½ cup | water chestnuts, sliced
⅔ cup | canned mushrooms, sliced
flour or corn tortillas
tostitos brand scoops
⅓ cup | salted almonds, diced
ii. what to do
1. In a medium-sized pan over medium heat, bring the first 5 ingredients (see “marinate”) to a happy sauté.
2. Add “the mixture” ingredients (the 9 ingredients) above and simmer, covered, about 1 hour. Stir occasionally.
3. Uncover and stir until “mushy.”
4. Serve with your preferred foodie accents and style (above). And smile. :)
There’s something special about any soup recipe that calls for Velveeta.
Oh, I know, I know – Velveeta is not “real cheese,” but tell that to my stomach. The mere thought of the cheese-like stuff makes me weak in the knees. Toss in Pace picante sauce, avocado and chorizo and you have a dish that’s straight out of the 1970s with culinary crosshairs for your next meal.
Healthiness aside, I thought this soup was a super-tasty and f l e x i b l e soup that can accommodate any of your special ingredients to make it one all your own.
Foodie Tips ~
♥ When using ground chorizo, the finished texture was too grainy for me; on the next go of this I think chorizo links cut into chunks would yield a chunkier texture.
♥ My Cousin Julie said to try “Portuguese Chorizo,” if you can find it.
1 pound | chorizo
1 large | white onion, diced
2 stalks | celery, diced
1 | green pepper, diced
3 cans | chicken broth
2 | tomatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
to taste | cilantro, chopped
16 ounce jar | pace thick and chunky picante sauce (mild)
½ pound | velveeta
to serve | fresh avocado, diced
to serve | tortilla chips (or fritos)
to garnish | more cilantro, chopped
ii. what to do
1. In a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat, brown the chorizo, onion, celery and green pepper.
2. Add the broth, tomatoes, cilantro and picante sauce and simmer 1 hour, uncovered. Relax in your comfy chair or couch while you catch-up on your latest 1-hour of DVR programming. :)
3. Add Velveeta to the soup and stir here and there, until melted.
4. Serve soup into individual bowls. Top with avocado, chips or fritos … and a tad more cilantro.
A Great Side Or Main Dish
How can you create anything but success with a recipe that calls for an entire pound of cheese?
This is a tasty dish that’s easy to prepare and even easier to eat. It’s great as an entrée or main dish depending on the size of the helping and what time of day you’re eating it.
This Casserole? Olé! Olé!
2 4 ounce cans | whole green chilies
½ pound | cheddar cheese, grated
2 | cage free eggs
1 tablespoon | flour
12 ounce can | evaporated milk
½ pound | monterrey jack cheese, grated
8 ounce can | tomato sauce
to garnish | tortilla chips, crumbled
0. Preheat oven to 400°F.
1. Split the green chilies and remove the seeds (if any).
2. Butter the bottom of a 9″ x 9″ casserole dish and layer the chilies in the bottom. Cover the chilies with the cheddar cheese and set aside.
3. In a medium-sized bowl beat the eggs, flour and evaporated milk. Pour the mixture over the chilies and cheese and place the casserole in the oven for 30 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and set aside for a few minutes to rest. Cut, plate and enjoy!
foodie tips ~
♥ Although the original recipe didn’t call for it, after my first helping I decided that a little crunch would be a nice contrast. So I crumbled some tortilla chips onto my plate before serving.
♥ Something tells me a dollop of sour cream would be good on top of a slice of this casserole. That “something” is my belly talking to me and I’ll try it when I heat-up the leftovers. (Simmer down, belly).
~ ~ ~
Who is “Mary Stephenson?”
We Kikers lived at 2927 Trailend Drive and Mary was the mother of the family living next door to us.
Mary was a fabulous foodie friend of ours and you’ll find a few recipes from Mary’s kitchen here at Betty’s Cook Nook. Click here for more of Mary’s recipes.
Our two families spent many shared dinners and laughs together so I was happy to find some of Mary’s recipes tucked in Mom’s cookbook since the Stephensons were a magnificent and memorable part of my wonder years.
This recipe is dedicated to my special niece Melissa ~ Her zest for food taught me
the more spice you add to life, the merrier!
~ ♥ ~
If my Mom “Betty” was still alive, I would have made sure she put my own favorite recipe in her cookbook. And better yet, I would have made her some bowls of this great-tasting soup.
I’ve tweaked this recipe over the years, and you can also edit it to please your own personal taste buds. I’ve had several friends say it’s the best tortilla soup they’ve had … plus, it’s easy to make. My secret? Squeezing lime juice on top just after the cheese starts to melt.
As temperatures start to “dip,” what better way to warm-up chilly evenings, than with this all-time favorite tortilla soup recipe? Perfect as an appetizer, or as a main course, one bowl of this soup usually leads to two … or more! Totally a comfort food staple for the Fall Foodie in you.
2 cups | cooked chicken breast (cubed)
1 cup | chopped onion
1 tsp. | olive oil
1 – 4 oz. can | chopped green chilies
1 – 1.25 oz. package | taco seasoning mix ~ the hotter, the better
1 – 16 oz. can | stewed tomatoes
6 cups | chicken broth
1 – 10 oz. package | frozen corn
1/3 cup | fresh chopped cilantro
to taste | tortilla chips, broken into pieces
4 cups | your favorite grated cheese (we prefer pepper jack, monterey jack or cheddar)
1 | avocado
garnish | sour cream
garnish | green onion (scallion)
to taste | fresh ground black pepper
garnish | a squeeze of lime juice
what to do
1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and place into a medium pot filled with water. Bring to a boil for 5-7 minutes and cook until done. Drain and set aside.
2. In a 5-quart saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion in oil 3 to 4 minutes, until soft.
3. Stir in chilies and the seasoning mix, cook 1 minute.
4. Add tomatoes and juice, breaking them up with a spoon.
5. Stir in broth and bring to a boil.
6. Add corn and chicken, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
7. Top with the cilantro.
8. Spoon into bowls and top with chips, cheese, avocado, and sour cream. Garnish with scallion, black pepper, and a squeeze of lime.
Serves 4-5 hungry folks. The soup refrigerates well; keep the garnish (chips, cheese, avocado, sour cream) as last minute additions.
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook