Too much is never enough….

So daughter #2, Courtney {AKA Moose}, suggested I go back to salsa and talk about that some more. Thanks Moose! I will start at the beginning …

In college, my sorority sisters and I had a lot of dreams, a lot of fun, and very little money. In those days, we made a taco salad. It pretty much looked like a bowl of garbage, but it was OH SO TASTY. My family enjoyed it too, so when money was tight, it seemed like a treat instead of the frugal meal it was. So what is in taco salad you ask? Here goes:
Lettuce
Tomato
Ground beef
Shredded cheddar
Taco chips
Thousand Island dressing

And here is the fix: Clean and chop the lettuce and tomatoes. Make the vegetables bite sized….no, not like a restaurant where the dressing gets on your face as you try to put a bite in your mouth…..but really bite sized. Saute the ground beef. Add salt, pepper, onion powder (or actually chopped onion if you wish!) dry oregano, parsley, dill, and basil. When this is done, pour it over the salad. Yup. Pour it over the salad. Put cheese all over that! (It keeps getting better!) Crush the taco chips and throw those in! Then pour the thousand island dressing and toss gently, but completely. EAT! {Disclaimer: Make only what you an eat. It really doesn’t save well at all!}

Now I cook by look and taste. So I really can’t give you measurements, but if you taste along the way you will have a quick and tasty one bowl meal. Let me say that again … TASTE along the way! And then let me say this: make the recipe your own. When you bake, you must measure. When you cook … be creative. I seldom make a recipe exactly the same. Even this taco salad I just described you could change in so many ways. Add peppers. Add chopped onion. Use a different cheese. Adjust the herbs and spices to taste. Make it your own. Make it delicious to you.

Now why a taco salad in a discussion of salsa? That is the back story to finding inexpensive but TASTY foods. I decided one day to make salsa and read dozens of recipes online. Some called it salsa, some called it bruschetta. I suppose I thought it became bruschetta when you put it on toasted bread! In fact, by definition that is true. This is what I knew, if I made the delicious veggie concoction I had the base or addition to many other delicious recipes.

Since I make salsa at least once a week, I make it basically the same each time. Again, don’t ask for measurements. GO EASY! THEN TASTE! ADD MORE IF YOU WISH!
Tomatoes ~ I used Roma or plum for the longest time, but I have found hothouse tomatoes on sale and my salsa didn’t suffer! Wash and chop the tomatoes. Take out the seeds! They make the salsa too sloppy! I use big tomatoes, chop off the top and dig out the seeds before chopping. Chop small dices and toss a little kosher salt over them to bring out the juices while you chop the onion. Chop red onion and add to the tomatoes. I use three big tomatoes to one red onion. My husband likes the onion not to overpower the tomato and red onions are pungent. You might use white or yellow onion if you wish a milder flavor. Now for the FLAVOR. No more salt. Really, you salted already and the tomatoes thank you. But no more. Now add ground black pepper, a lot of dill (Dill is my favorite flavor. I use it in every meal! LOL), parsley, oregano and a hint of basil. Stir that up and take a taste. Add more of whatever pleases your palate. Now, a healthy drizzle of olive oil if you please. And … here goes … a little drizzle of clear agave. Now agave is a talk for another time, but we are converts. If you haven’t explored agave, use a teaspoon of sugar. Stir and taste again. Now you are ready to decide what to do with that deliciousness you have created!

Variations:
Chop up a mango. Add that to the salsa. It makes it sweet and tangy. My friend Mark thinks this is the perfect food. No chips needed, he eats it with a spoon!
Add peppers. Sometimes I add green, orange, red, and yellow. It makes a beautiful display of confetti color!
Add corn. Really. That ear of corn you didn’t finish last night for dinner? Cut the kernels off the cob and stir it in.

Add to?
An omelette ~ a healthy spoonful, some cheese (your choice, I like feta) and you have an amazing breakfast.
Chicken breast ~ Melt fontina (the perfect cheese in my books) or mozzarella on your chicken breast while is it resting after you cook it. Then put the salsa on top and voila, you have bruschetta chicken.
Guacamole ~ Smash a ripe avocado or two and add some of your salsa. Mix gently.
Pasta ~ Makes your favorite pasta. Add your lovely salsa and some cheese. Mmmm…..dinner! What cheese? What do you like? Tangy = parmesan. Mild = fontina. Or traditional = mozzarella.
Fajita night ~ Need I say more?!

Ok, there is a pot of meat sauce on the stove that is calling me to check it. That discussion to come. How did I do Moose?

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