Category Archives: Dinner Dash

Dinner Dash: Taco Salad

Salads are one of my favorite dinner dash meals.  Not only do they come together quickly, but the recipe list is super flexible and easily adjustable to your families likes and dislikes. Plus, they are a great way to use up vegetables or leftover chicken or beef.   A few years ago I discovered another secret to salad making that makes the process even faster  – my kids.

Usually when I ask my kids to help with something I get ignored or a lot of complaining. When I ask for their help and bribe them with the use of a knife or a cool gadget I get volunteers and only a few complaints (I would like to say I get no complaints, but complaining is a skill my kids excel at -they’ve been known to complain at having to go to their own birthday parties).

Ever since they were very little my kids have loved to help make salads because they felt pretty big time being able to use a knife.  I learned pretty quickly to let go of the need to have all the vegetables the same size. In like so many other things when they had some freedom and the ability to make their own decisions they were more likely to stick with the task.  Some days the kids wanted to chop away and we would have tiny pieces of everything, other days they went large.

As they are getting older my kids are beginning to become more aware of the details.  They realize it is easier to eat a salad when the tomatoes are cut into bite sized pieces.  They are also beginning to see the consistency is more visually appealing and they like the challenge of getting everything in a consistent size.

This week I called my oldest in to help make a Taco Salad.  This is a meal he can make on his own, but still likes to have me in the kitchen to serve as his sous chef.


The kids love having this salad in taco bowls, which are super easy to make – a great project for the little ones.

041911 045

Simply light brush the tortillas with oil, place in between muffin cups and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

041911 046

Taco Salad

1/2 cup mayonaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup salsa
1 tablespoon Taco Seasoning

1 head Butterhead or Romaine Lettuce, roughly chopped
3 tomatoes, diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 8oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 avocado diced
2-3 large handfuls of Tortilla chips, lightly crushed

For the dressing:
In a small bowl combine mayonaise, sour cream, salsa and taco seasoning. Stir until combined.

For the salad:
In a large salad bowl combine lettuce, tomatoes, corn, black beans and avocado. Add dressing and toss to combine. Top with tortilla chips, gently toss.

Serve and Enjoy!

Dinner Dash: Lo Mein

This is one of my favorite things

010615 (16)

I almost always have a bag on hand and we go through it very quickly.  I usually use it in Lo Mein and stir fry, but it is also great when I need a veggie and don’t have time to prep. .

We have Lo Mein a couple times a month.  Everybody loves it, it comes together in about 20 minutes, it can be eaten hot or cold and is loaded with a variety of vegetables – making it a big win in the Dinner Dash category.

010615 (17)

It is super easy to make this dish from scratch, but this week I had a bottle of Kikkoman Stir Fry sauce on hand, so I used that.  The stir fry sauce was fine, but wasn’t a huge time saver and it is just as easy to make your own.

Lo Mein

1 lb Spaghetti
1 tablespoon Olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
2 large handfuls frozen vegetables
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons Oyster suace
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Fill large pot with water, bring to a boil. Once water is boiling add spaghetti, cook until al dente then drain reserving about 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.

While spaghetti is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, cook for two to three minutes then add frozen vegetables. In measuring cup combine soy sauce, Hoisin sauce, Oyster sauce, sugar, cornstarch and sesame oil, stir until combined. Stir liquid into vegetables, cook for 3-5 minutes then add cooked pasta. Stir in pasta water, a little bit at a time until you reach desired amount of sauce.


Dinner Dash: Sausage and Beans

Growing up we had Italian sausage and baked beans every Thursday night.  And, while I like sausage and I like beans, I cringe slightly when I am offered sausage and beans.  Yet after I cringe, I find myself thinking – “mmm, that doesn’t sound too bad” then I find myself making it for dinner  and now it is becoming a regular part of my meal rotation.  I’m not serving sausage and baked beans every Thursday night, I’m not even serving sausage and baked beans, but I am serving a variation of this classic at least once a month.

One of our favorite variations is sausage, white beans and spinach.  I like to use Italian sausage, but any type of sausage can be used.   Same for the greens, I often use spinach but kale or arugula are just as tasty.

The dish comes together super quickly making it perfect for the weeknight dinner dash. Simply take the sausage out of it’s casing or cut into slices and put into a hot saute pan.

050614 001

Once the sausage is cooked through add a little white wine, or liquid of your choice, the beans and spinach.

050614 003

Continue cooking until spinach is wilted and beans are warm.  Serve with a crusty bread, or whatever you have on hand.

050614 004

Sausage and White Beans
printer ready

1 lb Italian sausage
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
¼ cup white wine
2 15 oz cans of white beans (drained and rinsed)
5 oz. fresh baby spinach
1 teaspoon thyme (or 1 sprig fresh thyme)

Over medium high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large saute pan.
Remove sausage from casing and add to hot pan.  Cook sausage until no longer pink.  Drain grease from pan, then return to heat.  Add garlic and white wine, cook for 2-3 minutes then add beans and spinach.  Once spinach has wilted add thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste.