Thursday, July 25, 2013

Of Castle Blocks, Golden Helmets, Eating the Rainbow for Dinner & a Taco Salad Recipe

I had my young friend, Ben, over yesterday. I have some castle blocks that Ethan and I molded when he was about 10 years old. We used them to build models of ruined castles so that we could use them with the tiny role playing characters that we painted. I had hoped that Ben and I would be able to make more blocks, but I cannot figure out where the molds are. No matter. Ben and I had a great time anyway.We did not get very far, so I sent the stuff home with him. I am thankful that my so is so generous and is allowing Ben to use many of the blocks to build his own structure.
I bought the molds from Hirst Arts many years ago. They are well made and hold up well to a lot of use.

At the end of the afternoon Ben and I picked up Ellie. She had a good day. The day before her crew had three challenges to their Super Crew status and won easily. Chuck took their helmets and painted them gold. This made Ellie happy.
Ellie says that they are a great crew because they have figured out how to work together well. There are four super hard workers who build great trail and four other workers who assist; Ellie works with Santana. She says that the trail comes out much better than if each person did a part on his/her own.

After dropping Ben off at home, we headed home and decided to stop at Goozell for really tasty frozen yogurt. Ellie got Cake Batter yogurt, topping it with fruity pebbles, rainbow sprinkles, mini M&Ms, etc. She said that it was like eating a rainbow (a very sweet one, I am sure.) It was fun, but what a sugar buzz I had. It is great while it lasts, but then I crashed.

Here's what we had for dinner early in the week:

Taco Salad
Modified from the Chicken Taco Salad from The Pioneer Woman

3/4 cups Ranch Dressing (bottled Is Fine)
1/4 cup Salsa (as Spicy As You'd Like)
3 Tablespoons Finely Minced Cilantro ( left this out)

2# Ground Beef, cooked with Taco Seasoning
2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 Tablespoons Seasoning (taco Seasoning, Or Your Own Mix)
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter

1 head Green Leaf Lettuce (1 Large Head Or Two Regular Heads), Shredded Thin
3 whole Roma Tomatoes, Diced
1/2 cup Grated Pepper Jack Cheese
2 ears Corn, Shucked (I used frozen corn that I cooked in the skillet with a bit of butter. I cooked it until it began to caremalize.)
2 whole Avocados, Diced
3 whole Green Onions, Sliced (omitted)
1/2 cup Cilantro Leaves (omitted)
Tortilla Chips Of Your Choice (flavored Or Not), Crushed Slightly

Preparation Instructions:

First, make the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and stirring together. Cover and refrigerate.

Next, make the chicken: Generously season both sides of the breasts. Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken on both sides until deep golden brown on the outside and done in the middle, about 4 minutes per side. Remove and set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then cut it into cubes.

Place the ears of corn in the skillet you used to cook the chicken and roll it around so that the flavorful oil/butter mixture coats the corn. Grill it on a grill pan or cook it in a separate skillet until the corn is still crisp but has color on the outside. Slice off the kernels with a sharp knife and set aside.

To assemble the salad, pile shredded lettuce, chicken, tomatoes, cheese, corn, avocado, green onion, cilantro, and crushed chips on a big platter. Drizzle the dressing all over the top, serving part on the side if you'd like.

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