Taco Salad

1 envelope taco mix
spices such as cayenne pepper, chili powder, hot sauce
1 pound ground meat (lean ground turkey, chicken or beef, or flank steak or boneless chicken breast)
1 onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
salsa to season the beef and to make the dressing
1 can diced green chilies (4 oz. size)
1 can of refried beans (optional)
2-3 cups hearts of romaine lettuce, washed and sliced crosswise into thin strips
1 tomato, diced
3 green onions, sliced thin with dark parts
1 cup medium cheddar cheese, shredded
low fat sour cream (optional)
tortilla chips (optional)

1. Add a bit of olive oil or Pam in a frying pan and sautee the onions and garlic until they are translucent. Add the ground meat and brown. If using steak or chicken breast sautee the meat in the onion then shred the meat later when it is tender and falls apart easily.
2. Add 1/2 can of diced chilies and continue to cook the meat. Season with taco mix and a dash of any extra spices/sauces you wish to add.
3. Add 3/4 cup water and 3/4 cup salsa to the meat. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
4. Optional: Add 1/2 can of beans to the ground meat and stir (more if you like). Simmer for 10 minutes on low heat. This makes a wonderful and different flavor but if you prefer to layer the beans on their own, heat them up separately or don't add any at all. DO NOT ADD BEANS TO STEAK OR CHICKEN BREAST MEAT!! You will need to layer the beans separately.
5. Make the salad as the meat simmers: in separate bowls add thinly sliced lettuce, chopped tomatoes, slice the onions, shred the cheese, put some salsa and chips in bowls.
6. Serve buffet style or arrange for people in the following layers: salad with a large scoop of the meat mixture in the middle then topped with cheese, tomatoes, a large dollop of salsa, sour cream, and sprinkle green onions on top. Arrange chips around the plate.
Note: To make the recipe low fat, use Pam not olive oil and the leanest ground meat. Omit chips and sour cream or use baked chips and non fat sour cream. Use low fat cheese and less of it. Carb watchers can omit the beans.
~*~ From Suzy ~*~