Taco Salad

I used to hate Taco Salad. When my mom made it, I would get so frustrated because I didn’t know how to eat it. You can’t poke a fork through corn chips! And I couldn’t scoop it up in my fork because it would fall through. I just couldn’t do it!! So so frustrating.

Then we had Taco Salad over Christmas break at Adam’s house I realized if I focused more on the salad and meat part and then added the crunched chips as extra it was more manageable. And I grew to love it. I felt like I was eating some awesome Costa Vida salad.

How did I not think of this before?!

So when I saw this recipe, I was really excited to try it because

a. I love salads in general

b. I had a new found love for taco salads

c. This was a totally different way to make it and it seemed so intriguing.

Here it is:

Taco Salad

taco salad

[I didn’t feel like my picture was pretty enough, so I thought I’d share this one first. It’s look more impressive.]

1 Head of Lettuce, broken into bite size pieces

4 Tomatoes, cut in wedges

4 oz. Cheddar Cheese, coarsely grated

Toss together with Thousand Island dressing*

Add Salsa to taste


1 Pound of Ground Beef, browned

1 Taco Seasoning packet

1 Can of Kidney Beans (drained)

1 Onion

Simmer for 10 minutes


When ready to serve, add meat and bean mixture to salad with 1 sliced avocado and 1 ounce bag of Tortilla Chips, crunched. Toss gently. Serve immediately.

*Thousand Island dressing can be made with mayonnaise, salsa or chili sauce, ketchup and hot sauce. {I actually didn’t do this… explained later}

{my two cents:} So I did a couple of things differently. I don’t know if that’s against the rules, but I figured it’s my project so I can do it how I want.

I didn’t have Thousand Island dressing and mixing salsa with mayonnaise sounded good but I got too nervous to try it. Which isn’t good for this project, I know. But I figured I’d just take it slow. So instead, I mixed salsa with sour cream and used that to mix into the salad. It was good! It gave it a good zing and spice that I enjoyed.

With the meat, the original recipe actually doesn’t call to mix the meat with Taco Seasoning or brown the meat with onions. It only said to season the meat with salt and to cut the onion straight into the salad. But I’m a fan of browned onions and I think it gives lots of flavor. Also, I think Taco Seasoning is essential for Taco Salad. Which really did add a lot to it. We like spice. We love it actually. And it packed a lot of it.

Also, my avocados weren’t ripe yet so that was a bummer. We love avocados. So that would’ve been an awesome addition. And I would strongly encourage serving immediately [which is why it’s bolded, underlined, and italicized]. Adam came home from school late after I made the salad and the chips were really soggy. He said it was still really good and liked it. But I know he would’ve been more impressed with the crunchiness of the chips. So don’t forget to do that!

{here’s my picture}


See you can’t see the pretty green of the lettuce or the bright red of the tomatoes. I need to work on presentation…. but whatever. It was awesome!



Baked Chicken Parmesan

So I’ve always been afraid of breading chicken. I don’t know why. It just always seemed really technical and fancy and I thought I would totally butcher it not to mention mock cooks everywhere who can bread chicken with ease.

But I did it!! And it was good. And I can’t wait to try it again.

I felt so fancy. And Adam seemed very impressed.

I conquered my fears. Thank you Robinson Family Cookbook.

Baked Chicken Parmesan


4-6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

1 Package of Ritz Crackers, crushed fine

3 Tablespoons of Parmesan Cheese

1 Tablespoon of Garlic Salt

1 Square of Butter, melted

Sour Cream

Wash chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Mix cracker crumbs, parmesan cheese, and garlic salt. Coat chicken well with sour cream (use pastry brush) {or spatula}. Dip in cracker mixture. Lay in shallow baking pan. Drizzle butter over all chicken. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

{my two cents:} I was surprised when I saw Ritz crackers on there. I never would have thought. But loved it! I haven’t tried bread crumbs [because of the aforementioned fear] so I don’t know how to compare it with crackers. But it seemed really good to me.

The other part that surprised me was that you coat it in sour cream first instead of egg yolk which I have seen before. But I really liked it! We love sour cream in this house and it really seemed to give it a good flavor.

We heated up some Ragu sauce and served it on top. Since I never made it before, I didn’t really know what to serve it with. So i just made corn [a staple]. We decided that next time it would probably taste really good served on top of some pasta shells or something.


Baked Chicken Breasts and Potato Stuff

[Warning: I forgot to take pictures. I kept saying, “Shoot I didn’t take a picture” then Adam would say, “Take a picture of the dishes.” Then I forgot again and by that time it was just too late…]

{Potato Stuff is also known as  Funeral Potatoes}

I made this Sunday night for Adam’s cousin and his fiancĂ©e. Adam was nervous that I would try something new when we have guests. But it actually turned out really good! if I do say so myself….

Baked Chicken Breasts

8 Chicken Breasts (bones and skinned)

8 Slices of Bacon

1 Pint of Sour Cream

1 Can of Cream of Chicken Soup

Put chicken breasts into baking dish and place bacon slices on top. Mix sour cream and cream of chicken soup. Spread on top of chicken and bacon. Bake at 275 degrees for 3 hours uncovered. (The sour cream is optional and you can cook it faster at 350 degrees.)

{my two cents:} We loved it. So good. We especially loved the bacon. As Jim Gaffigan put it, “You wanna know how good bacon is? To improve other foods they WRAP IT IN BACON!” It’s true.

We also only used 4 chicken breasts since it was only four of us. But we still used a whole can of Cream of Chicken soup. Which was too much. We forgot to ration it out. But it wasn’t a big deal. Just gave it more sauce.

Also, we cooked it 350 degrees. It cuts like an hour or so off the cooking time. Convenient.

Potato Stuff {or Funeral Potatoes}

15 Large Potatoes, boiled and grated (Or 1 large packaged of frozen hash browns)

1 Cube Melted Margarine

2 Cans of Cream of Chicken Soup

1 Large Carton of Sour Cream

Lots of Grated Cheese {we used about a pound I think….?}

Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl but put aside some extra cheese. Spread mixture in baking dish. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Note: You can also top with bread crumbs or corn flakes. {I am not a fan of that method…} Makes 2 large pans.

{my two cents:} Well I added some of my thoughts throughout but here’s some more. I only used 8-10 potatoes and that was plenty. It made one big pan. I’ve also tried this recipe before where you cube the potatoes instead of grating them and it was good. But I think grating the potatoes soaks up more of the flavor in the sauce where having cubes you would have extra sauce to dish out on top. If that makes sense….

Also, as you can tell, I didn’t measure out the cheese and the recipe didn’t have a measurement. But we like lots of cheese so we used a lot. You can use your best judgment. We are all about calories so our judgment was was based on the love of fattening things. We are okay with our decision.




the history

The Robinson Family Cookbook was put together by Adam’s aunts for a Robinson Family Reunion. It includes recipes that their mother made while they were growing up as well as recipes from their own kitchen.

One of my favorite things about the cookbook is that it includes different childhood memories throughout the pages. Some of the stories are funny, some very heart-warming and all of them help us get to know our family better. [I will share some of these throughout my posts. Just so you can get a taste as well. :)]

Another thing the cookbook includes is all the different family mottos for the year. Adam’s grandparents decided that each year their family should have a motto and a goal for the new year.

Such as: “Do It More In ‘84”

Clever huh?

Before Adam’s Grandma Robinson passed away I had the opportunity to meet her and spend time with her. She was a wonderful woman with such love and kindness for everyone she met. {You only had to meet her once to know that she loved you for who you are.}

Not many people can do that I don’t think.

For me, as just being an implant into the family, this cookbook in a way has made me so much more grateful for where Adam has come from. It is amazing to me how great these people are and that I can be honored to be a part of their family.


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