It's crazy good, so maybe that's why it's called "loco taco."
Bowling Green's David DeWalt is well known among family and friends as a talented cook and a great host, so it wasn't hard to find people who wanted to recommend him as a Cook's Corner subject.
The tough job was DeWalt's.
"Coming up with a favorite recipe to share was rather difficult, being that I enjoy making and inventing new types of dishes," he admitted. "I enjoy traveling to Mexico for vacations and love many different types of Mexican cuisine and trying to duplicate some of the delicious dinners I have enjoyed" while south of the border. "However, the recipe I have decided to share doesn't come from Mexico. This dish originated out West."
DeWalt describes loco taco as "a fun and creative Mexican dish my mother Linda DeWalt has made for years. It has been served since I was a little child growing up in Lake Tahoe with my family.
"No one remembers who came up with it first, as it has been passed on to many friends and family as my family moved from Lake Tahoe, California; Bowling Green, Ohio; Pendleton, Oregon; Sacramento, California, and then back to Bowling Green.
"This dish is great to prepare for just a few people to large family and friend gatherings or parties," with a simple increase in the amount of ingredients.
"The more vegetables you chop, the more hamburger you brown up, the more you can serve."
Its shining virtues don’t end there.
DeWalt feels that loco taco is a great main dish for Cook’s Corner readers as it is very economical to make in these challenging times.
“Another great aspect is that is can be prepared ahead, such as the time our family drove from Bowling Green to Avery Lake in Vermont for a family vacation. All we had to do was take it out of the cooler and warm it up and it served a family of 14 in minutes after hours of driving!”
The dish is particularly kid-friendly because it is such fun for all to help prepare.
“Basically, each person after all the prep work is done grabs a plate and builds their own ‘loco taco’. Once you have all the ingredients prepared, you put everything out in separate dishes, buffet style.”
But here is where DeWalt offers his key cautionary note.
“Be careful as you’re making the dish; your plate will fill up really fast as you layer the ingredients on. So start out slow!”
He’s right. The dish is quite healthy, but surprisingly filling.
DeWalt encourages those who make this fun recipe over the next few weeks — perhaps for Memorial Day or a graduation party — to be creative in setting up their buffet. “Sometimes I put things in separate containers or separate them on a large platter.”
If a time crunch is likely, everything can be made in the morning. When evening comes, just reheat the burger and the tomato sauce, and serve immediately.
“The hot tomato sauce is the key. It kind of brings it all together.”
Depending on the type of gathering planned, “sometimes I like to serve this with a great Margarita. I was lucky enough to learn of a great recipe for margaritas from some great friends. I refer to the beverage as the ‘Laux Margarita.’
“All you need to do is take one 12-ounce can of frozen Limeade and pour into pitcher. With the same empty Limeade can, fill it with Diet Sprite and pour again into the pitcher. Using the same 12-ounce Limeade can, fill it with White Tequila and finally pour in a bottle of Corona. Mix all the ingredients together in the pitcher and serve over ice.
“This adult drink goes well with the loco taco.”
DeWalt is well known around town as the owner of the Solarium Hair and Tanning Salon for over 15 years.
“I’ve been a hair stylist for over 23 years, first starting in California and then moving to be closer to my family here in Bowling Green,” a community he first grew to love when he lived in the area between ages 11 and 15. “I love my job and it’s a great feeling making people look and feel better.”
DeWalt also made his mark on the local map when his home and garden were featured on the Wood County Hospital Guild Garden Tour a few years ago. Everyone who saw his Maple Street home remembers it as the one with a back yard that was tropical, with white sand.
“I’ve changed it a lot since. I have an outdoor kitchen; my dad built it,” which comes in handy if he wants to throw an open air dinner party and serve live lobsters.
DeWalt loves to “live outdoors in the summer.” It’s easier than ever now that “we have a place at Lake St. Mary’s, too.”
Both venues are ideal places to throw a barbecue or whip up a loco taco buffet for a crowd.
1 ½ lbs. ground beef
1 packet Taco seasoning
1 bag Frito's Corn Chips
1 8-oz. bag shredded cheese (I use Colby/Monterey Jack)
2 cups shredded lettuce
3 tomatoes, (diced)
1 medium onion
2, 2.25-oz. cans sliced black olives
2 15-oz. cans of tomato sauce
Prep work - Chop lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives and put into separate dishes. Brown ground beef, drain, and add taco seasoning.
In separate pan heat tomato sauce, and keep hot until serving.
Time to eat! Have your family and friends grab a plate, but wait - there are a few simple rules on how to load up on this dish!
First grab your plate, start with a layer of Fritos, and next add your beef, cheese, lettuce, onions and olives. Once you have that done top your "Loco Taco" with the hot tomato sauce.
I also provide the following optional toppings on my buffet to add some zip to the Loco Taco: Sour cream, salsa, avocado, hot sauce and jalapeno peppers.
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