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Easy Family Dinner Ideas: Taco Salad Recipe and DIY Rope Placemat Decor

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Easy taco salad bites in tortilla bowls on a rope placemat

Does you have any family dinner night traditions in your home? One of our favourites is our Taco Tuesdays – it doesn’t just exist in the movies you know! Once a week our family manages to sit together after a long day of school and work to enjoy our favourite Mexican meals such as quesadillas, tacos, fajitas and our quick and easy taco salad. This savoury and crispy salad is filling and most of the ingredients can be easily prepared the night before. We’re happy to share the recipe with you below as well as a quick DIY project to accompany the perfect casual family dinner night tablescape: a wrapped sisal rope placemat.

It’s pretty fun trying new recipes each week and mixing up the side dishes. With my little grocery shopping helpers in tow at Loblaws on the weekend we picked up our supplies including OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls which we hadn’t tried before. The soft tortilla bowls come in original and adorable mini sizes which were perfect for the kids.

Easy Taco Salad Recipe


  • 1 small cooking onion
  • 1 lb of extra lean ground beef
  • 1 package dry taco seasoning
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup grated marbled or regular cheddar cheese
  • ½ head of iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 or 2 tomatoes, diced
  • ¾ package of taco/corn chips, crushed
  • 1 cup of California or Catalina salad dressing
  • 1 package (12 count) OLD EL PASO Mini Tortilla Bowls


  1. On medium heat sautee onions until transparent.
  2. Add ground beef and cook fully. Drain off excess fat.
  3. Return to heat. Add water and taco seasoning mix and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Cool completely in refrigerator. Can even be prepared in advance and left in the fridge overnight.
  5. When ready to serve, toss the prepared meat with the remaining ingredients and stir well.
  6. Spoon into the tortilla bowls and serve.

The OLD EL PASO tortilla bowl is the only soft tortilla that stands up on it’s own and it really is easy to fill. The mini bowls filled with the taco salad would be a perfect finger food for a game night party, potluck or summer picnic. They are easy to handle, eat and clean up. In fact, they’re self-cleaning 😉 !

For a little special touch to complement your Taco Tuesday family dinner night you can make these simple and casual DIY rope placemats and coasters.

To Make Your Own DIY Wrapped Rope Placemats and Coasters:


  • ¼” diameter sisal rope such as this rope on Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Hot glue gun and clear craft glue sticks


  1. Preheat glue gun. Protect work surface with a piece of scrap paper.
  2. Apply small dab of glue to end of sisal rope and carefully fold end in. This will be the center of the placemat or coaster.
  3. Apply another small dab of glue and wrap rope around the start of the circle.
  4. Continue working in the round and applying glue in small amounts as you go.
  5. When you’ve reach your desired coaster size, cut rope end and glue end in place. Keep going to make the larger placemat.

We made these coasters and place mat as a part of our Simple Daily DIY 15-creativity challenge. Come unleash your natural creativity with us and join the challenge!

With so much busy-ness in our lives these days it’s nice to make the time to enjoy a family meal together and something we should try to strive for more often. We appreciate that OLD EL PASO is a family brand and makes having Mexican cuisine easy, special and fun for our family.

We’ll definitely be getting the tortilla bowls again. There’s so many possible ways to use them for any savoury or even sweet dish. For dessert after dinner I filled the mini tortilla bowls with some fresh fruit for the kids to enjoy while they watched TV. It made me smile when my 4-year old came up to me in the kitchen and sheepishly asked “Mama, can I eat the fruit cup?”. After I said yes, she gave me a big, almost relieved smile and said “good, cuz it’s yummy”.

I kid you not.

For more great Mexican-inspired family dinner night recipe ideas visit the OLD EL PASO website.

Like it? Pin it for later!

Have you tried the OLD EL PASO Tortilla Bowls? If so, how do you use them (we’d love to try new ideas!)?

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Thursday 9th of June 2016

Love that recipe! It's very close to how I make my taco salad but you have a couple differences I'm going to try - and so fun to put it in the tortilla bowls. And how great are the rope placemats? Love the simple rustic look they add. #client

Jane and Sonja

Monday 13th of June 2016

Thanks, Cyn. They were very tasty!

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