Taco Salad Dippers

from melskitchencafe.com

*Serves 6-8

2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey

1 medium onion, chopped

6 cups water

1 cup rice (white or brown)

1 teaspoon oregano

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce

2 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste

1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

In a large pot, brown the ground beef or turkey with the onion and garlic and cook until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are translucent. Drain any accumulated grease. Add the water, rice, seasonings, tomato sauce, tomato paste and beans. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, watching to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot (if you are using brown rice, it may need to simmer for up to 60-70 minutes). The mixture will seem very watery at first, but after simmering, it will thicken to perfection as the rice absorbs water and all the ingredients meld together.

Serve warm with tortilla chips for dipping and other taco garnishes. I have successfully frozen the leftover meat/rice mixture to defrost and reheat later.