All right, you had all summer to enjoy your mom’s cooking, and now it’s back to cup o’ noodles and Hot Pockets. Right? Wrong. It’s time you put on your adult pants and learn how to cook for yourself. Of course I understand that’s a scary concept and that some of you are still hesitant on boiling water, but have no fear! I have concocted a simple and effective recipe for you to get started on this year’s culinary adventure. A taco salad is delicious and nutritious and allows you to personalize your creation each and every time you prepare this dish.

Marisa Ratchford / Daily Nexus

1 lb ground beef
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 can of whole black beans
Frozen package of roasted corn
Crunchy lettuce (green, romaine, iceberg)
Diced tomatoes
Diced onions
Sliced avocado
Shredded cheese
Salsa or hot sauce (or both!)
Tortilla chips (for scooping)

First begin by preparing all of your sides, ensuring that the onions and tomatoes are diced, the lettuce and cheese are shredded and the avocado is sliced. Once you’ve handled the prep work then you can begin cooking.
In a sauté pan place your pound of ground beef in. Turn the heat up to medium-high heat and begin to break apart the meat with your spatula or spoon. As the meat begins to simmer, take your taco seasoning pack and sprinkle it over the the meat, coating it liberally and evenly. Begin stirring the meat and coating all the pieces.
While you allow the meat to brown in a separate pot, take 1½ cups of your frozen roasted corn and place in the pot stir until it begins to warm. Then take your can of beans and drain them and place in the pot with the corn. Stir on medium heat for roughly five to 10 minutes until cooked through and warm.
Return to your meat that has been browning, continue stirring until each piece is cooked through, leaving no red or pink inside. I personally like to add a few of my diced onions into the meat mixture at the last minute to create a different grilled texture and enhance the flavors of the taco meat, but this step is not necessary. Once cooked you can begin assembling your bowls.
In a deep cereal bowl begin by layering the lettuce at the bottom. Then layer the taco meat, beans and corn, diced tomatoes and onions, shredded cheese, avocados and finally, your salsas. Arm yourself either with a fork or with tortilla chips and dig in.
This recipe is simple and requires very little kitchen skill, a basic preparation of meat, heating up some beans and a few basic knife skills. The best part about this recipe is even though these ingredients would be a staple taco, you could always mix it up. Add cilantro or green onion, roasted red peppers or sour cream. The possibilities are endless. Hopefully after you’ve mastered this recipe and began experimenting with flavor combinations you’ll be brave enough to try more and more challenging recipes, and soon enough you’ll be a master chef in the making.