Thursday, March 5, 2015

Taco Soup

It snowed last night.  In Texas!  In March!  It iced and snowed, well mostly iced, last week too.  So even though it is March we are still in soup season here.  We are also in spring cleaning season but I'll save my new tips on that for another day. 
Back to soup season.  My 2 favorite soups are Taco Soup and Baked Potato soup.  I make Taco more often though because my husband prefers it.  Darn husbands and their opinions.  Ok, just kidding.  I'm just glad he will eat soup.  He is pretty picky. 
Soup is fairly forgiving.  I'm not sure how it can be screwed up, but here is my basic recipe if you aren't sure where to start. Sometimes I switch it up a little but for the most part this is what goes in mine most of the time. 
It is rich in tomatoes and antioxidants (ya, I went there) and of course fiber.  While it still looks like winter, it's time to start thinking about those summer clothes.  Fiber is a good place to start.  Don't knock it until you try it. 
For all the canned goods try to get the low sodium varieties or you will never see those pretty ab muscles under all that bloat. 
King Taco soup
1 lb ground beef (I used 93% this time, but whatever is your favorite will work, just strain off the fat before proceeding)
1 red bell pepper chopped finely
1 TBLS oil
1 can black beans (strain and rinse)
1 can red kidney beans (strain and rinse)
1 cup frozen corn
2 packs of taco seasoning (definitely go low sodium here or use your own favorite sodium free recipe)
1 large can of petite cut tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
1 can of beef broth
Shredded cheese (pepper jack, cheddar, a Mexican blend, whatever sounds good to you)
Sour cream
Corn chips (Fritos style are my favorite, but a traditional tortilla chip is fine or score some style points and make your own.  My mom makes amazing flour tortilla chips that would be delicious to dip into this soup)
Extra chopped tomatoes
This can be done in a crock pot or for a one pot meal use a large pot on the stove. As a working mom that hates dish duty, this is the method I recommend.  Also, the less dishes I dirty, the more likely my husband is to clean up after dinner.  I try to make it easy on him.
1.  Whatever method you use, start by sweating out the red peppers in your large pot with the oil on medium low.  Just get a little color on them and get them to tender. 
2.  Add the ground beef and brown until done on medium. 
3.  Stir in the remaining 7 ingredients and turn to simmer.  Let simmer for an hour to develop and marry the flavors.
4.  Scoop into bowls and let each person top with their favorite toppings.  Enjoy!
Leftovers will last up to 3 days in the fridge, but know that it will get a tad bit spicier by the next day. 
This soup also freezes great.  Scoop any leftovers after the soup has cooled, into individual bowls and freeze.  Same thing on the spicier though. 
For the crockpot version, do step 1 as above and then add it and the remaining ingredients to a crock pot.  Depending on when you want to eat, is what temperature you set it.  High if you want to eat within 2-4 hours, medium for 4-6, low if you are not eating it until after 6 hours.  It will hang out just fine for up to 10 hours if your crockpot goes that long.
Now that you have tried this recipe, you can get more creative next time.  Add a can of Rotel instead of the taco seasoning or maybe in addition if you are brave.  Add ground chicken or turkey instead of the beef.  Add diced potatoes, pinto beans, green bell peppers, bacon, and/or onions.  A lot of recipes I have seen have a packet of ranch dip mix.  I'm not sure of the point to that, but it might be good.
Let me know how you like it and how you made it your own. 

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