Taco Soup

serving 4If you can open a can, you can probably make this soup. Lucky for me, I have a manual can opener; otherwise, I may be out of luck. For some reason, I seem to be completely incapable of operating an electric can opener. Am I the only one? I don’t know what the deal is, but I can never get the can to attach to the opener right. I figure I can open three or four cans manually by the time I get one can to latch on to an electric opener, so why bother?

serving5Though this soup is about as easy as it gets, it is really flavorful and tastes like a lot more effort. There are different variations of it out there–some make it with hamburger, some with chicken or turkey; some choose different beans or use frozen corn instead of canned. No matter the slight variations, the base soup is really good. It is no-fuss and comes together very quickly. The calorie count is pretty low, especially if you take it easy on the toppings. It freezes and reheats well. It can be made in the crock pot or on the stove top. It’s nice and warm for the winter. A pretty ideal soup…….except not to my kids (one hates chicken; one hates cooked tomatoes; one hates corn and beans–basically the perfect meal to make if I want to frustrate everyone). But I love this soup and most people, other than my kids, love it too.

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Taco Soup

Ingredients:

  • Meat of your choice: 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey; 1-2 cans chicken; or 1-2 cups cooked and shredded chicken or turkeytaco soup ingredients
  • 1 onion
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1 can (10 ounces) tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans
  • 1 can (15 ounces) corn or 1-2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans
  • 1 package taco seasoning or 2 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning
  • 1 package or 3 tablespoons dry ranch dressing mix
  • optional toppings: tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheese

Directions: *I have included directions for making the soup in a crock pot or on the stove top; either works fine.

  1. Chop the onion and garlic finely. If you are using ground beef or turkey, brown it in a pan or pot with the onion and garlic. If you are using shredded cooked chicken or turkey, add the onion and garlic to a large pot or crock pot. (Tip: If you are making the soup on the stove top, and you want to make sure your onions and garlic are cooked well, add a little butter-1 tablespoon- or cooking spray to the pot and cook until the onions are tender and fragrant. If you are making the soup in a crock pot, you will not need to precook the onions and garlic.)
  2. Open all of the cans of tomatoes, corn, and beans. Add the contents to the pot or crock pot. (Tip: You can add all of these cans UNDRAINED. However, if you have people who are particularly *sensitive* to beans, I recommend draining and rinsing the beans  until you no longer see bubbles. I just add a little bit (maybe a cup) of water to make up for the lost liquid.)
  3. Add the taco seasoning and ranch dressing mix to the pot. If using cooked shredded chicken or turkey, add it to the pot now or reserve it to add near the end of cooking just to warm it up. Stir to mix well.  combine all
  4. For a crock pot: cook on low for about 4 hours or high for about 2 hours. For the stove top: Bring all of the ingredients to a medium boil, reduce heat, cover, and continue simmering for at least 15 minutes.ready
  5. Serve with tortilla chips, shredded cheese, and a dollop of sour cream if desired. Soup reheats and freezes well. serving1

*Notes: I have only ever used cooked shredded chicken or turkey for this recipe myself. I drain and rinse the beans and add water to make up for the lost liquid. I wait to add the chicken near the end of the cooking time just to keep it from over cooking. You can adjust the spice up or down by increasing/decreasing the amount of taco seasoning or by choosing a hotter/milder taco seasoning or diced tomatoes and green chilies.

Source: My friend Jennifer

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