Keeping it real since 2014

Easy Dinner: Taco Soup

I love soup. I love tacos. This is the dinner I make when I don’t feel like making dinner. It’s both cheaper and faster to make than takeout (if you have the ingredients on hand).

Taco Soup Finish

If you want to skip my witty commentary and pictures here’s the recipe: Taco Soup

Taco soup is as simple as the name implies. It’s simple to make, hearty, and flavorful. If you can dodge a ball open cans you can make this soup. If you skip the tortilla chips, the soup is low in sodium and semi-healthy… but be real, tortilla chips are delicious, don’t skip those.  It’s cheap to make, and you can get it together in less than 40 minutes.

So let’s get started, grab your favorite pot and heat that sucker up.

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Brown the ground beef…

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Chop up one onion (I swear this is the hardest part of the whole recipe)…

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Drain the ground beef in the strainer…

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Pop open the cans of stuff and add to the strainer…

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Meanwhile back at the pot, which I forgot to tell you to keep on medium heat, add the onions and spices…

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Then add all the juice (this recipe is the only reason I think V8 is still in business. That and bloody marys).  Also, it’s super hard to take pictures and pour a large bottle of juice. #blogproblems.

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The taco seasoning is usually adequate to flavor the soup, so if you have kiddos or people who like a more mild taste it’s not necessary to add more flavor. But me, I like all the flavors, so I add a good amount of garlic, hot sauce, pepper, and sugar. Fun fact: if you accidentally add too much heat, sugar will counterbalance the spiciness. 

Additionally, if you are eyeballing how much pepper to add, I usually like to cover the surface area of the soup with pepper. It generally is a good way to add enough to flavor the soup. The thing you want to be most careful with is salt. It’s hard/impossible to unsalt food. Also, if you add cheese or chips later on down the line, those also add salt to the overall flavor, so keep that in mind too. I usually wait to salt my stews and soups until the last step, after the flavor has had a chance to simmer and develop.

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A side bar about measuring spoons and cups. I have no less than three sets of measuring cups and measuring spoons. It really expedites cooking, because I don’t have to stop to wash off the teaspoon three times. Additionally, I keep all my measuring things in the same place and clumped together for easy access. You’d be surprised how much easier it is to cook when you’ve got your tools organized and easily accessible.

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Anyway, back to the soup… Cover the soup and simmer for 30 minutes over medium low heat. Since we didn’t fully cook the onions or the garlic, it gives a chance for those ingredients to cook down and flavor the broth. Mmmm… look at that meaty goodness… taco soup.jpg

Now this soup is pretty delicious on its own, but since this is ‘mercia, I can’t leave well enough alone. I need chips and cheese to make it a real meal.

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That’s it! It’s a great, easy meal to make. The ingredients, especially if you buy generic, are affordable. At five generous servings with tax that’s around $3.40 a serving. Not bad!

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64 oz. vegetable juice: $3.49
15 oz. can of corn, low sodium: .69
15 oz. can of black beans, low sodium: .79
15 oz. can of diced tomatoes, low sodium: .80
1 packet of taco seasoning, low sodium: .89
1 large onion: .99
1 lb. ground beef, 80% lean: $5.88
1 bag tortilla chips: $2.49

Grand total: $16.02
At five generous servings with tax and pantry items, that’s around $3.40 a serving. Not bad!

Anyway, this is one of my favorite recipes and I hope you can add it to your lineup. Whether you’re an old hand at cooking or you’re just starting to learn (reasons why you should cook, and how you can get started), this recipe is great to have in your repertoire.

Happy eating!

 

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