Friday, January 13, 2012

Taco Soup (Crock Pot)

Half my brats love soup. Half. Not bad. Well sorta. The Ballplayer loves soup. I can put just about any soup in the crock pot and he is happy as can be at dinner. Vegetable Soup. Not many kids like Vegetable Soup. This kids loves it. Strange right? Bean Soup. Yes! Loves it! With Vegetables. Any variation of tortilla soup, and he is there. Now the Tortured Teenager....not so much. She likes any soup the boy hates. Not kidding. Tomato, clam chowder and on occasion anything in a bread bowl (which I think is more for the bread bowl and less for the soup...just saying) Now I have not tried a couple soups on my brats just because I do not want to ruin my good run with soup. Pumpkin, or any of the squashes for that matter. Corn Chowders, although personally I think the boy would love them but I despise creamed corn and I am afraid that it will be anything close to it so I shy away. But anyways, now that I have babbled about what my kids will or will not eat and you should be hungry, IT is Taco Tuesday in this house. My family is still on our Taco Tuesday kick. This soup is an easy fix using my crock pot. If you have never had taco soup, it is similar to chili in a soup form. You could easily make this meatless and it would be just as good. But tonight I am not going meatless. Nope not happening. In fact, I am also not watching my calories and frying some tortillas to put on the top. I have to warn you, Taco soup is a pretty old recipe. Every one has their version, and this is just my basic version.

Taco Soup
1 lb. ground turkey or lean hamburger (or drain the fat after cooking)
1 onion diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 pkg Ranch Dressing Mix
1 pkg Taco Seasoning Mix (or make you own as I do-recipe below)
1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 package frozen corn medley (carrots corn green beans)
1 large can of diced tomatoes (or two small)
1 large can of ortega chilis diced undrained

Brown meat with the onions, drain fat off meat. Mix all ingredients in crock pot and let simmer on low for 2 hours. Serve with sour cream, green onions, tortilla strips or avocado.

I buy my meat in bulk from Costco. I like grabbing the ones that are in hamburger patties (1/4 hamburgers) which are then frozen in 1/2 pound freezer bags. You will need a pound of meat. This is pretty lean.
You will need to salt and pepper it up
MMMmmmm toppings for the soup. This is for later. I am so distracted. Anyways back to the meat
Slice and dice one onion. Add to the meat
I like to brown my meat with the onion and garlic
Something about the smell. It makes the house smell like you are making a gourmet meal
You might need to drain you meat if you find that it has too much fat in the pan. You wont need the fat. Trust me drain it off
Set the crock pot at low while you are preparing everything. It really helps. Nevermind how old my machine looks, it gets used A LOT.
I start by puting 1/2 of 1 of the cans in the crock pot. Attractive right? The ballplayer really doesnt like tomatoes in the whole form. So I have learned that it I run them through the food processor or even a blender that he still get the nutrition of the tomatoes and the soup gets the flavor of them but he wont be moving them along in his bowl.
The rest of the tomatoes go into the processor
Now that they are smooth, into the swimming pool, or I mean the crock pot
Rinse all the beans. Now not everyone shares this. But the slime they sit in is full of sodium and it is gross to me.
I am a huge fan of frozen vegetables. Cheaper than the fresh version and healthier than the canned version. Dump the entire bag into the party bin..I mean crock pot.
Add spices (ranch and taco)
Stir up well
Add the drained meat
Add vegetable broth. I like the low sodium ones.
I also add water. You could add more broth but I like the diluted flavor. Lets all the other flavors come thru.
Cover and let simmer all afternoon.
Before serving, slice up and fry some tortillas. You could use the bagged ones. Sure go ahead. I'll just be making my own. Put about 1/2 cup canola oil into a pan and heat it up on medium high. While the oil is heating finish the garnishes
Cut up an avocado and squeeze 1/2 a lime on it. add salt and pepper forget dinner, I could dip the tortilla chips in this.
grate some cheese. I like the spicy Pepper Jack while The Ballplayer likes cheddar
Oil should be HOT, so add the strips and watch them closely. This is not when you change the channel, or let the dog out. Have your tongs ready because they will need to be flipped NOW
And that quickly they need to be plopped onto the paper towel. Give them a sprinkle of some salt and toss some more tortillas into the pan.
Before you know it you have a mountain of chips. But trust me, it is never enough.

I like it best stirred up and with a beer.


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