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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Freezer to Crockpot – Taco Soup

There are a million variations on taco soup. It’s easy, it’s tasty, it’s filling, and you can often ad-lib the ingredients to compensate for items you don’t have or use variations to suit your taste if there are ingredients you don’t like.   

Most recipes I have seen say to use a specific type of meat.  Realistically, you can use anything that you have or omit the meat completely  I like either browned ground beef or browned steak pieces/stew meat, but you can also use chicken and even kielbasa that’s been cooked prior to adding it to the pot.

Here’s the recipe. 

Taco Soup


1  to 1.5 lb. meat of choice (if fatty meat such as hamburger meat, cook beforehand)
1 small chopped onion
1 can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes (or other diced tomatoes with green chiles)
1 can plain diced stewed tomatoes
1 can kernel corn (not cream corn)
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
1 pkg. taco seasoning

(These are all the regular small-sized cans (around 14-17 oz.), not the large cans.)

Again, do not drain cans of ingredients. Combine all ingredients in 1 gallon zippered bag and freeze.  When ready to eat, add to crock pot and cook on high 4-6 hours or low 6-8 hours. 

Stovetop variation:  Combine all ingredients in 5 qt pan, adding dry ingredients last.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

Serve with crackers, tortillas, or Indian fry bread

Vegetarian:  Omit meat completely or substitute cooked lentils, tofu, or TVP.   
Meat:  Use browned hamburger meat, stew meat, or cut up pieces of round steak, boneless skinless chicken breasts, or even cooked shrimp.  You may also use thinly sliced and browned Kielbasa or smoked sausage alone or added with the other meats for an interesting taste combination.  Just make sure when using any fatty meat, such as hamburger meat or sausage, that it’s browned and drained before adding it to the recipe.
Beans/corn:  My hubby isn’t a fan of corn but will eat it in stews.  I sometimes substitute navy beans, garbanzo beans, or black-eyed peas. 
Tomatoes:  Use any canned tomato combination that suits you based on what you have.  I like Ro-Tel tomatoes because they already have peppers in them, and we tend to like our food very spicy.  However, you may substitute tomatoes with chipotle peppers for an interesting combination or even tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic.  If you do not have tomatoes with chiles in them, you can use regular diced stewed tomatoes and add a couple of tablespoons of chopped canned green chiles.  I have also used fresh tomatoes but added a small can of tomato paste to thicken up the soup, as fresh tomatoes tend to have more liquid.  

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