Saturday, January 19, 2013

Taco Soup

So, since I promised there would be some recipes on here, I made sure to take pictures while I was making my taco soup the other night.

Note: I do not give a shit about taking fancy pictures of food or anything else I might be making like most cooking and crafty blogs do. I take pictures on my iPhone as I go, if I remember to, and all I care about is whether or not they're in focus. So if you're looking for fancy pictures of food, then visit someone else's blog. I do not have the time, patience, or even the desire, to try to impress anyone with pretty, neat pictures of all my spices and herbs poured out onto a flat surface next to the nicely minced garlic and already chopped onion, arranged neatly around whatever meat or "main ingredient"the recipe calls for. Who's got the f*ing time for that? Not this gal.

End rant.

This recipe is actually (mostly) the way my mom makes her taco soup, and one day I asked her to write the recipe down for me so I could make it. I don't do it exactly the way she does every time, but it's almost exactly like hers. It's REALLY easy to make and I often have most of the ingredients I need already on hand. If you know how to brown beef, then you can probably handle the rest. It's one of those foods that's just perfect to make on really cold nights.

Anyway, here's a few pictures and brief descriptions of the steps (and some self deprecating comments about my picture taking), but don't worry, the full recipe is at the bottom. Oh, and if you're wondering why I used such an enormous pot when clearly I am not going to be filling even half of it, it's because I just freaking can.

Not that anyone doesn't really know what browning beef looks like, but hey, I remembered to take pictures as I was cooking, which is impressive enough on its own. After browning the beef you simply add some onion, garlic, taco seasoning, water and beef bouillon cubes...

This doesn't look attractive at all. But I promise, the smell is amazing, and you'll thank me for the wonderful aroma that fills your kitchen (or at least masks the scent of dirty diapers in the trash, whatever), especially when you move on to the next two steps.

Here it looks much better, unless you don't like corn or pinto beans or tomatoes. In which case I suggest you not even bother making this dish.

Ahh, this is really my favorite part, besides devouring it. This is where you add the cilantro! If I could put cilantro in everything...I probably would. 

The final product, topped with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.

Once it's all mixed up and ready to be stuffed into my mouth, it looks like this, and I like to break a few tortilla chips into it for some crunch. Also, aren't you just loving the fact that I've still got my Christmas tablecloth on my dining room table?

Taco Soup
Servings: I have no idea the exact number of servings, I can tell you it makes plenty for my family and we've still got a lot left.
Prep/cook time: It literally took me over two hours to make this dish ONLY BECAUSE of all the times I had to stop what I was doing and kiss bo-bo's and change diapers and deal with homework and whiny kids. But if I didn't have to do all that, it would've probably taken about 30 minutes total.

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 tbsp chili powder, or more/less as desired
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped (you can do a whole onion if you prefer, but I don't have the patience to chop an entire onion unless I absolutely have to)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups water*
  • 2 packets taco seasoning mix**
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 4 cans Rotel (Mild or Original)
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, to taste (I like a lot of cilantro so I used 2 cups of cilantro leaves - which turns into much less once you actually chop them up)
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Shredded cheddar OR Mexican Blend cheese (optional)
  • Tortilla chips (optional)
*The amount of water is totally up to you - if you want more soup and want it to be a bit more liquidy, then 4 cups or even more would probably suit you better. If you want more veggies and meat than soup, than 2 or 3 cups would work fine.
**When I made it this time, I only had one packet of taco seasoning mix, so I added a tad bit more chili powder and a little cumin, and it came out just fine.

  1. Brown the beef in a deep pot. Drain grease and return beef to the pot.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, chili powder, taco seasoning, water and beef bouillon cubes. If you're adding any cumin or other spices, dump those in too. Stir until the taco seasoning and spices are dissolved into the mixture. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once it's boiling, add the Rotel, pinto beans and corn, and stir them all into the beef mixture. Cover and turn the heat down to medium-low; let it simmer for as long as you want (I usually let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes or so, or however long it takes me to chop my cilantro and get kids rounded up at the table). Stir occasionally.
  4. Uncover, mix in the cilantro and remove from heat.
  5. Ladle soup into bowls and top with the shredded cheese and sour cream. Serve with tortilla chips for dipping or breaking up/adding to the soup.
  6. Also, if you generally like jalapenos on your tacos or at all, you could try adding some chopped up and seeded jalapenos on top with the cheese and sour cream!

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