Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Taco Soup

It's getting colder and time for some warm comfort in a bowl, and this might be just the thing to satisfy your hunger while saving you some calories (if you skip the chips and cheese) for the mashed potatoes and pies you'll no doubt be indulging in this week. I first had this soup a couple years ago when a neighbor brought it to a potluck dinner. I immediately fell in love with it...and then modified it ; ).  I made this over the weekend for a potluck of my own and it was a success once again.  It couldn't be any easier-just open a bunch of cans and dump. This is great for a crowd becuase its easy and cheap. The best part is that it is very forgiving and you can swap out whatever you want. Rather have more black beans? Add another can. Don't like black beans? Add a second can of chili beans or omit them altogether. You can use some leftover chicken (or turkey) and cube it, ground beef, ground turkey, Morningstar crumbles, etc. I do make it quite often with out any meat or meat substitute at all and it's equally wonderful. My one recommendation is that you do use No Salt Added ingredients and my salt-free taco seasoning as much as possible. Using the regular stuff makes it quite salty, and it's better to add a little salt while its cooking and control the amount yourself. Make sure that you do taste it because canned beans already have quite a bit of sodium and so does the ranch seasoning.

Taco Soup

olive oil
1 lb. ground chicken breast
1 medium white or yellow onion, finely diced
1 can (14 oz.) hot chili beans
1 can (14 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 oz.) white beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 oz.) No Salt Added, corn undrained
1 can (14 oz. ) No Salt Added, diced tomatos
1 can (14 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilis
8 tsp. homemade taco seasoning or 1 store bought packet
1 packet ranch seasoning

1. In a large skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and saute until soft.
2. Remove onion from the pan. Add a little more oil and the chicken to the pan. Season with a few pinches of taco seasoning and cook through.
3. Add onion, cooked chicken and the remaining ingredients to a 6 quart crock pot, along with 2 cans of water. I use the water to rinse out the cans first to get any sauce that sticks to the inside.
4. Stir to mix ingredients, making sure to dissolve seasonings. Cook for 8-10 hours on Low setting or 4-5 hours on High.

Garnish with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream, green onion, avocado...anything you can think of.

*Update* - 1/14/2010 - I recently made this recipe as a vegetarian chili to top baked potatoes. Just drain the corn and diced tomatoes, omit the extra water (and chicken), and only use about 2/3 of the can of tomato sauce. I added some chopped red and green peppers too. Thick and delicious!!

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