Celebrating Fall’s Arrival: Taco Soup.

Taco Soup

Fall is my favorite season.  I love the exciting crispness in the air after 100 degree summers, I adore the excuse to buy new boots and jeans, and of course I love that it brings about the month of celebration for my birthday.

(You celebrate for a month, too, right?)

(As an aside, I’ve always wondered if there is any correlation to people’s favorite season and the season of their birth– especially when their birthday is right at the beginning of it, therefore associating the wonderful feelings of a brand new season with the glee and joy of their special day.  Is this true for you?)

I really enjoy celebrating the coolness of fall with soups and chilis.  Or, if necessary, pushing the season along by making those things in hopes that the chilly weather will soon follow.

(This strategy is often necessary in Alabama.)

One of my recent favorite recipes is from my friend Ashley.  She served it to us last year, and I embarrassed myself by how much I ate.

It was divine.

Besides the perfect flavors, what I love about this recipe is how easy it is to make,  and that it’s only half fresh-vegetable-chopping-labor-intensive.

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You chop a couple, and you get a few more out of cans.  Fresh yet easy – the best of both worlds.

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(What? You don’t have a grocery store called Piggly Wiggly?  I do hope yours doesn’t have some boring name…)

I’ve modified Ashley’s recipe a bit, so here’s my version:

  • 2 lb. Ground Beef (Her recipe calls for 1 pound, but I always double the meat in everything.  It increases the chances of my husband loving it by approximately 117%.)
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 Bell Pepper
  • 5 Large Tomatillos (This is my addition – I have a previously documented addiction to Tomatillos.  If you can’t find these or don’t care for them, they’re totally optional.  They add a tart, green tomato/Salsa Verde flavor.)
  • 1 Can Tomato Soup
  • 1 Can of Vegetable Soup, no meat
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
  • Ro-Tel Lime with Cilantro (Or Ro-Tel Original if you shop at tiny, oddly named grocery stores like me that don’t carry the entire lineup of Ro-Tel.)
  • 2 Cans of Corn (I also doubled the corn.  Everything is better with more corn.)
  • 1 Package of Taco Seasoning
  • 1 Package of powdered Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1 Cup Water
  • Salt

Garnishes:

  • Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Fritos or Tortilla Chips

The recipe has three (THREE!!) simple steps:

  1. Brown and drain the ground beef.
  2. Cut the vegetables.
  3. Pour the cans (not drained) and powders in the pot with the above items.

Before cooking, it looks like this – beautiful and vibrant:

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Cook on low-medium for as long as you like but at least until the vegetables are soft.  After cooking, it looks like this – warm and cozy:

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Garnish with Cheese and Sour Cream, just like every meal should be treated.

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Chris also adds a chunk of Five Alarm Pepper Cheese to the middle of his soup, so if you need further help in convincing your man that this is a suitably masculine dish, he highly recommends it.

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(And if you want to add more heat without the cheese, you can also cut up a jalapeno and throw it in at the beginning.)

And the best part?  One bowl of Taco Soup, before garnishes, is only 280 Calories.

I call that winning.

So.  I need to know – is your favorite season the season of your birth?