Friday, April 19, 2013

Cooking From the Pantry--Quick and Easy Taco Soup

Yesterday I worked on cleaning out my fridge and pantry as part of the 30-Day House Cleaning Challenge at Money Saving Mom. The fridge wasn't so bad, but the pantry, oh my! I found things I had forgotten I had, as well as realized some deficiencies I need to correct. Since I was working on the pantry anyway, I decided to see if I could come up with all of the ingredients I needed to make a good a dinner, and I decided on one of my favorite go-to meals, taco soup.

I love taco soup, because everything in it is something that I buy regularly anyway, I don't have to make a point to buy any exotic ingredients, it's usually all on hand in the pantry and freezer.  There are a variety of different ways you can make this, and trust me, I've made this dozens of times with all different combos of beans, tomatoes, etc.  This is the version I made yesterday

  • 1 lb ground meat (I used the very lean home raised beef I get from my parents)
  • 1 29-oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 15-oz can of black beans
  • 1 1-oz can of red beans
  • 1 12-oz pkg frozen corn
  • 2 packets of taco seasoning
  • about a tablespoon of dried onion flakes
Ordinarily I cook the meat first, draining it if I use commercial ground meat--luckily our homegrown meat is so lean we don't have to do that. But our son is eating vegetarian right now, so I cooked the ground meat in a skillet separately. Once I got the meat cooking, I put the corn in the microwave for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, I opened the tomato sauce and beans, and dumped them in my soup pot, adding the taco seasoning and onion flakes, bringing it to a simmer.  When the corn was ready, I opened it and added it to the soup pot.  At this point, all it needs is some time.  Cover and simmer for at least 20 minutes to give everything time to meld together.  At this point, I scooped some out in a smaller saucepan for my son, and added the cooked ground meat to the rest.

Taking out some of it made the meat version a little thicker than I usually make it, and I normally would have added some additional tomato sauce, maybe even just a little water, and some additional seasoning, but I used up all of the taco seasoning I had (and I had borrowed one of those packets from my mother!)

I ate mine with a little grated "Fiesta blend" grated cheese and a little dollop of sour cream.

This is good a regular soup, with crackers, or with corn chips.  It's very hearty, no matter how you eat it. 

My son pronounced the vegetarian version good, as well.  "Almost like real taco soup". 

Last night turned out to be good night for it, although we've had very warm weather lately, we had a thunderstorm move through and cool things back down quite a bit. 

What's your "go-to" meal for cooking from your pantry?

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating...

This post is linked to:
Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm
Friday Favorites at Simply Sweet Home
Foodtastic Friday and Friends at Not Your Ordinary Recipes
Clever Chicks Blog Hop at The Chicken Chick
Mealtime Monday at Couponing and Cooking
Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar & Gluten Free
Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam


  1. I just printed this up to make during the week, before the soup season disappears.

  2. I make this soup also, Charlene. If only people understood that it's just as quick to make up a nice pot of soup like this, rather than running to the fast food joints, we'd all be healthier. Plus there's always enough left over for lunch the next day and it's cheaper!

    PS: We add a can of drained golden hominy to the soup, to give us something extra to chew on.

  3. Oh, I know, I had this thown together in no time, then I just set it on the back burner to simmer for just a bit, and it's ready to go!

    Never thought about adding hominy, I may try that next time!

  4. Sounds good..........Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!

    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick