Recipe: Easy Taco Soup

This recipe is one of my easy go-to favorites when I’m craving something warm, with a Mexican flare, and straight up easy. I start this earlier in the afternoon and the flavors taste oh so lovely about 3 hours in.

This makes a ton, so get out your largest pot and be prepared for leftovers <- which taste even better IMHO.

the lineup

all mixed together

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Taco Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey (or beef or chicken)
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 16-oz jar of your favorite salsa

Suggested Toppings:

  • Tortilla chips for dipping and some added crunch
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, brown your choice of meat, cooking all the way through. (I add a small amount of olive oil when I cook lower fat content meat like turkey, to prevent burning.)
  2. Once the meat is fully cooked, drain any remaining fat from the pot. 
  3. Add the remaining ingredients from the top Ingredient list to the cooked meat. Do not drain the corn or beans as you want their juices to make the soup. 
  4. Heat the soup thoroughly (I generally cook this on low). It is ready once heated, but I love to let it cook for about 2-3 hours to let the flavors really meld together. 
  5. Serve with the suggested toppings above, or the soup is great by itself.

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I may not be a loyal leftover lover, but this one I can eat day after day.

Cheesy Quinoa Zucchini Boats

A few weeks ago, I decided to create a dinner dish featuring the amazing zucchini from the local farmer’s market. Normally, I would have followed an actual recipe, but since none of them tickled my fancy, I set off to combine the flavors I wanted to eat that night! And here you have them:

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Guts scooped out and ready for filling!

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Onion, red and green bell peppers, and garlic cooking in olive oil.

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Filled zucchini boats with lots of cheesy goodness!

Cheesy Quinoa Zucchini Boats [loosely based off Skinnytaste]
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 6 whole zucchini
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara [I made this version from Skinnytaste]
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
Directions:

In a medium pan, heat the oil on medium heat until it’s warm. Add the garlic and cook for approximately 30 seconds. Add the onion and peppers to the pan and let cook until the onions are translucent.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil <- this is for the zucchini in a minute or 10. Also, crank that oven up to 400 degrees.

While the stuffing is cooking, slice the zucchini in half hot-dog style [length-wise]. Cut off the ends and scoop out the inside [aka the guts] with a small spoon or if you are fancy and have a better tool – go for it:)! Then add the zucchini boats to the boiling water and let them cook for a minute. This helped soften them up and get the cooking process going. Once the zucchini are cooked, spread them face up in a baking pan.

By now, your onions/peppers/garlic mixture should be done and ready for the quinoa to be mixed in [I had some on hand, otherwise start the quinoa first, then proceed as directed above]. Add the filling to the zucchini boats filling them to the top. Then top with marinara and cheese <- I’m a cheese lover so I tend to go overboard; feel free to scale back.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until your zucchini are sliceable with a knife – then serve.

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P.S. This dish makes for killer leftovers, too. I ate boats for days afterwards, as the serving size for these bad boys was 1.5 boats per meal seemed just about right.

Super Bowl Guac

In honor of the Super Bowl (and the fact that I had three avocados going bad in the fridge), I made my own guacamole! First time and I had to admit that it was super easy and tasty!

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I started my shopping in Lowes in Boone and found a quick, easy version from Food Network. Success with the first result in a search! Leaving the store i commented that they were out of jalapeños and cilantro, Nick said we had both in the fridge (it’s quite obvious he has cooked more frequently as of late then I have). Once we made it home from cold, snowy Boone, I set to work. All was well since we had both cilantro and half a jalapeño until I cut into the third avocado – and it was bad. Two avocado guac here we go! Once I had mixed everything together and tasted the result (and had Nick’s approval), I realized I had forgotten the cilantro. We both decided the guac was delicious as it was and not missing any flavor! Such a great surprise that everything worked out!

Guacamole (based off Alton Brown’s Guacamole recipe)

  • 2 avocados, mashed
  • 1/4 of a large onion chopped
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 jalapeño chopped
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

I mashed the avocados in a bowl and simply mixed all the ingredients together. Serve with tortilla chips.

Really, it’s that easy! Avocados are on my list again this week (maybe they will be on sale again!).

These pictures were posted a while ago, but I am just getting around to sharing them. Photos from the official end of my first half!

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This one was just after I hit the soft sand leaving the beach. Although I have a smile on my face (I’m almost done with my first half!), I was not having fun with that sand!

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I had just crossed the finish line after one last sprint! I was done in more ways than one!!