Friday, November 14, 2014

Brrrr... It's cold outside! Time for soup!

Taco Soup

It is mid November and it is freezing outside and I live in Tennessee!  I dream of being in Michigan right now with my parents, sister & brother playing in the snow with our kids and coming inside to enjoy a big pot of chili or other soup and being warmed by the wood stove!  I honestly love the cold weather and I love snow!  So to take the edge off the cold temperatures here in Tennessee I crank up the stove and oven and start creating heat in my kitchen and make yummy food!

Enjoy some yummy taco soup with me today!  I like it better than chili because, to me, it has more vegetables and beans and I love greens & beans!  This is an easy recipe and I will tell you the trick to make a quick soup is to have beans made ahead of time that have been frozen and thawed out for this soup.  But if beans are not pre-made low sodium canned beans or dried beans (soaked and cooked) can be used also.

2 cups of dried pinto beans (or 1 lb), soak them overnight or up to 24 hours.  I use a half gallon Ball jar with a sprouting lid.  And I do soak them in water for 24 hours.

The sprouting jar and the pinto beans after they have been soaked for 24 hours.  I also let my pinto beans sit in the jar another day and allow them to sprout for 24 hours.  I rinse and drain them 2x in that 24 hour period.

The pinto beans go from 2 cups dried to 5-6 cups soaked and sprouted.  (The dried pinto beans can also be cooked in boiling water for 2 minutes and allow to sit for 1 1/2 hours and then cooked for 2 hours on the stove in a 2 quart pot with 8 cups of water.)

I cook my beans in a 6 quart steel pressure cooker (It takes 7 minutes once at pressure).  As much as we eat beans it is a time saver and less nutrients are lost when using a pressure cooker.  As you can see I add some seasonings to boring pinto beans to make them chili pinto beans and when added to the taco soup it gives it a slightly spicy flavor. (Bonus recipe at the bottom!)

Chop up the onion, cabbage and mushroom to desired size.  We like it chopped fine to medium.  Makes it easier for my kids to eat.

Saute the onion, cabbage and mushroom for 10 minutes in 1/4 c of water or until vegetables are tender.

After the vegetables are tender add the corn, tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Stir well.

Then add the cooked chili pinto beans and seasonings to the soup pot.  This is a 6 quart enameled cast iron pot so it makes a lot of soup!

Simmer the soup for 30-40 minutes so the flavors can mix and mingle!  This soup is mild and my kids like it just like this.  But my husband and I add some hot sauce to it to spice it up.  Also it is so yummy when served with fresh cilantro!

Taco Soup Recipe 
5 c chili beans
2c whole mushrooms, chopped
2 c whole kernel corn
4 c diced stewed tomatoes
2 c tomato sauce
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 c cabbage, chopped fine
2 tsp chili powder
1 TBS onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1.  Saute onion, garlic and cabbage in ¼ c water on low with lid on pot for 5 minutes or until tender.
2.  Add all other ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes. 
3.  Serve with fresh cilantro, a green salad and corn bread or corn tortillas.

Bonus Recipe... Chili Pinto Beans
2 c dry pinto beans (soaked overnight)
5 c water
2 TBS onion, minced
1 tsp garlic
2 TBS chicken-like seasoning (My Homemade seasoning with little salt)
1 TBS cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley

            1.  Soak dry pinto beans overnight in 5-6 cups of tap water. 
      2. Drain soaked beans and add back into pan.
3. Add all ingredients to pan and bring to a boil.
4. Once the water is boiling reduce temperature to simmer and cook for 1 -1 ½ hours or until beans  are tender.
5. Makes about 5-6 cups of cooked beans.  These beans freeze well for 3-6 months.
6. Slow Cooker method: Once beans are soaked add all ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.
7. These are great beans to use for taco salad or haystacks or blended up for tostadas or burritos.
8. When blending these beans add 1 cup of tomato sauce or 3 oz tomato paste.

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