Thursday, January 21, 2016

Taco Soup Makes Me a Better Person

I've always complained that I hate winter. And I really truly do, bless my little heart. I am just not a cold person. Last summer, my family went to Orlando on vacation. We covered EVERY INCH! My husband feels like if he's going to book a Disney vacay, he's going to pack every friggin' second full of rushed, stressful activity family fun to make every nickel we paid worth it. Me? I don't consider stress and running from attraction to attraction a vacay. I need to negotiate a good amount of lounging by the pool time so I can have a magazine to read, a drink with an umbrella in it, and my sanity. FOR THE LOVE OF UMBRELLA DRINKS! Disney is not an adventure sport to me, it's not something to be conquered, but it's his Everest. I feel like the last time we had a balance of what both of us wanted to do, and we were far more peaceful than the time before that. The first time we went, I really thought we might need the services of Dr. Phil. {Sorry for this big unnecessary paragraph--I just need to vent to you people!} 

Anyway,  the last time was going great. No major existential crises. UNTIL we got to Universal. We were standing by the big Jurassic Park water ride {unknowingly in the splash zone--we must've missed the 15 signs--proof that having too much fun is distracting and dangerous at an amusement park} AND ALL THE SUDDEN THE MOUNT VESUVIUS OF ARCTIC WATER ERUPTIONS CAME FORTH AND SOAKED ME FROM HEAD TO TOE! There is no quicker way to bring out my inner tantrum-throwing-child than making me cold. Especially when I'm expecting Floridian warm glory! WHY IS THE WATER SO COLD THERE?! We were standing amongst a bunch of darling sweet families. These people were clearly far more harmonious vacationers than us, and bless them, they were not at all prepared for the depths of my rage. I screamed "THAT IS JUST OFFENSIVE!" Bless them. If you were one of those people, get in touch with me and I'll happily make amends.

A really unnecessarily long explanation just to say that I. HATE. COLD. With the cold temps here lately, it's highly possible that a mugger could rob me blind just from threatening to splash me with a bucket of water. Because I hate cold so much, I stay indoors as much as possible all winter long. Lordamercy. I don't even like walking near drafty windows. Now, winter does have its perks, I guess. Cuddling up on the couch in my sweats binge watching Netflix? That part I'm down with. Netflix and chill for me is actually = Netflix lest ye be chilled. 

The other part of winter that's awesome is that your crock pot can cook for you every single day. You can throw a bunch of mere ingredients together in that electric invention of glory and call yourself a hero. As much as I love cooking, sometimes I just want to watch my Netflix guilty pleasures in peace, y'all. These frigid temps have had my family eating soup just about every day. Don't judge me.

I was digging through my freezer {is there someone I can hire to go out to my frigid garage and do this for me? If you're out there, just tell me who to make the check out to} to find some inspiration, and I found some ground beef that my bestie brought me from her cows. Side note: does your bestie bring you beef? If not, you're missing out. I treasure my bestie beef. #BFF--Bestie beef forever.

I whipped up this taco soup with it. 

Y'all. I can't with this soup. It's like a party in a bowl, and it definitely dials back my winter crazy. By the way, my old Crock Pot recently cracked. The excellent customer service peeps they've got over there sent me this beauty

Photo courtesy of Crock Pot

The insert is stovetop safe so you can brown your meat right in it, then add the remaining ingredients in there. It's like those people read my mind. It's perfect for my personality: type-B with type-A tendencies. Less dishwashing is always the way to my heart. Two steps. One pot. A friggin' miracle!

I'll shut up now and give you the recipe:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 {14.5 oz} cans diced tomatoes 
  • 1 can ranch style beans
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 {12 oz} bag frozen corn
  • 1 {7 oz} can diced green chiles
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp {each} salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 packet ranch dressing seasoning
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • toppings: whatever your little heart desires. I used shredded cheese, sliced green onions, chopped fresh cilantro, black olive slices, tortilla strips {you can find these on the salad dressing aisle next to the croutons}, and lime wedges for squeezing over soup 
  1. Heat oil in a sauté pan or large pot over medium-high heat. Add in ground beef and sauté {breaking into small pits with your spoon} until browned, cooked through, and broken up into small pieces.  
  2. Transfer beef to crock pot, place remaining ingredients {except for toppings} over the beef. Stir everything around and cover Turn the crock pot on high for 3-4 hours or low 6-8 hours. 
  3. Serve with desired toppings.

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