Taco Soup

This is probably my favorite thing to eat (PERIOD!). Seriously when asked what I want for my “birthday dinner” I usually request Taco Soup! One good thing about this recipe is that it makes a TON! I use the biggest pot I have for and it is usually filled to the top. After cooked, I pour this into several bowls and jars of different sizes. I refrigerate what we want to eat for a few days and the rest, I label and freeze. You can take a bowl/jar out in the morning and it will be thawed out in time to heat up for super that night!

What You Need:

2 lbs of ground chuck (can substitute ground turkey or a mix of beef & turkey)

2-3 onions (diced)

2 cans pinto beans (no salt or low sodium)

2 cans ranch style beans

2 cans corn (we use a 16oz bag of frozen corn – less preservatives & sodium)

2 cans rotel

3 cans stewed tomatoes (no salt added)

2 large cans tomato sauce (no salt added)

3 packages of taco seasoning (or use your homemade taco seasoning – click here for the recipe)

3 packages of ranch dressing mix

1 med size jar of mild picante sauce

1 can of water

Optional Ingredients for Toppings: Fritos (our favorite), shredded cheese, sour cream, tortillas

Brown meat and onions together; drain well.

Meanwhile in a LARGE pot, add ingredients and once meat is drained add it as well. I usually let it simmer for 30 mins or so to let everything “marry” together.

A few notes:

~ If using homemade taco seasoning or ranch dressing mix start with 3 TBSP – then after it simmers, taste the soup. If it’s not spicy enough add more. If it’s too spicy add water. Always remember you can add more spices but you can’t take them out!!

~ If the soup seems to thick, add a little water until it’s at the desired consistency.

~ To divide the soup -get a bunch of bowls and/or jars and fill them with soup. For the ones going into the freezer make sure to leave room at the tops of the bowls/jar for the soup to expand while it’s freezing. I usually dish all the bowls/jars up and then set my timer for 30 mins to allow them time to cool off. Once they have cooled, they are ready to store in the fridge or freezer.

This is such a great recipe and one that is loved by my family. I hope that you enjoy it as much as we do!

 

Homemade Peach Cobbler

cobbler 5

 

Nothing tastes better than a homemade cobbler. I’ve always thought it was really hard to make until my mother-in-law made it one night and showed me how easy it was.

 

 

What You Need:

Approximately 8 peaches, peeled & sliced

Cinnamon

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

3/4 stick of butter

2 store-bought pie crusts in a box or use 2 homemade pie crusts (click here for the recipe).

Directions:cobbler 2

Pre-heat oven to 350.  Spray non stick spray in 9×13 pan.  Place 1 pie crust in bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon.  Mix flour & sugar in a separate bowl.  Add peaches and coat well.  Pour into crust along with any leftover sugar/flour mixture from bowl. Spread out evenly. Dot the top of the mixture with butter.

cobbler 3

2nd homemade crust cut into strips for top.

Cut 2nd crust into strips and criss cross over the peach mixture.  Bake 45 mins to 1 hour or until golden brown and bubbly.

 

 

** Don’t forget to buy the ice cream to go with it! I always make that mistake. It’s so much better when you have ice cream with it! ENJOY!

Easy Homemade Pie Crusts

Unbaked Pie Crust Shell

Unbaked Pie Crust Shell

This recipe came from my husband’s grandmother. When my mom-in-law mentioned it to me, I was surprised at how easy the recipe was. One of the things I love about it is that it makes 6 regular pie crusts!! You must know by now that if I can make something in bulk and save some for next time, it’s a HUGE added bonus for me!

What you Need:

pie crust 1

All Mixed Up

4 cups all purpose flour

2 cups Crisco

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 ½ teaspoon salt

Mix to crumble. I mix it together in my kitchen aid mixer using my dough hook.

 Add:

1 beaten egg

½ cup water

1 Tablespoon white vinegar (I know this sounds weird but trust me it works!)

Mix lightly to a soft dough.

Turn out onto a well-floured surface.  Roll it out and shape into a rectangle.  Divide into 6 sections.

pie crust 4

Divide & Freeze

If you are freezing them, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then wrap in freezer paper. Label and freeze.

To thaw – take out however many pie shells you need and set them on the counter or let it thaw in the fridge.

 

Tips for Busy Parents

Our days and nights are full of work, homework, getting the kids to practices, and ready for school the next day so you can repeat again. Finding shortcuts or tricks to make things go easier but maintaining healthy lunches and dinners are sometimes easier said that done!  Over the years we have found a few short cuts and I hope you find them helpful.

1. COOK AHEAD – This one is my favorite. We are a family of 3 so we don’t require a mountain of food at super. We also aren’t huge leftover eaters. I have learned that if make a big batch of something, I can keep some out for a few nights and freeze the rest!! That way when we have a crazy day a few weeks later or someone is working late, etc. I can pull it out the morning of and let it thaw out so all I have to do is warm it up! Saves a ton of time!

2. Make ahead lunches.  You can do this for kids and adults alike. Our child loves homemade lunchables. I get deli ham, a cheese stick, and some crackers and put them in a sandwich container. If you have more than one sandwich container you can make several lunches and stack them in the fridge. I also do this for grapes, pudding, raisins – get small containers to fill them up store them in the proper place. I’ve also taken snack size baggies and filled up a weeks worth of whatever snacks or desserts she is going to have so all I have to do is pull one of each and load the lunchbox.

3. Allow your child to help pick their clothes out for multiple days. Sometimes we lay out the whole week but honestly we usually do it for 2-3 days out. Because we live in the South, the weather can be unpredictable at times so I find it’s easier to do it for about 1/2 the week.

4. Get your afterschool activity stuff ready – have your child lay out their leotard or whatever sport outfit they need before they go to school (or the night before) so that as soon as they get home they can get changed and aren’t scrambling to find what they need.

5. Lay out your work clothes – Moms and Dads this will help you out too. Now, I’m too flighty to lay out more than one day ahead for me – I change my mind to much. However, it will save you time and headaches if you go ahead and figure it all out the night before…..usually I even do it while my favorite show is on commercial. Multi-tasking!!!