Delicious Taco Soup

Taco SoupIf you are looking for a new never fail, always delicious soup recipe…..this is it. I originally found this soup recipe on the Kraft Canada website and then adapted it slightly. It is probably our very favourite soup and even a double batch is gobbled up within a couple of days.  Super easy and quick to make and a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

Taco Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 – 540 ml (19 oz) can of black beans, rinsed (original recipe calls for two, but I find one is enough)
  • 1 – 540 ml (19 oz) can of Alymer’s Spicy Red Pepper canned tomatoes*
  • 1 – 398 ml (14 oz) can of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • 1 package of taco seasoning mix (I use low sodium) *If you don’t have the spicy red pepper tomatoes and are substituting for regular, I’d use hot taco seasoning)
  • 2 cups of water

For Serving:

  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar or Tex Mex cheese
  • sour cream
  • avocado
  • lime
  • Optional: nachos

Instructions:

Brown the ground beef with the onions in a large pot. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer on medium-low heat for 5 minutes. (If I have the time, I will often turn the temperature down to the lowest possible temperature and let the soup simmer for much longer.) Any leftover soup will taste great the next day as well. To serve, add a dollop of sour cream, sliced avocado, shredded cheese, crushed nachos and a squirt of fresh lime juice. (You can serve this however, you like, but the sour cream is the magic ingredient that really takes this soup to the next level. I like to stir it in to give the soup a bit of a creamy taste. Mmmm!) This soup is so yummy and turns out every single time.

spicy red pepper tomatoes*Alymer’s Spicy Red Pepper canned tomatoes is a staple in our pantry. We use it in chili and spaghetti sauce as well as this recipe. It seems to really enhance the flavour of almost any tomato based recipe you are making.

My Mom’s Homemade Borscht

Borscht

My mom was not Ukrainian, but when she married my dad, she learned how to make many of the traditional Ukrainian dishes. Over the years, she perfected her borscht and her borscht recipe is not only delicious, but brings back great memories of when she was still with us.

My Mom’s Borscht Recipe:

Ingredients:

ham soup bone (pork or beef bone will work as well)
1/2 head of cabbage (You can use drained sauerkraut in lieu of cabbage, but I never do)
2-3 cups chopped onion
2 large grated carrots
1 diced potato
1  28 oz. can of diced tomatoes (largest size)
1 can of white beans (or soaked dry beans)
3-5 cups of diced beets (I probably use close to 5 cups in mine)
2-3 bay leaves
fresh parsley (dry is fine)
2 cloves minced garlic
fresh dill (I don’t measure, but I am guessing a few tablespoons at least)
pepper and salt
1 cup of sour cream (plus extra for serving)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Method:

Make a very simple homemade stock by filling a large pot with water and the soup bones. You can add bay leaves and salt and pepper to the stock if you wish, but I generally just boil the bones and add the extra flavours to the borscht. Bring to a boil and continue to simmer or cook on low so that the stock is just at the boiling point. I usually leave mine on the stove for several hours and usually do this the day before. Remove the bones and reserve the broth for the soup.

Sauté onion, grated carrot, cabbage and garlic in a large pot with a bit of butter or olive oil. Add potato and bay leaves. Fill the pot to about 2/3 with your homemade stock.  Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt (or more, to taste). Simmer 1 hour.

Meanwhile, place whole beets in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Boil for approximately 45 minutes or until a fork can be stuck into the beet easily (like testing a potato).  Remove the beets from heat and transfer the pot to the sink. Run cold water over the beets and as soon as they are cool enough to handle, rub the skin off of the outside. The outer layer will remove very easily and there is no need to peel them, but it can get a bit messy. I don’t usually wear latex gloves, but you could. Just be careful because the beet juice can stain your clothes and hands. Once you’ve “peeled” the beets with your hands, you will need to dice them. I used to do this by hand, but now I use a little manual food processor/chopper. Whatever works for you.

Add the tomatoes, parsley, beans and dill to the soup.

Mix one cup of sour cream and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda together in a measuring cup – stir the ingredients together. Now this is the hard part, add the prepared beets and sour cream mixture to the soup 10 MINUTES BEFORE SERVING. This means, that you don’t get much opportunity to taste test the finished soup, as the last ingredients are added right at the end. Resist the temptation to throw everything in at the same time, you really want to wait until the end before adding the beets.

Serve the borscht with a dollop of sour cream on top.

Warning: Once the soup has been made, you don’t ever want to bring it to a crazy hot boil again as it will totally take the colour out of your soup and look disgusting. When re-heating, do so carefully.

This seems like a lot of work, but not if you have a food processor to do the chopping for you. I always use to do everything by hand and found it to be quite a bit of work, but now it is pretty simple to make as it is the cutting that seems to take so long. This recipe makes a large batch of soup and freezes well, so I often freeze half the borscht and we enjoy it twice! I hope you love this borscht as much as we have. I am so glad that I not only got my mom’s recipe, but that she “walked” me through the steps of making it before she passed away. What a special gift ~ enjoy!

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Broccoli Apple Soup

As a soup lover, I am always on the hunt for new and delicious recipes. I found this recipe online several years ago and it has become a staple in our menu. I love the combination of flavours and you never have to worry about it turning out bland. It is thick and delicious and super easy to make.

broccoli apple soup

This isn’t the best photo. I was racing out the door to hockey and thought I should snap a picture. If the truth be told the edge of the bowl is a little messy because it was not until my second helping that I thought about taking a picture.

Broccoli Apple Soup

Ingredients:

  • one large head of broccoli
  • 2-3 Granny Smith apples; peeled, cored and chopped
  • 50 g (2 oz). of butter
  • 1 chopped red onion
  • 750 ml of vegetable stock
  • pepper to taste
  • 3 oz. of cream
  • grated cheddar
  • croutons

Method:

  1. Discard the tough stem from the broccoli and coarsely chop.
  2. Melt the butter. Sauté onions and apples for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the stock and broccoli. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Purée the soup. Return to the saucepan and heat slowly. Add pepper and cream.
  5. Serve with grated cheddar and croutons.

This Broccoli and Apple Soup recipe was originally found on Brittania.com.

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