Tuesday, January 16, 2007

This simple but satisfying soup may be no-frills, but when it comes to flavor, it’s a whole lot more.

It’s so easy to assemble with ingredients from your pantry and refrigerator.

Begin with browned lean ground beef, add canned tomatoes, beans and corn, plus some seasoning, then let it simmer 15 minutes for a one-pot dinner.

What takes a little time to prepare are the toppings: avocado slices, sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro sprigs and lime wedges.

This soup is perfect for wintertime, last-minute suppers and Super Bowl parties, and folks of all ages love this soup.

Have fun when selecting the canned tomatoes. There are so many varieties from which to choose. I like the tomato and chile pepper combination, but you can use plain tomatoes or those with bell pepper, onion and garlic.

Five time-shaving and inexpensive dinner ideas

• Black bean soup and sausages on the grill.

• Warmed canned white beans, served with flaked tuna, chopped onion and tomato, and a drizzle of olive oil.

• Macaroni and cheese, garnished with ground ham and crunchy bread crumbs.

• Pizza dough from the deli, spread with a sauce from the jar, crumbled cooked sausage, sliced mushrooms and mozzarella cheese, then baked.

• Roast chicken from the deli, served with a baked potato, Caesar salad and sauteed apples.

Taco soup

The preparation time is 10 minutes, and the cooking time is 20 to 22 minutes.

Olive oil cooking spray

½ pound ground beef round

1 cup chopped onion (from 1 medium-size onion)

1 can (14.5 ounces) Mexican-style diced tomatoes, with their liquid

1 can (15.5 ounces) light red kidney beans, with their liquid

1 can (11 ounces) corn kernels, with their liquid

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

1 package (1.25 ounces) reduced-sodium taco seasoning


1 avocado, peeled and sliced

1 cup sour cream

1 cup preshredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

1/4 cup fresh cilantro sprigs

1 lime, halved and each half cut into 4 wedges

Tortilla chips

Spray a 4-quart saucepan with olive oil cooking spray and place it over medium-high heat. Crumble in the ground beef and break it up with a wooden spoon, then cook, stirring, 30 seconds.

Add the onion and, continuing to stir, cook until the beef browns all over and is cooked through and the onion softens, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, beans and corn with their liquids, tomato sauce and taco seasoning.

Fill the tomato sauce can with water, add this to the pan, and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and let simmer 15 minutes.

Ladle the hot soup into serving bowls and pass the avocado slices, sour cream, cheese, cilantro, lime wedges and tortilla chips separately. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

To share favorite cooking tips, ask questions and access Anne Byrn’s free online newsletter, go to www.cakemixdoctor.com.


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