Slow Cooker Taco Soup

My cousin Jeanna is my artistic and fashionista cousin. She helps people design their homes and I wish she was helping me to do so. Why can’t you have a piece of software that shows you what all the things you picked will look like together with your furniture in my new home?

When Jeanna married her husband Jon a few years ago, I jokingly said, “I guess you can’t join this family unless your name starts with a ‘J’.” You see, all my cousins in the Bourek side’s names start with the letter J – Jenny (aka Jen or Jennifer now), Jill, Jeanna, Jodi, and Jackson. Did I mention I also have an aunt Joyce and an uncle Jerry? Little did I know, my then boyfriend Jeremiah would become my husband.

Slow Cooker Taco Soup by Jon and Jeanna Moore
IMG_0112
1 lb. group beef, cooked
1 onion, chopped
1 – 16 oz. can chili beans with liquid
1 – 15 oz. can kidney beans with liquid
1 – 15 oz. can whole kernel corn
1 – 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 c. water
2 – 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 – 4 oz. can diced green chili peppers
1 package of taco seasoning

Place beef, onion, chili beans, kidney beans, corn, tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, green peppers, and taco seasoning in Crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours. Pair with tortilla chips for a crunchy finish.

Notes:

  • Jeremiah and I use no salted canned goods and tortilla chip from the health food section. This left our dish a little bland. We topped our soup with a little cheese and fresh cilantro. I think also cooking the meat with the taco seasoning could have made it more flavorful.
  • I also wondered about maybe adding some black beans to the dish.

 

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Turkey Chili

I helped my boyfriend make this recipe for a chili contest at work. I’m not going to lie, it did take over an hour to make with two of dicing and mixing. The fresh ingredients smelled every time you opened my door for the next few days.

Although the judges did not award him first prize, Jeremiah definitely won the people’s choice award coming home with an empty crockpot and lots of coworkers inquiring about the recipe.

Turkey ChiliTurkey Chili by Jeremiah Slater
1 T. olive oil
1 lb. lean ground turkey, cooked
2 cans white beans, undrained
½ c. white wine
½ c. chicken stock
2 jalapeno peppers, de-seeded
1 ½ c. chopped onion
3 garlic cloves
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground ginger
1 bay leaf
1 ½ c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
2 T. lime juice

Optional
Fresh basil
Fresh parsley
Fresh cilantro

Heat olive oil and cook onion is translucent. Stir in garlic, oregano, cumin, and ginger. Cook for 1 minute. Pour in chicken broth and white wine. Add bay leaf. Cook uncovered for 5-8 minutes to reduce. Stir in turkey, beans, and jalapeno. (Add in optional chopped fresh herbs.) Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce to lowand beginning stirring in cheese a half cup at a time. Once melted, add salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add lime juice.

National Soup Month

When I think of Beer Cheese Soup, the first thing that pops into my mind is Lazlo’s Brewery. It’s a restaurant in Lincoln, NE. The original location is located in the Haymarket District. When I was in college, my friends and I used to walk down there to eat a lot. To this day, I could still tell you what everyone would order. Dan would get the Lazlo Burger and an Empyrean Amber Ale (made in Lazlo’s owner’s brewery). Rob wasn’t a drinker. He always got the French Dip but added Swiss Cheese and sautéed onions. He also ordered a side of ranch dipping sauce for his fries. Lazlo’s makes these great fries. They are crinkle fries with seasoning salt. And Ben always ordered a cup of Beer Cheese Soup. Ironic because Ben was the baby of the group – just 17 years old his first few months attending college.

After college graduations and break-ups, I ended up working for the owners of Lazlo’s. I worked in their neighboring restaurant entitled Jabrisco’s. It was an unusual Italian restaurant named after the owners Jay, Brian, and Scott. (They also had a financial partner who was a dentist but I can’t remember his name.) They had things on the menu like a PB&J wood-fired pizza, homemade spinach pasta, and this to die for chocolate dessert. We also had this amazing patio where I would sell coffee during the weekly Farmer’s Market. I worked there for about eight months as a host/head host. I could sell the bar area better than most on a busy Friday night or Saturday home football game. Following my college graduation, I left to pursue AmeriCorps full-time. But during the time I worked at Jabrisco’s, I learned some great customer service skills, importance to details, and a lot about the hospitality industry.

Today, Lazlo’s has doubled in size and now occupies the space that was once Jabrisco’s. The food is still delicious, reasonably priced, and the service is top notch. The Haymarket has also turned into this major entertainment district.

Although this recipe is very different then Lazlo’s Beer Cheese Soup, it did make me think back to some pretty cool people and an experience that greatly impacted my life.

Beer Cheese SoupBacon Beer Cheese Soup with Chicken from Pinterest
6 slices of bacon
1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breast
¼ c. butter
¼ c. flour
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 c. beer
1 c. chicken broth
2 c. half and half
8 oz. mild cheese
1 tsp. Worchester sauce
chives
croutons

Cook bacon and chicken. In a large sauce pan, cook butter, flour, and spices. Add beer, broth, and half and half. Whisk to combine and bring to a bubble. Add cheese and stir until smooth. Add Worchester sauce, chicken, and bacon. Allow to simmer. Garnish with chives and croutons.

Notes:

  • This recipe is good but spicy. One bowl had me drinking three glasses of water, blowing my nose, and dotting my watering eyes. My recommendation is to cut the spice at least to half or maybe a third of the recipe listed above. That’s my plan for the next time I cook it.
  • I didn’t have chicken stock so I used water and put in about 2 oz. more of beer. Veggie stock is also an option.
  • When I make a soup like this I know I am sharing with vegetarian friends, I make meat more of a topping. Canned chicken is another option. I used about a ½ lb. chicken and pre-cooked bacon.
  • I used fat free half and half. I think our Nutrition Manager at work also said that Fat Free Evaporated Milk is another substitute option to make a creamy soup healthier.
  • I used light beer.
  • I used Velveeta cheese.
  • I added parsley instead of chives.

On the second day, I picked up some chicken stock and frozen hash browns. I added about 1 cup of hash browns and ¾ c. chicken stock. I also added homemade croutons. It decreased the water consumption.

Leftover Comfort Food

If you make a turkey for Christmas, here is a recipe I made using leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. If you don’t have turkey, I am sure you could easily substitute chicken. I thought it was delicious.

Turkey & NoodlesTurkey and Noodles from Pinterest
12 c. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. diced onion
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 lb. frozen egg noodles
1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
4 c. diced turkey
3 large carrots

Heat broth to a boil. Add salt, onion, carrots, and pepper. Add frozen noodles and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook 10 minutes. Add flour and milk. Cook until juices are somewhat reduced and slightly thinned. Add meat. Cool slightly before serving.

Notes:

  • Freezer recipe – Just thaw and reheat at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
  • I used dry egg noodles. It worked just as well and was cheaper to purchase.
  • I used reduced sodium chicken broth. You could make your own with the leftover turkey bones. You could also use 2 parts broth/1 part water to reduce cost.
  • I used skim milk. It had to cook a little longer to thicken but it worked.
  • I used frozen carrots.
  • I add a couple of celery stalks. I think you could also had some spinach to this recipe.

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

My friend Michelle and I go way back. She was one of my first friends in Kansas City. I don’t remember what classes we had together but I know we met in graduate school at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. We were both working on our Masters in Public Administration. Like me, she loves to cook and enjoys great food. When she first moved to Kansas City, Michelle nannied for people who were great friends with some of Kansas City’s best chefs. Needless to say, she introduced me to a couple of great places in town. Michelle loves Brookside so she took me to a lot of great places by UMKC – Aixois and Bella Napoli to name a few. Michelle also used to host dinner parties at her apartment where everyone would bring different dishes based on a theme like “Caribbean”. A great way to sample a lot of new recipes.

Last fall, Michelle invited me to her new house for dinner and to help handout Halloween candy. This recipe is what she made for dinner. It’s from one of her favorite food blogs – The Smitten Kitten. One of the things I love about Michelle is her willingness to try adventurous recipes. Although this recipe isn’t pretty in appearance it is quite delicious. A hearty, healthy recipe for soup made with black beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, and onions.

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup by Gourmet, November 1996 posted on The Smitten Kitten Blog

Photo by: blogs.babble.com

Photo by: blogs.babble.com

Three cans of black beans (about 4 1/2 cups), drained and rinsed
1 c. drained diced tomatoes
1 1/4 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. minced shallot
4 garlic cloves minced (I would substitute jar garlic)
1 T. plus 2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
4 c. beef broth
1 can pumpkin
1/2 c. dry Sherry
1/2 lb. cooked ham, diced
3 to 4 T. Sherry vinegar

In a food processor, puree beans and tomatoes. In a stock pot/Dutch oven, cook onion, shallot, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper in butter over moderate heat, stirring, until onions is softened. Stir in bean mixture. Add broth, pumpkin, and Sherry until well combined. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally f0r 25 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Just before serving, add ham and vinegar to soup, stirring, until thoroughly heated. Makes 9 cups.

Note – We ate this with crackers and corn bread muffins. Original recipe suggest sour cream or pumpkin seeds.

Carli’s Chili

A few months ago, we did a soup fundraiser at our Komen office for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. My boss made this yummy chili recipe. I think the trick to the success of this recipe is beer, coffee, and brown sugar.

Komen staffChili by Carli Good
2 T. vegetable oil
2 onion, chopped
3 cloved garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
3/4 pound beef sirloin cubed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can of dark beer
1 c. strong brewed coffee
2 cans (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 can beef broth
1/2 c. brown sugar
3 1/2 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin seeds
1 T. unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. salt
4 cans kidney beans
4 fresh hot chili peppers, seeded and chopped

Heat oil in a large sauce pan. Cook onion, garlic, ground beef and cubed sirloin in oil for 10 minutes. Mix in diced tomatoes with juice, beer, coffee, tomato paste, broth. Add seasonings, 2 cans of beans, and hot chile peppers. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Stir in 2 remaining cans of beans and simmer for another 30 minutes. (Copyright Allrecipes.com)

Notes: When I made it for myself, I replaced beef sirloin with ground beef. I added water in place of beer. I didn’t have any peppers so I omited them. I also used three cans of beans. I thought it still tasted good.

Bronco Buster

Anything with the word “buster” isn’t good. But I’m fairly certain the Bronco Buster recipe was one of the worst meals my elementary cafeteria ever concocted. For those of you who didn’t attend Wisner Pilger Elementary School, this recipe was a slice of white bread topped with cold cheddar cheese and kidney beans. It was truly nasty. Perhaps this was one of the reasons I have avoided chili my enter life.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at my sister’s house. Her friend Susan brought chili. I remember Steph (also not a chili fan) saying that Susan made great chili. In an effort to incorporate more veggies into my diet, I thought I would give it a try. Kidney beans are really high in fiber and low in fat. Plus, my vegetarian friends swear if I start eating more beans I’ll be less hungry eating more veggies and less sugar/fat. I have to say, Susan’s chili was pretty good –  I even had seconds. So it got me thinking, maybe I should make a chili recipe.

As someone who has never saved a chili recipe, I decided to pull out one of my home-cooking recipe books. I decided to turn to the Perfect 10 Cookbook as this lady assembled only her best recipes. Although I have to say this recipe isn’t bad, it did make me realize one other thing, chili has a very Mexican food taste. I’m not a huge fan of Mexican restaurants and I think it is because I like sweet over bitter taste. It makes total sense because I love fruit but don’t love the taste of veggies.

So for those of you who love chili, I hope you enjoy this recipe. Although I think I liked the leftovers better after they sat in the fridge for a few days, I think I’m does cooking chili for a really long time.

Cook-Off Chili by Debbie Kraft
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 an onion chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can Bush’s Chili Beans (medium)
1/2 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. beef broth
1 small can tomato sauce
2-3 T. chili powder (I used Wildtree)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
dash of seasoned salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
3 oz. shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese

In a large Dutch oven pot, brown beef, onion, and garlic. Drain grease. Sprinkle meat with all seasonings. Add chili beans, Ro-tel, tomato sauce, and broths. Stir well and simmer for 30 minutes. Add cheese and simmer another 5 minutes. Serve with crackers or Frito’s.

Beefy Cheese Soup

My mother hated potato soup as a child. It is my understanding that she was forced to sit at the dinner table until bedtime on the nights my grandma made it for dinner because she refused to eat it. One of the reasons my mother said she didn’t like it was because she hated warm milk. That said, she will drink hot chocolate made with dried milk.

This potato soup recipe has meat and cheese. You can’t go wrong with that. I’m pretty sure I got this recipe from Misty’s Facebook Recipe group a couple of years ago. I hope you enjoy this hearty soup as much as I do.

Beefy Cheese Soup
1/2 lb. ground beef
3/4 c. chopped onion
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried parsley
3 T. butter
3 c. chicken broth
4 c. cubed potatoes
1/4 c. flour
2 c. cubed cheddar cheese
1 1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. sour cream

In a large pot, cook beef and onion until over a medium heat. Stir in basil and parsley. Add potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10-12 minutes. Melt butter and flour into soup. Add milk stirring until smooth. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in cheese. When cheese is melted, add sour cream and heat through. Do not boil.

Notes: To make it a little healthier, I used low fat sour cream, 2 percent cheese, low sodium broth, and skim milk.

Bread Bowl

Fall is here so now is the perfect time to prepare comfort food. Some of my favorites are Hamburger Casserole and Chicken Noodle Dinner. But hearty soups are also great this time of year. For the first time, I decided to try to make bread bowls. I think my creation worked perfect for a cup of soup.

Bread Bowls by Amber Bourek
1 package of Grands refrigerator biscuits
8 custard cups or pep bowls
1 baking sheet

Flatten out a Grands biscuit into a large circle. Spray a custard cup with nonstick spray. Wrap biscuit around cup. Place upside down on baking sheet so biscuit is up. Bake according to package – 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool slightly and use a table knife to gentle remove from cup. Serve with a cup of warm soup.

Raspberry Soup

I saw this recipe in one of my mom’s Taste of Home holiday cookbooks. I copied it because it looked super cute in tall shot glasses. When raspberries were on sale, I decided to give it try this summer. To my surprise, it tastes very similar to my recipe for strawberry soup. If you want to save some money because you don’t have access to a garden full of raspberries like my aunt Irene, try my Strawberry Soup recipe.

Chilled Raspberry Soup by Amy Wenger (Severance, CO)
1/3 c. cranberry juice
1/3 c. sugar
5 1/3 c. plus 12 fresh raspberries, divided
1 1/3 c. plus 2 T. sour cream, divided

In a blender, combine cranberry juice, sugar, 5 – 1/3 c. raspberries. Strain and discard seeds. Stir in 1-1/3 c. sour cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours. To serve, pour 1/4 c. of soup into 12 cordial glasses. Top each with a raspberry and 1/2 tsp. sour cream.

Nutrition Facts (based on original recipe): 1 serving equals 111 calories, 5 g. fat (3 g. saturated fat), 19 mg. cholesterol, 10 mg. sodium, 14 g. carbs, 4 g. fiber, and 2 g. protein.

Notes:

  • I used diet cranberry juice and fat free sour cream.
  • You could use sugar substitute or replace the sour cream with plain fat-free/Greek yogurt.