I've been making this soup for longer than I've been a mom of two. Got the recipe from a friend on a message board (remember those?) way back before Rhys was even a going concern.
It calls for a couple of dreaded Convenience Products, which is one reason I haven't made it lately. Fortunately, with the growth in the prevalence of "all-natural" and "organic" versions of everything from cheese puffs to tampons, you can get versions that aren't perhaps quite as terribly bad for you as their non-"organic" counterparts.
This is about twice as much as I usually make--we had young friends coming over today, and last night we had the privilege of bringing food to Samantha and Merlyn, parents to twelve-day-old Baby Jude. This soup, plus a few generous handfuls of Kettle Chips Black Bean Tortilla Chips, makes a fine meal for anyone--recovering new mama or otherwise.
Needless to say, this is ridiculously kid-friendly.
Time-Tested Taco Soup
Serves eight! Ten! Some large number!
2 pounds ground beef
2 medium onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups cooked-from-dried black beans (or 2 cans thereof, rinsed and drained)
1 15-ounce can chili beans, undrained
1 15-ounce can stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 10- or 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with chilies, undrained
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 one-ounce envelope ranch dressing mix (no. seriously. this soup will not be nearly as good if you leave this out.)
3 Tbsp taco seasoning or mild chili powder
2 cups chicken or beef broth
For serving: grated cheese, sour cream, sliced black olives, sliced green onions... you know... taco stuff. Plus plenty of good tortilla chips.
In a large skillet, combine ground beef, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring to break up meat, over medium heat until beef is well browned. Drain off fat.
In a good-sized Crock-Pot (I think mine is 5 quarts, maybe), combine beef/onion/garlic mixture and everything else except the toppings. Cover and cook on low heat for at least 3 hours, maybe as long as 5, maybe all day long if that's what works for you.
To serve, either scoop chips into each bowl and top with soup and miscellaneous garnishes, or use chips to scoop up soup spoon-fashion.