Let’s Taco-bout Soup

Taco (type) food-2

Kristy-0

What in the world is up with taco related food in this house?! The last time I decided to make tacos, I realized I was out of cumin for the seasoning mix and crushed the dreams of my poor children by my failure to produce tacos for them.

Somewhere between my craving for taco soup and the grocery list I made for my husband, I completely and utterly forgot cumin. I could have gotten taco seasoning in a packet, but no…I forgot that as well.

As per the usual, I was midway into making dinner for my hangry little brood before I realized I HAD NO TACO SEASONING OR THE INGREDIENTS FOR THE HOMEMADE VERSION. What. The. Crap. WHY does this keep happening?!

You know what, that’s a rhetorical question. Moving on…

I was in a particularly salty mood so I proclaimed we were having Sort-Of-Taco-Soup. My husband and the kids were (less than) enthused, but complied as they know my sanity is thin some days. I will spare you the recipe I used, and instead post the REAL one below the pictures. The real recipe is actually really good and easy- just remember the seasoning (or homemade) mix! 😉

The onions are totally optional. I didn’t have an actual onion so I used the minced version to add to the ground beef. Also, I usually use plain, petite diced tomatoes, but my husband went to Publix, took a child (the oldest one was the tribute), in a monsoon rainstorm (Irma) so he was practically a saint in my eyes. He could of brought home whole tomatoes and I wouldn’t have said a word!

Picture of the meat and onions. Eh…let’s face it. There’s nothing attractive about a picture of raw meat….

The cans can be thrown in any way you want, but for blog picture and OCD purposes, this is how they ended up. We aren’t going to talk about those two corn kernels in the black beans…

Also, be sure to fill up two of the cans with water and add it to the mixture! This is so important because it will definitely give you the little “oomph” of liquid needed for this soup. This is also the step where you would add the seasoning mix.

Once the meat is browned and drained, it can be added to the veggie and taco seasoning mixture. Stir well and then pop on a lid, set the burner to low/medium heat, put the timer on ten minutes, and you’re done.

We like to put cheese on top and eat it with tortilla chips.

I hope you enjoy this one as much as we do!

.

Print Recipe
Taco Soup- Updated Version!`
A few years ago I posted a taco soup recipe. It took a while, but we have found a version we prefer much more than the one I originally posted. It's simple, quick, and cost effective. The best recipes usually are!
Course Main Dish
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 10 minutes
Servings
bowls/people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 10 minutes
Servings
bowls/people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Brown ground beef in a skillet (can also throw in a diced onion, but not necessary). Drain well.
  2. In a separate large pot, mix tomatoes, corn, black beans, and taco seasoning packet. Stir well.
  3. Take two of the empty cans, fill with water, and add to the pot.
  4. Add browned ground beef and stir well.
  5. Cover and heat on low-medium for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve with cheese and tortilla chips. Enjoy!
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Taco Soup- Updated Version!

Print Recipe
Taco Soup- Updated Version!`
A few years ago I posted a taco soup recipe. It took a while, but we have found a version we prefer much more than the one I originally posted. It's simple, quick, and cost effective. The best recipes usually are!
Course Main Dish
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 10 minutes
Servings
bowls/people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 10 minutes
Servings
bowls/people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Brown ground beef in a skillet (can also throw in a diced onion, but not necessary). Drain well.
  2. In a separate large pot, mix tomatoes, corn, black beans, and taco seasoning packet. Stir well.
  3. Take two of the empty cans, fill with water, and add to the pot.
  4. Add browned ground beef and stir well.
  5. Cover and heat on low-medium for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve with cheese and tortilla chips. Enjoy!
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A Break and Easy Chili

I took a break. I had intended for it to be a short break that only lasted a few days. A few days turned into a few weeks.

Homeschooling is no joke.

Actually, let me backtrack. My children are in a blended program which means they attend school two days a week and their curriculum follows the local schools, but the other five days a week they are home and I am in charge of making sure all their schoolwork/testing is completed and answering any questions that may arise. Even though I’m not making up the entire lessons, it is still a chore. It’s a learning process for sure.

Also, I became really focused on monetizing the blog. I started this little blog/journey years ago as I love to write and I like to pretend to know how to cook. I’m not sure I do either particularly well, but they are a great way for me to unwind and let go of stress. When I rebooted my blog, I joined a few Facebook groups and the members were very focused on numbers, traffic, monetizing, etc. I got a little too wrapped up in that mindset and got burned out extremely quickly. I needed to take a step back and remember this blog is about my kitchen experiences. It is for me and my friends that choose to follow. Anyone else that wants to stop by, read about the craziness, and use the recipes are welcome and I enjoy having the guests, but if this blog only has ten readers per post, that is okay as well.

So now that all of that is out of the way, let’s get to the food!

My husband and I are HUGE NCAA football fans (ROLL TIDE!) and one of our “traditions” is to make a big pot of soup, stew, or chili on game nights. Unfortunately, we were camping when Alabama played their first game, so we settled for making our regular pot of chili when Tennessee played this past Monday. (On a side note, GO VOLS!- I grew up in a family of TN fans)

The beauty of this chili is that it is SUPER versatile! You can add or subtract anything and it still works! I’ve made it with and without beans. I’ve made it without the tomato sauce. I’ve made it with a lot more chili powder. I’ve made it with and without cheese. It is just so. incredibly. simple.

I’m including the recipe I used Monday. If you change it up, post below and let me know how you made it! I’m always up for trying new things! 😉

To begin, I diced a medium sized onion and a medium sized green bell pepper. I threw them into a large pan with a pound of ground beef and let it brown.

I drained the fat and then added the following into the meat mixture:

  • one can of tomato sauce
  • one can of petite diced tomatoes
  • two cans of chili beans (pintos) *I like to add one medium and one mild can*

I mixed the canned products in thoroughly and then added in the chili powder and garlic powder.

 

I made sure the spices were also mixed in well and added the lid to the pan, turned to simmer, set the timer to twenty minutes, and relaxed. An occasional stir here and there and we had a fantastic dinner.

Easy. Fast. Yummy.

Does it get any better?

Print Recipe
Easy Chili
This simple recipe is great for those cold fall nights. It's very easy to change up and make it fit your diet and/or personal taste. Hope you enjoy! *This is not a spicy recipe at all as my children do not like spicy foods. I just want to make sure that if you are wanting a "kick", you know to add some spice! 😉
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 Minutes
Cook Time 10 Minutes
Passive Time 20 Minutes
Servings
People
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 Minutes
Cook Time 10 Minutes
Passive Time 20 Minutes
Servings
People
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Brown ground beef, onion, and bell pepper in a large pan. (Drain fat)
  2. Once browned and drained, add in tomato sauce, tomatoes, and beans.
  3. Add chili powder and garlic powder and stir well.
  4. Place lid on the pan and turn the stove eye (or burner... whatever you prefer to call it) down to simmer.
  5. Let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. After 20 minutes, remove lid and serve topped with cheese. Enjoy!
Share this Recipe

Easy Chili

Print Recipe
Easy Chili
This simple recipe is great for those cold fall nights. It's very easy to change up and make it fit your diet and/or personal taste. Hope you enjoy! *This is not a spicy recipe at all as my children do not like spicy foods. I just want to make sure that if you are wanting a "kick", you know to add some spice! 😉
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 Minutes
Cook Time 10 Minutes
Passive Time 20 Minutes
Servings
People
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 Minutes
Cook Time 10 Minutes
Passive Time 20 Minutes
Servings
People
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Brown ground beef, onion, and bell pepper in a large pan. (Drain fat)
  2. Once browned and drained, add in tomato sauce, tomatoes, and beans.
  3. Add chili powder and garlic powder and stir well.
  4. Place lid on the pan and turn the stove eye (or burner... whatever you prefer to call it) down to simmer.
  5. Let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. After 20 minutes, remove lid and serve topped with cheese. Enjoy!
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Too Much Chocolate?!

Yesterday I finally got around to making chocolate chip pancakes. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I’m not a breakfast person and therefore, suck at cooking all breakfast foods. I burned a few pancakes, but compared to usual, I did pretty well this time.

This recipe is fairly simple and my husband and kids LOVED them. They did look tasty, but my desire not to have a migraine overcame my craving for chocolate.

It is super important to mix the dry and wet ingredients separately. Why? I don’t have the slightest clue, but I’ve always heard this so it sounds like good advice. Also, fold in the chocolate chips. If you stir, you risk over-mixing the batter which makes the pancakes tough…so I hear. 😉

I did not measure the chocolate chips and just poured in half of the bag of mini chips. Don’t do this. It was WAY too much. One cup should be fine. However, it is definitely a personal preference so add as much or as little as you want!

I hope you enjoy! These are great with or without syrup!

Print Recipe
Chocolate Chip Pancakes
The light and fluffy pancakes are packed with chocolate goodness!
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7-12 minutes (depending upon size)
Servings
pancakes (depending upon size)
Ingredients
In one bowl
In second bowl
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7-12 minutes (depending upon size)
Servings
pancakes (depending upon size)
Ingredients
In one bowl
In second bowl
Instructions
  1. In bowl one, mix all the dry ingredients together.
  2. In bowl two, mix all wet ingredients together (DO NOT include chocolate chips yet).
  3. Add the contents from bowl two into bowl one and mix just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Heat a large pan until butter is melted.
  5. Scoop batter onto hot pan. The size of the pancake is totally your preference!
  6. Flip the pancake when the sides start to "form"(they will be a golden brown color) and the batter bubbles have popped.
  7. Let the pancakes cook another 1-2 minutes on the uncooked side and then remove from heat.
  8. Enjoy plain or with syrup.
Share this Recipe

 

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Print Recipe
Chocolate Chip Pancakes
The light and fluffy pancakes are packed with chocolate goodness!
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7-12 minutes (depending upon size)
Servings
pancakes (depending upon size)
Ingredients
In one bowl
In second bowl
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7-12 minutes (depending upon size)
Servings
pancakes (depending upon size)
Ingredients
In one bowl
In second bowl
Instructions
  1. In bowl one, mix all the dry ingredients together.
  2. In bowl two, mix all wet ingredients together (DO NOT include chocolate chips yet).
  3. Add the contents from bowl two into bowl one and mix just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Heat a large pan until butter is melted.
  5. Scoop batter onto hot pan. The size of the pancake is totally your preference!
  6. Flip the pancake when the sides start to "form"(they will be a golden brown color) and the batter bubbles have popped.
  7. Let the pancakes cook another 1-2 minutes on the uncooked side and then remove from heat.
  8. Enjoy plain or with syrup.
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Only One Dish

Today was busy. Not just a little busy either. It was (and for the record, one child had not had a nap, one had a pre-teen attitude issue, and the other asked approximately 265,873,005 questions about everything from space to why some flies bite. Plus, the husband worked overtime today.)  :

  • piano- 2 kids=1 hour
  • lunch with my husband (30 minutes away)
  • drop off paperwork at doctor (that said husband forgot)
  • drive back 30 minutes to meet my brother with a camera charger
  • drive to my aunt’s business to pick something up
  • drive past the grocery store (oops) so stopped at the dollar store to grab a few things
  • go back to grocery store #1
  • leave #1, go to house to deliver cold stuff
  • unpack cold stuff into the refrigerator while kids stayed in the car and played WWF (well, they wrestled. They’ve never actually seen WWF)
  • go to grocery store #2 because #1 didn’t have everything I needed
  • as I was unloading the car at #2 it came a monsoon
  • got home and unpacked the car for a second time while all three kids whined for drinks
  • started laundry and dishes
  • started dinner
  • did more dishes
  • changed out laundry
  • continued dishes
  • finished supper
  • ate dinner with kids
  • bathed kids
  • bedtime
  • etc. etc. etc.

See! But do you want to know the thing I’m most annoyed at? I did dishes for TWO HOURS. Why? I keep thinking if leave them there, they will get done. No one does them though. I have to cook and clean?! What kind of torture is this?

Tonight, in protest, I made One Pan Chicken Dinner. Okay, okay… It wasn’t technically in protest. I basically picked this meal because it’s one pan. It really is the easiest meal ever and incredibly yummy! Actually, since it is so simple to make, I’ll just share a few pictures and then the recipe. I’m too exhausted to write too much anyhow!

And the best part? Simply rinse the pan out, shove that baby in the dishwasher, and you’re done! A glass of wine to celebrate the simplicity is optional!

 

Print Recipe
One Pan Chicken Dinner
This easy recipe only messes up on pan and is easy on the wallet.
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 X 13 glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Wash and dice red potatoes and put on one side of the dish.
  3. Line chicken down the middle of the dish (if it's thick, butterfly first and then place in dish)
  4. Pour entire bag of frozen green beans down the open side of the dish.
  5. Sprinkle Italian seasoning over entire dish.
  6. Place small pieces of butter over entire dish.
  7. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 60 minutes. Chicken is done when it is no longer pink inside and the juices run clear when the chicken is cut.
  8. Serve and enjoy!
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The Big Pinkish Cake

Hold on to your seats. This is going to be a mess.

My son turned seven last Friday so I decided to take the day off from blogging to focus on him and the behemoth cake I had planned.

The ORIGINAL plan was to make three separate layers that were all the same size, but different colors, stacked together, secured with toothpicks, and frosted like a champ. Ahh!

But alas, this is not how it turned out….at all.

In order to mix colors into the layers, I needed white cake. Not yellow mix and definitely not chocolate. My brain was obviously not working while I was at the store so I figured I would just go with a marble cake. (I don’t know why the cake mix is pictured with icing ingredients. Please just ignore my absent mindedness!)

Actually, since I’m on the subject, let me start by addressing the cake mix.

Yes, I used a cake mix.

No, I’m not the least bit sorry.

I stay so busy with my three exhausting lovely children that making a cake from scratch was just not on my agenda! I did, however, make homemade icing so that stands for something…right?

I got started on the boxed mixes and it was a miracle that I didn’t mix up the batters since they were sitting right next to each other.

Next, it was time to put the batters into pans. First, I went to get the pans out of the cabinet. I reached down and didn’t feel anything (my cabinet is basically on the floor). I thought that was a little odd as they are usually stacked near the door and easy to grab. I crouched and still didn’t feel anything. I finally had to get down onto my knees and look into the cabinet to realize my six round pans had dwindled to three mismatched round pans of different sizes. I was already using a different batter than I planned so I decided to roll with it. I would make it work. The toothpicks would hold it together.

I knew that the pans should be greased and floured, but wondered if I could skip Crisco and flour and only use cooking spray. I called my sister to ask her ( by the way, she went to culinary school-obviously she got ALL the cooking genes) . She paused slightly and said, “You can use cooking spray, but you still have to use flour unless you want the layers to stick.” She was likely thinking “Bless her heart”.

As I sprayed and floured the pans, I was as pouty as a two year old that was given the wrong color sippy cup. I finished quickly and moved on to putting the batters into the pans.

Let me clarify I didn’t know what in the world I was doing. I was just winging it (I swear that’s my motto). I grabbed a ladle out of my Lazy Susan thingy and started alternately scooping the batters into the pans. I knew I wanted the base layer marbled, but the other two layers were toss-ups. I used the middle layer to test my theory that you can have two separate colors in one pan without them mixing and then I used the smallest layer to try to alternate each color back and forth to make rings. It doesn’t work in case you were wondering. I used a butter knife to swirl it around a little and make a cool looking design. I had so much batter left over I was able to make 11 cupcakes as well.

Once I got the batter all divided out, I got the pans into the oven and breathed a sigh of relief. The first part was done!

The cakes came out of the oven and I let them cool for a bit. I decided to make a video of the cakes coming out of the pans.

The video can be seen here:

http://www.facebook.com/journeyofabadchef

Spoiler alert: They came out! I’m still shocked!

Once the cakes were out and cooled, I rummaged around for toothpicks to hold it all together. And, as per usual, we were out. How in the world was I going to keep this thing from sliding into the leaning tower of cake?! Whatever. It just wasn’t my day.

I started mixing the ingredients together for the icing. My son requested a Baymax cake. Baymax is from the children’s movie, Big Hero 6. Here are two pictures I found of him:

The one on the left is Baymax normally and the one on the right is him in a super hero costume or something. It’s not really important. What is important is that my son wanted a cake of him. I found a cake that resembled the helmet with his weird, connect the dot eyes. Perfect. I would ice the cake and draw his face on top with black icing I had on hand.

Did you know red frosting is impossible to achieve? Not just hard to do…no, no, no. Literally I’m pretty sure it’s IMPOSSIBLE. I put a ton of red gel into the icing mix and then I poured in HALF OF A CONTAINER of black as I was trying to achieve the red I was hoping for.

No such luck.

My son got pepto-colored icing. It looked like the cure for upset stomach was on his cake.

I shrugged off the icing. I mean…what can you do? It was close to dinner time so I needed to have the monstrosity done!

I slowly stacked the layers. I put down the bottom layer, iced it, and pushed the next layer on very firmly. Then I chanted “please don’t slide” while dancing around like an idiot. I repeated with the top layer and surprisingly, the layers stayed put. I iced the cake somewhat horribly and proceeded to make a face on top that slightly resembled Baymax, but basically it looked like I had an icing mishap.

 

I called my son in to look at the cake. He had no clue what it was until I told him. I apologized for the pink cake. His sweet response?

“Oh it’s okay, Mommy. I never told you what color I wanted it to be anyway.”

I could squeeze him sometimes.

The cake was actually pretty great tasting and he seemed to have a great birthday even though the cake wasn’t what I envisioned for him. I forgot to ice the cupcakes, but I’m so over the whole cake debacle that I don’t even care.

My daughter asked if I was going to make the cake for his party with his friends. I’ll let you know when I quit laughing long enough to give her a response.

Buttercream Icing

  • 1 lb confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-5 Tbsp milk
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • food coloring (optional)
  1. In a medium-large bowl, pour melted butter over confectioners sugar and mix slightly.
  2. Add vanilla extract and stir.
  3. Add milk one tablespoon at a time until it is creamy and spreadable.
  4. Mix in food coloring if desired and mix well.
  5. Spread over cake or cupcakes and enjoy!