Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Winter Menu: Italian Beef, Taco Soup & Tortilla Soup.

Today marked my last day of freedom. This whole 'not-working' thing was pretty nice, actually. It made me super excited for retirement. I could get used to a life of leisure.

Not that I had a leisurely day today. No, I was busy turning my kitchen into my very own disaster area. I must say, medals should be given for the type of mess I can make. My skills are world renowned. The Guinness Book of World Records should be calling any day now.

First I started with an Italian Beef recipe that I stole from KnewlyWifed, who stole it from her ex-boss's wife, who must have stolen it straight from the Italian government. Its that good. 

Simple. Easy. Crockpot. 

Four ingredients. Six if you're feeling motivated. You won't regret it.

Then I made Taco Soup.

I've loved it since college. I'll love it forever. It will always be a staple in my freezer to get me through the winter months.

Just in case a crazy snow storm rolls in and I'm trapped in the house for weeks on end, I made a batch of Chicken Tortilla soup big enough to feed an army. 

It's not a pretty color, but it sure does taste divine.

If you need me, I'll be doing dishes for the rest of my life.

In the meantime, pick a recipe and give it a whirl. Assuming you don't get food poisoning, let me know how awesome it turns out.


Italian Beef stolen from

2-4 pound beef - Use round roast, chuck roast, or whatever is on sale
1 can of beef broth 
1 can of water - Fill the beef broth can 
12 oz. jar of pepperoncini or banana jars if you live in a country that doesn't see pepperocini like I do 
1 package of dry Italian dressing mix or just Italian seasonings if you can't find the mix
Dash of pepper
Dash of garlic

In your crockpot, add 5-10 peppers (from the pepperoncini jar) to the bottom of the pot. Rinse your roast and sprinkle with pepper on both sides. Lay your roast on top of the peppers. Next, add the juice from the pepperoncini jar, beef broth, water, and package of dry Italian dressing mix to a bowl and mix well. Pour this over the roast. The roast should not be completely covered with liquid (maybe about half covered). Top the roast off with a few more peppers and a dash or two of garlic. I cook this on low for at least 10 hours, and then let it sit on warm for several more hours.


Taco Soup:

1 pound ground beef
2 can of black beans
1 can of kidney beans
1 small can of tomato sauce
1 large can of chopped tomatoes
2 can of chopped green chilies
1 can of kernel corn
1 package of ranch dressing mix
1 package of taco seasoning mix
1-3 cups of water

Brown ground beef. Move beef to a large pot or crockpot. Add all other ingredients. Stir. Let simmer for 45-60 minutes. Freezes like a champ, too!


Chicken Tortilla Soup:
5 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
4 carrots, chopped small
2 onions, chopped small
3 celery stalks, guess it. small.
4 chicken bouillon cubes
2 can of chicken broth
1 can of water
garlic, salt to season

Place above ingredients in a large pot and boil until the chicken is cooked and tender. Remove chicken, cut into small pieces and replace it back in the pot.

Then add:
2 can of cream of mushroom soup
2 cans of kernel corn, drain one
2 can of chopped tomatoes, drain one
2 cans of Southwestern bean medley, drained (or whatever kind of beans you want, really)
6 teaspoons of Cumin

Cook over low heat for 60 minutes.

Ba da bing, ba da boom.

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