Recipe of the Week

Recipe of the Week ~ Taco Soup

Posted by on Feb 7, 2011 in Recipe of the Week | 3 comments

Last week I shared Matt’s favorite soup recipe. Today, I’d like to introduce you to my all-time favorite soup. My mom started making this filling dish many years ago, and I really think that I could eat half of the pot by myself. This soup is perfect for a chilly day and hearty enough for the men in your life to feel satisfied. It can simmer in a crock pot making your home smell delicious! They leftovers freeze well and are great to grab for a quick lunch at work. With only 15 minutes of preparation and an hour to cook, you’ll have a healthy meal in no time! Try this soup out; you won’t be disappointed!

Taco Soup

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1/2 of a medium bell pepper*
  • 2 cloves garlic*
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 2 cans Ranch style beans OR 1 can Ranch style + 1 can black beans
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 can hominy
  • 1 can water (rinsing out the tomato sauce can)

*The pepper and garlic are not in the original recipe. I like to add them for an extra boost of flavor if I have them on hand.

  1. Brown ground beef with onions, pepper, and garlic.
  2. Drain grease.
  3. Follow taco seasoning package to season meat. If you want to avoid using prepackaged seasoning packets, season the meat and/or soup yourself with salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, dash of cumin, and garlic powder.
  4. Place meat in soup pot or crock pot.
  5. Add rest of ingredients.
  6. Simmer for one hour on stove top, five-ish hours on low crock pot setting.
  7. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking to pan.
  8. Makes 6 large servings
  9. Garnish each bowl with your choice of sour cream, grated cheese, Fritos, and/or avocados.

Other ideas:

You can easily make this soup stretch for more people by adding an extra can of beans or more meat.

Feel free to use frozen or fresh corn or tomatoes if you don’t like canned.

I like to make a pot of beans by themselves for one meal during the week, then use the leftovers to transform into this soup later or for the freezer.

Try experimenting with different types of beans and lentils.

This is a great recipe to put together Saturday night in your crockpot, then turn on before church Sunday morning. No waiting for lunch after church plus you save some money going out to eat! You will need to use a large crockpot. The 3 quart size isn’t quite big enough…

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Recipe of the Week ~ Basil Tomato Soup

Posted by on Jan 31, 2011 in Recipe of the Week | 9 comments

Nothing warms the soul better on a cold, brisk day then sitting down to a bowl of succulent soup. For the next month or so, I’m going to share some of my personal favorite soup recipes with you. I’m starting today with one of Matt’s all time favorites: Basil Tomato. This creamy soup recipe comes from my days working in the kitchen at Summit Ministries in Colorado. Each ingredient is fresh.  The end result satisfies not only the stomach but the taste buds as well. I like to serve this soup with either grilled cheese made with French bread or garlic cheese toast.

Basil Tomato Soup

  • 1 cup red onion, chopped finely
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger (dried may be substituted)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups whole Roma tomatoes, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3-4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup whole basil leaves, chopped thinly
  • 1-2 cups heavy cream

In a large saucepan, caramelize the onion, ginger, sugar, and oil.

Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

Season with salt and pepper.

Add the chicken stock and basil and simmer on low heat until very soft, about 30 minutes.

Puree part or all of the soup in a blender (can use beaters as a substitute, although I recommend the blender).

Return to pot and add cream to taste.

Warm and serve (be careful to avoid scorching).

Serves 6 and can be easily multiplied and frozen.

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Recipe of the Week ~ Home made hot chocolate

Posted by on Dec 15, 2010 in Christmas, Recipe of the Week | 0 comments

Right now in southeast Texas the temperature rests at 75 degrees, the skies are partly cloudy, and the wind blows at 25mph. Not exactly the ideal weather for the fifteenth of December while my radio plays, “The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful… let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.” Catchy tune, nice image, but not true outside my window!

Regardless of the weather, this is hot chocolate season! We kick this time of year off on the day after Thanksgiving while we decorate our Christmas tree. I make a pot of hot chocolate that we deck with marshmallows, whip cream, and candy cane pieces. Then we sip away at a few cups as we carefully place ornaments on the branches.

This simple recipe is easy to make and can be reduced to a one cup size if you need an evening drink while enjoying a movie or made by the gallon for a large crowd. Below I have the measurements and directions for four servings and another list for one serving. Enjoy!

Hot Chocolate for One:

  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. cocoa
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 teas. vanilla
  1. Combine sugar, cocoa, and salt in mug
  2. Heat milk in microwave until hot – approx. 2 minutes
  3. Add milk to dry ingredients
  4. Stir well, add vanilla, stir again (continue to stir while drinking because cocoa tends to settle at the bottom of cup.

Hot Chocolate for Four:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • dash of salt
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 4 cups milk
  • 3/4 teas. vanilla
  1. Combine sugar, cocoa, and salt in pan on stove top.
  2. Add water
  3. Stir while cooking over medium heat until mixture boils.
  4. Boil and stir 2 minutes
  5. Stir in milk and heat. DO NOT BOIL. Watch carefully to avoid scorching.
  6. Remove from heat and add vanilla
  7. Pour into cups and garnish with marshmallows, peppermint, or whip cream
  8. ENJOY!

This can also be reheated in a crock pot or by the cup. Make sure to stir as cocoa will settle at the bottom of the pan or cup if it sits for awhile.

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Recipe of the Week ~ Pumpkin Muffins

Posted by on Nov 3, 2010 in Recipe of the Week | 0 comments

Yummy!! Can’t you just smell that fall goodness of pumpkin mixing with cinnamon and nutmeg? mmmmm. Delicious.If you’re having trouble imagining it, try this easy recipe for yourself. You’ll soon be diving into one of these mouthwatering muffins yourself!

A few weeks ago I was looking for the perfect recipe to satisfy my pumpkin bread craving. After searching recipe books to no avail, I did what all experienced cooks do… I googled it.

And I was not disappointed. Here’s the recipe which I found on this cute website. I’ve copied and pasted it here, but go check out the muffintop blog for more great recipes!

From Gourmet November 2006
Adapted from the American Club
Makes 1 dozen
Active time: 15 min.
Start to finish: 1 hour

1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpking (from a 15-oz can) (I accidentally put the entire 15 oz. can in, with no ill effects at all)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp pumpkin-pie spice (I didn’t have any, so I found this site and stirred my own together)
1.25 cups plus 1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Equipment: 12 foil or paper muffin liners; a muffin pan with 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups

Put oven rack in middle positiona nd preheat oven toe 350F. Put liners in muffin cups.

Whisk together flour and baking powder in a small bowl.

Whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin-pie spice, 1.25 cups sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined.

Stir together cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another bowl.

Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be about 3/4 full), then spinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and a wodden pick or skewer inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.

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Recipe of the Week ~ Lemon Squares

Posted by on Sep 21, 2010 in Recipe of the Week | 5 comments

Lemon bars have always held a top spot in my “favorite dessert” list. Perhaps it’s because my grandpa loved them and would praise me on end when I made them for him. Perhaps it’s because they are so light I can eat nearly half of a pan without feeling gross. Perhaps it’s because I just love lemon flavor… and these always satisfy.

For whatever reason, lemon bars are mouth wateringly delicious. I’ve been making them since I was seven or eight, and I have always used the same recipe. As requested by a sweet friend, I am today sharing this recipe with you.

The original recipe makes an 8×8 square pan. I always double the recipe in order to have plenty to share, therefore I’m giving you the larger recipe. If you are making this for just you and your spouse, you may want to half the recipe below.


  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 teaspoons grated lemon peel This is an optional amount. Can be more or less, depending on your supplies.
  • 4 Tablespoons of lemon juice I often will add extra juice for a bolder flavor or a few drops of lemon essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  1. Heat oven to 350
  2. Mix flour, butter, and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Press evenly with hands in bottom and about 1/2 inch up sides of an ungreased 9×13 pan. I normally use a glass pan.
  3. Bake 20 minutes. It usually my oven a little longer. I wait until the edges are browning slightly before removing.
  4. Beat remaining ingredients in a medium bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy. Pour over hot crust.
  5. Bake until no indention remains when touched lightly in center, about 25 minutes. Bars may seem slightly wiggly in pan, but after cooling should firm up. Cooking time may vary with your oven so you may make this recipe a few times to perfect oven length.
  6. Let stand until cool, then sprinkle with powdered sugar, and cut into squares.

** If you enjoy coconut, you can add 1 cup of flaked coconut into the fluffy mixture for a twist!

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Recipe of the Week ~ Grilled Corn Salad

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Recipe of the Week | 1 comment

A yummy side dish recipe from my friend, Rose.

This salad tastes delicious next to steak or fajitas.

  • 6 ears of corn
  • 1-2 large red onions, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 4-6 small limes
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Salt and pepper

Grill corn, onion, and pepper

Combine tomatoes, cilantro, and lime juice.

After grilling, cut corn off of cob, chop onion and pepper. Add to tomato mixture.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. (could also use garlic)

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