In 2002 our little family moved near Birmingham to Hoover, Alabama to start a new job. We were in an unfamiliar town with a premature infant son and quite frankly, a bit, or maybe a lot, anxious. Truthfully, we were scared to death! Then one day we got the neighbors’ mail delivered to our box by mistake… The rightful owners of the bills, flyers and coupons lived two doors down…Keith and Amy. When we went to return it, we struck up a conversation. And, it’s as if we’d known them all our lives. They had children very near to our son’s age, and we discovered we shared a love of good wine, impromptu cookouts, laughter and Halloween. We would spend the next 4 years celebrating birthdays, rejoicing in life’s ups, helping each other through life’s downs, and canvassing the neighborhood for candy every October 31. And one Halloween Amy told me it was tradition in her family to have a meal of taco soup to warm everybody up before venturing into the dark suburban cul-de-sacs! And that was when she shared this amazing taco soup recipe with me. I can’t tell you the number of times we enjoyed a big pot of this soup and planned our kids’ futures and their next costume party. Sadly, we found out in 2006 we would be leaving our little cul-de-sac to head to Charlotte. There were tears for sure, but miles can’t break the bonds of friendship formed over good wine, good food and lost mail. I knew I would make this soup every fall and think of all our fun family times and miss them so much. But, plot twist…happy endings…a couple of years after we moved, Amy’s husband Keith’s job required him to make a move. Guess where they ended up! So here is Amy’s taco soup that still warms my heart in so many ways!
- 1 lb. lean ground beef, ground turkey or leftover shredded chicken breast
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
- 2 pkgs. taco seasoning
- 2 cans black beans
- 1 can Rotel tomatoes
- 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
- 1/2 jar salsa or picante sauce
- 1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn
- 1 cup water
- shredded cheese and corn chips for serving
Add a splash of oil to a large pot, and brown the meat and onion if using beef or turkey. Otherwise, if using precooked chicken, just warm in the pot with the onion and oil until onion starts to soften. Add 1 pkg taco seasoning. Then just dump everything else in, using only 1/2 of the second pkg of taco seasoning. No need to even drain anything…just dump it in! Bring to a simmer. Serve with corn chips and top with shredded cheese and sour cream if you like.