Thought I would start this column with a culinary tip or two. The last time we put new silverware in our home we bought about 4 dozen place settings. For some folks that seems like overkill, but when you entertain a great deal, it’s wise. I also didn’t purchase my silverware from the normal place. Ours came from a large restaurant supplier. I purchased a heavy, good quality design that wouldn’t go out of style. However; there were two items not in my pattern, a soup spoon and ice tea spoons. Before Bed, Bath & Beyond went out of business I purchased at least 6-8 ice tea spoons that went nicely with my silverware set. I didn’t drop a great deal of money on them, back then they were around $2.00 per piece. I am getting to the ‘tip’ I promise. The thing about ice tea spoons is how handy they are for other things besides ice tea. One would be stirring up a glass of chocolate milk, but the biggest plus we have found is how wonderful they are in a jelly or jam jar. No more sticky spoon handles!! I know there’s a couple of other uses we have commented on, but at this very moment, I can’t remember them!
With the cold weather moving in this weekend, I thought a soup was in line for the column. This recipe has to be one of the easiest I’ve ever made and it is so so simple & delicious. It comes from my good friend, Tara. The recipe calls for a rotisserie chicken, but of course, you can easily change this out.
One of the must haves with taco soup are the toppings: shredded cheese, sour cream, sliced avocado and perhaps a few crumbled tortilla strips or chips. Personally, I would enjoy the soup with a piece of avocado toast. This would also be a good excuse for a pan of homemade cornbread.
In the winter months it is important to keep plenty of canned goods on hand. Soups and stews are easy to make on a cold day, but it’s no fun if you have to pull on the hat, boots, gloves and coat and head to the grocery store. Which could have been avoided had you kept the pantry well-stocked. Tip: This week chicken breasts were on sale, boneless/skinless, so off we went to get a couple of pkgs. for the freezer. If you can it’s also nice to cook 3-4 and vacuum seal them for recipes. Those of us who work, will enjoy having the meat already cooked when we walk in the door at 6pm, and need to start a fast meal.
From an instructions point of view this doesn’t get much easier. Sauté the onions and then put all the ingredients in the cookpot and heat! I just concurred with my spouse, Ervin, and he has agreed to pick up the ingredients tomorrow so I can make this the day after. (See, I wasn’t totally prepared either!)
The past weekend found me cleaning and sorting holiday/winter décor and getting everything to the basement, as I prepare for a BIG and I mean BIG clean-out. I was able to get to the 70% off sale at Martin’s in Springfield. This is a wonderful, wonderful floral store. Yep, I even got 2-3 Christmas presents for next year. Those I’m sealing in bags with a label. I love it when I can think ahead of the game. Sorta’ like the cloud biscuits I made for the freezer on Saturday.
OK gang, time to hang up my laundry and get this yummy column all set. Enjoy the week, it’s all up to you, to make it a good one!
Simple Taco Soup by Tara Jackson
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 rotisserie hen, picked into small pieces
4 cans mixed chili beans, undrained
2 cans corn, undrained
2 cans rotel, undrained
2 small cans tomato sauce
2 pkgs. Taco seasoning, (Tara likes Taco Bell)
3 cups water
Sauté onion in a tablespoon of olive oil, in large stockpot. Add all the remaining ingredients. Simmer for at least 30 minutes. Top with shredded cheeses, sour cream, avocado and perhaps tortilla strips or chips. This usually serves 6-8 persons nicely.
You know what I’m thinking???? This soup would ‘can’ in the pressure cooker real nice, to put into quart jars etc. This would also make a good gift item!