Slow-Cooker Taco Soup

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

Slow-cooker Tex-Mex soup with ground beef, corn, tomatoes, onions and bell peppers swimming in a taco-seasoned, cheddar cheese, tomato broth with my secret ingredient – refried beans. They’re great for thickening the soup while at the same adding a ton of flavor. Plus I love them on my tacos so I had to sneak them in.

Just say the word taco and I start jumping up and down like an excited puppy dog. I love them in all their different flavors, shapes and forms but my favorite will always be the traditional American taco of ground beef, cheese, sour cream, lettuce and tomato {a little avocado and a spoonful of refried beans never hurt either}.

This tastes just like one! Only more comforting because that’s how soup rolls. When you pile on the toppings like sour cream and tortilla chips you really bring on the taco experience. In a whole new way.

Get out your soup spoons.

And your slow-cookers.

Taco Soup

Slow-Cooker Taco Soup

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Slow-Cooker Taco Soup

Slow-cooker Tex-Mex soup with ground beef, corn, tomatoes, onions and bell peppers swimming in a taco-seasoned, cheddar cheese, tomato broth with my secret ingredient - refried beans.

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large green or red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
1 + 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 cans {14 ounces each) beef broth
2 packets msg-free taco seasoning or 4 tablespoons homemade
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 can (14.5 ounce) petite diced tomatoes with juices
1 + 1/2 cups corn
1 can (16 ounce) refried beans
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Your choice of garnishes:
sour cream
tortilla chips
diced avocado or guacamole
shredded lettuce
diced fresh tomatoes
chopped fresh cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion, pepper and garlic. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, stirring often, turn heat down slightly if it starts to brown too quickly.
  2. Remove the vegetables to the slow-cooker and add the ground beef to the skillet. Cook, breaking it apart as it cooks, until browned. While the meat is browning you can add the broth, taco seasoning, oregano, tomatoes, corn and refried beans to the slow-cooker. Mix well.
  3. Once the meat is cooked add to the slow-cooker and mix well. Add about 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Cook on high 3 - 4 hours or low 5 - 6. About a half hour before serving skim off any grease that rises to the top, taste and re-season if needed then mix in the cheddar cheese.
  4. Serve with your choice of garnishes.

Notes:

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/slow-cooker-taco-soup/

Southwestern Roasted Butternut Squash

Southwestern Roasted Butternut Squash

Roasted butternut squash cubes coated in southwestern-inspired spices like chile powder, cumin, paprika and red pepper flakes. The spicy kick is delicious with the natural sweetness of the squash and roasting them turns them into little flavor explosions. Utterly addicting flavor explosions.

If this recipe looks familiar it’s because I copied it from my southwestern roasted potatoes. I couldn’t help myself. I loved them so much I wanted to recreate them again with my favorite winter squash.

An uncooked, butternut squash is one of the hardest things to peel and cut. I have an easy fix for that. Did you know you can roast the squash whole? Well, I’m here to tell you it’s possible. For this recipe I don’t roast it until it’s fully cooked – about 25 minutes will soften the skin making it easy to peel. The flesh will still be firm but tender enough to cut into cubes without having a knock-out, drag-out fight with it.

Southwestern Butternut Squash

The cubes are tossed in olive oil then coated with the spices and seasoned with salt and pepper. Since they’re already halfway cooked they don’t take long at all – check them often by piercing them with a fork – you don’t want them to overcook because they will turn into mush.

This kicks off the “12 weeks of Winter Squash”! I’ll be sharing at least one squash recipe a week with you for the next three months. Hope you’re a squash lover like me. . . If not maybe by the end I can turn you into one. Thanks to Joanne of Eats Well With Others and Heather of Girlichef for putting this cool group together!

Roasted Butternut Squash

Southwestern Roasted Butternut Squash

Rating: 51

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 servings

Southwestern Roasted Butternut Squash

Roasted butternut squash cubes coated in southwestern-inspired spices like chile powder, cumin, paprika and red pepper flakes. The spicy kick is delicious with the natural sweetness of the squash and roasting them turns them into little flavor explosions.

INGREDIENTS:

1 (approximately 2 - 3 pound) butternut squash (5 - 6 cups cubed)
2 - 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
coarse salt and fresh black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash the squash and lay the entire thing down - no need to cut it - on a baking sheet or metal roasting pan. Bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool until you can easily handle it without being burned.
  2. Cut the squash in half, peel it and scoop out the seeds. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
  3. Grease a large cookie sheet (not the thick aluminum type) with 1 - 2 tablespoons oil. Lay the squash out on the cookie sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil. Massage the oil gently into the squash with your hands.
  4. In a small bowl mix together the chile powder, paprika, cumin and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle over the squash and massage into the squash with your hands. Spread them out in one layer. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast 25 - 35 minutes until fork tender - don't overcook or they will get mushy.

Notes:

Adapted from Southwestern Roasted Potatoes

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/southwestern-roasted-butternut-squash/

Southwestern Roasted Potatoes

Southwestern Roasted Potatoes

There’s nothing like a little Southwestern twist to spice up roasted potatoes! These are lightly dusted with chile powder, paprika, cumin and a touch of red pepper flakes before heading into the oven where they bake up crispy with a deep rusty-golden color.

I use a large, rimmed Wilton cookie sheet (not the thick, aluminum type) and let the potatoes cook undisturbed for about 25 minutes before turning them. This is how I achieve that sought after crusty browning that everyone is always asking me about.

When I have time I also soak them in water for a half hour to an hour ahead of time. Supposedly that will help them crisp up easier and will make the centers lighter and fluffier. I don’t always take this extra step – it’s completely up to you. The difference isn’t huge but who can argue with a little extra crispiness? I’ll do whatever it takes.

I’ve seen roasted potato recipes where the potatoes are cooked up soft without much color/crispness to them. Those have a time and a place like alongside roasted chicken but that’s not what we’re going for here. We want something like a french fry. If a french fry came in hunks instead of strips and was thrown into the oven instead of a fryer. We want crispy outsides and soft centers.

Lately, I’ve been favoring Yukon Gold potatoes. No other quite compares to their creamy, buttery-yellow flesh and outstanding taste. You can use any good baking potato. I also like red potatoes and russets.

Spread the potatoes out in one layer and don’t be afraid to oil them and the baking sheet up real good. You don’t want them to stick because that lovely crusty side will stick to the pan and get ripped to shreds when you turn them. What looks like a lot of oil at the beginning will quickly get soaked up by the dry spices.

One last thing before I go – preheat your oven and let it come up to temperature before putting the potatoes in. A hot oven is imperative for success.

Let the roasting begin. Tis’ the season.

Southwest Roasted Potatoes

Southwestern Roasted Potatoes

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Southwestern Roasted Potatoes

There's nothing like a little Southwestern twist to spice up roasted potatoes! These are lightly dusted with chile powder, paprika, cumin and a touch of red pepper flakes before heading into the oven where they bake up crispy with a deep rusty-golden color.

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 - 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
coarse salt and fresh black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and cover them with cold water. Let sit 1/2 - 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Generously grease a large, rimmed cookie sheet with 1 - 2 tablespoons of oil.
  3. Drain the potatoes, rinse them and pat dry with paper towels. Place them on the cookie sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil. Massage the oil into the potatoes with your hands.
  4. In a small bowl mix the chile powder, paprika, cumin and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle it over the potatoes and then massage it into the potatoes with your hands. Spread them out in one layer and season well with salt and pepper.
  5. Bake 25 - 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the potatoes over. Bake 15 - 20 more minutes until potatoes are rusty-brown and fork tender.
  6. Serve immediately with more salt and pepper if needed. They're also good with a little sour cream for dipping.

Notes:

Adapted from America's Test Kitchen

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/southwestern-roasted-potatoes/

Southwestern Cheddar Chili Mac

Southwestern Chili Mac

Chili meets pasta in this hearty skillet meal with ground beef, cheddar cheese, green chiles and tomatoes. It’s seasoned with all my favorite Tex-mex spices including chile powder, cumin, smoked paprika and Mexican oregano. Aside from boiling the pasta it’s made entirely in one skillet making it a contender for a fast weeknight meal…. 

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Easy Homemade Taco Bell Gorditas

Homemade Gorditas

Homemade gorditas stuffed with seasoned taco meat and topped with cheddar cheese, black olives, shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes.

What’s a gordita. . . you might be asking yourself? A soft flatbread taco. Taco Bell made them famous but I’d be the biggest liar in the world if I said I ever had one of theirs.

One of my steadfast life rules is if I want fast food I have to make it myself.… 

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Chopped Taco Salad

Taco Chopped Salad

There’s only one thing in the world that can abate my craving for a taco besides an actual taco and that ‘thing’ is a taco salad.

All the very same things tacos are loved for tossed together to make the most delicious hot mess of a salad. Iceberg lettuce, taco meat, cheddar cheese, black olives, tomatoes, red onion and tortilla chips plus whatever else you want to toss in. … 

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