Sunday, January 4, 2015

Convenience Cooking for a Crowd......From Food Storage Staples

I had a crowd over for dinner around Christmas time.  I have a 3 burner device that can cook or keep 3 shiny pots/kettles going on individual controls. I decided to offer our guests a choice of 3 different soups along with other things.  One of the soups I offered is a crowd favorite....and is very delicious!

(The pots that come with this device are very shiny and made every picture I attempted to take a little challenging!)

How to make Taco Soup from Food Storage Staples

I love Taco Soup.  Pair it with some corn ships and you have a delicious and filling meal.  For this soup, I used only items from my Food Storage, yet the soup was fresh and delicious.

I have Hamburger frozen in 1 pound packages.  I thawed it and broke it up into pieces and then put it in the microwave. Yes, I really did say the microwave.  I timed the microwave for every 30 seconds and stopped to chop and stir. After about a couple of minutes, the Hamburger was cooked and in small pieces.  At this point, you can rinse your hamburger under running water to reduce the fat content, or leave it as is.

I went to my Food Storage room and got a can of canned corn, a few jars of canned black beans (you can use a variety of beans in this recipe), and a can of tomato dices.  

The recipe calls for a package of Ranch Dressing.  No Problem! I have Ranch Dressing Mix on hand that I put together myself.  It is so easy and convenient!

I put in the Ranch dressing mix, along with all the other seasoning as well as the cooked hamburger.  I put the lid on, turned up the burner, and let it simmer until our guests arrived.

Just for your information, I also made Pumpkin Soup, and Chicken Noodle Soup. All of these were made from Food Storage Staples.  Again, it was all so convenient!.  I just turned the burners on and went about my business before my company arrived.

Well, after dinner the gifts were the actual star of the show.  However, I loved being in a position to provide my guests with a nutritious and hearty soups.......all from my food storage staples.

Take home points:

  • Having Food Storage Staples actually is having convenience foods available to you.  
  • I believe this Hearty Taco Soup cost about $2.00 total to feed this crowd.  
  • The cost of the Pumpkin Soup and Chicken soup were nominal as well.  Several folks went back twice for more it was welcome on a cold winter day.
  • Efforts made in the summer and fall bear fruit during the winter.
  • The peace-of-mind that comes from having food stuffs on hand is priceless.
  • Food Storage Staples are not just for emergencies, it is for everyday living.  In this case, it was for a holiday celebration.
  • Gaining skill sets brings successes in many ways.  It's not just about the food, it is the knowledge and preparation that makes this possible.

Taco Soup:

(I got this recipe from a group called "Organized Christmas" a number of years ago.)

Taco Soup

  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Combine these ingredients, cook and drain. Add the following to the pot:
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 Large can diced, stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can Ro-tell tomatoes (if you can't find these, look for tomatoes with diced chillies, or in a pinch a good hot salsa or picante sauce will do).
  • 1 pkg Taco Seasoning Mix (1 Tblsp)
  • 1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing (I have actually poured in an amount from a my dressing bottle before)

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for an hour (or keep the water to a minimum and put it in the crock pot for all day)

Serve over tortilla chips or tamales. Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheeses, and or cubed avocado. 

Try it!


gardenpat said...

One thing that savesme time as well when cooking for my crowd (31 in town and 51 total if the out of state ones are all here!) is precook ground beef!
I recently got a great deal on 90% lean ground beef and bought 45 lbs! I froze 30 lbs in their 5 lb increments but the other 15 i cooked up on the stovetop with dried onions, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Packaged it in freezer bags - 2 cups per bag and any time i need a pound of ground beef in a recipe, i just pull one from the freezer! Easy-peasy!
I make sure i always keep some ready to go in the freezer!Saves so much time!

Trisa said...

I took advantage of my pantry this holiday as well. Our family get together had lots of newbies...4 adopted children, a newborn and a newly blended family. I took stock of my fruit shelf and used canned cherries, pineapple, tropical fruit salad, and fruit cocktail along with 3 fresh bananas and had enough fruit salad for the crowd of 27, with several of the young ones taking home the leftovers. I normally would add shredded coconut or chopped pecans, but didn't have them that day. You can also stir in cool whip and mini marshmallows if you want to make it fancy.

The Little Red Hen said...

Trisa: Congrats on your new family! I love being able to have things at my fingertips to share with loved ones like you certainly have. Thanks for the great suggestion as well! I hope to have more helpful information like this in future posts. Thanks for stopping by! LRH

The Little Red Hen said...

gardenpat: You are so right when you cook large amounts of ground beef ahead of time. It is like you are making your own convenience foods. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your comment! LRH

01 09 10