Taco Soup

My mother gave me this recipe that a friend of hers had shared. I changed their recipe a little because I think the ranch dressing mix that they added made it too salty. Also, they said to drain all of the canned beans & vegetables, then add water – this seemed ridiculous to me, so I don’t do it.

Servings: 4-6

1 lb ground beef, cooked
15 oz can corn, undrained
2 – 15 oz cans pinto beans, undrained
15 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
4 oz green chiles, chopped
1 pkg taco seasoning
Cheddar or Jack cheese, grated
sour cream or plain yogurt

  1. Dump all ingredients in a large saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium heat until heated through.
  3. Serve topped with grated cheese and sour cream or yogurt.
  • I keep containers of precooked ground beef in my freezer. I use it still frozen – it will be ready by the time everything is heats.  If you don’t have this, you can cook the meat in the saucepan before adding everything else.
  • I prefer “petite diced” tomatoes which are cut into appx ½” pieces. You could also use fresh or frozen tomatoes.

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Streamlined Lasagna

This is the recipe that my mother made when I was growing up. It is not authentic in many ways, but it is delicious comfort food using ingredients that were readily available in a grocery store in the 1970s.

Servings: 6

1 Tbsp oil
½ cup onion, diced
1 lb ground beef
1 clove garlic, sliced
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
3 Tbsp parsley, chopped
15 oz can diced tomatoes
8 oz tomato sauce
8 oz lasagne noodles ( 8 slices)
4 oz Swiss cheese, sliced thin
1 ½ cups cottage cheese
parsley, chopped

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute onion until tender.
  2. Add ground beef, cook until browned.
  3. Mash garlic with salt and add to meat with pepper, oregano, parsley, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. If making ahead, refrigerate sauce until ready to assemble.
  5. Preheat oven to 350℉.
  6. Cook lasagne noodles until al dente. Drain & cover with cold water.
  7. Spread of sauce in a 9×13 pan. Top with half each of lasagne noodles, Swiss cheese (reserve 1 slice) & cottage cheese.
  8. Repeat, ending with remaining sauce and reserved cheese.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot & bubbly.
  10. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
  • I prefer “petite diced” tomatoes which are cut into appx ½” pieces. You could also use fresh or frozen tomatoes.
  • You can substitute mozzarella for the Swiss cheese and ricotta for the cottage cheese for a more authentic dish.

Mary’s G-o-o-o-d Stuff

I got this recipe from a recipe exchange that I belonged to in the late 2000s, but unfortunately I did not make a note of who submitted the recipe. If you know where this recipe came from, please let me know.

Servings: 6

2 Tbsp water
1 lb Italian sausage
1 onion, dices
4 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz can diced tomatoes
4 oz green chile, chopped
2 cups water
8 oz uncooked pasta (shells, rotini, penne, etc.)
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried thyme
½ tsp nutmeg
1 cup sour cream

  1. Heat 2 Tbsp water in a large skillet or Dutch oven.
  2. Add sausage, cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove cover and let water evaporate, browning sausage lightly. Drain off fat.
  3. Add onion & garlic and cook 5 minutes longer.
  4. Add tomatoes, chiles and water. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add pasta and spices. Return to a boil, turn heat to low.
  6. Cover and cook until pasta is al dente. Mixture should be loose, but not too soupy.
  7. Turn off heat and stir in sour cream.
  • I prefer “petite diced” tomatoes which are cut into appx ½” pieces. You could also use fresh or frozen tomatoes.
  • You can substitute 2 – 10 oz cans diced tomatoes with chilies for the canned tomatoes and the chiles.
  • You can substitute yogurt for the sour cream.

Goulash Soup

Adapted from The Ground Beef Cookbook by Joanne Waring Lindeman. I reduced the amount of meat and changed the seasoning.

Servings: 6

1 pound ground beef
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup potatoes*, chopped
1 cup carrots, sliced
½ cup celery, chopped
1 cup cabbage, shredded
2 – 15 oz cans diced tomatoes*, undrained
1 ½ cups water
1 cup rice*
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt, or to taste
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 ½ cups cheddar cheese*, grated

  1. Saute beef and onion in a hot large pot until browned. Drain fat.
  2. Add veggies and water. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add remaining ingredients except cheese. Cover and simmer for about 1 hour, or until rice and veggies are tender.
  4. Serve topped with cheese.
  • The potatoes and rice are not cooked before adding them to the pot.
  • I prefer “petite diced” tomatoes which are cut into appx ½” pieces.  You could also use fresh or frozen tomatoes.
  • Parmesan cheese is also very good on this soup.

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Newport Beef Casserole

McCall’s Great American Recipe Card Collection 1973

1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
1 lb ground beef
1 can (6 oz) mushrooms, drained
1 cup sherry
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 can (17 oz) diced tomatoes
salt to taste
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried basil
8 oz small shell pasta
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach
1 cup sharp Cheddar, grated
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Parmesan, grated

  1. In hot oil in large skillet, saute onion, garlic, carrot, and celery until onion is golden – about 5 minutes.
  2. Add beef; cook, stirring, until browned.
  3. Add mushrooms, sherry, tomato paste, tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, and basil: simmer, uncovered 1 1/2 hours.
  4. If desired, cool, cover, and refrigerate until needed.
  5. About 45 minutes before serving time, preheat oven to 350F.
  6. Cook shells and spinach as package labels direct. Drain well.
  7. Reheat sauce if needed. Add shells and spinach.
  8. Turn into 3-quart casserole.
  9. Top with bread crumbs and Cheddar.
  10. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes, or until bubbly and browned.
  11. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.
  12. Makes 8 servings.
  • NOTES

Cecilia’s Salsa

Cecilia Feser, the mother of one of my co-workers at UC Davis, sent us this wonderful concoction on a regular basis and kindly shared her delicious recipe containing several surprising ingredients.

2 – 28 oz cans petite diced tomatoes
1 – 8 oz can El Pato Mexican tomato sauce (has a yellow duck on label)
1 – 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 – 4 oz can green chile
1 pkg taco seasoning
1/2  cup water
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp horseradish
1 bunch cilantro
3 cloves garlic
4-6 green onions

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients except cilantro, garlic & green onions.
  2. Pulse cilantro, garlic & green onions in food processor until tiny pieces.  Mix into tomato mixture.
  • This is a very fresh tasting salsa – I was surprised that she uses canned tomatoes.  The taco seasoning and horseradish were also surprising, but the combination is terrific!