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.


Southwest Egg Rolls

from Marissa Davis Hefner

1 avocado, mashed
1/2 cup ranch dressing
2 chicken breast halves, chopped
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp taco seasoning (or more to taste)
2 Tbsp minced green onions
1 can corn
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 Tbsp diced canned jalapeno peppers (optional)
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2  cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1 pkg egg roll wrappers
oil for frying


  1. Combine avocado & ranch dressing.  Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken, sprinkle with taco seasoning, and cook until done.
  3. Add salt, green onion, jalapeno, corn, cilantro, beans and spinach.  Cook for about 3 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in cheese.  Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.
  5. Set egg roll wrapper in front of you, with the corner pointing towards you.  Spoon about 2 Tbsp filling onto the center of each egg roll wrapper. Fold bottom corner up, then each side.  Use your finger or pastry brush to lightly dab water onto the top corner, then finish rolling up.
  6. Preheat 4-6 cups of oil to 375 degrees.
  7. Deep fry the egg rolls in the hot oil for 3-5 minutes (or until golden brown) and remove to paper towels or a rack to drain for about 2 minutes.
  8. Serve with avocado sauce.
  • This recipe is similar to Chili’s egg rolls, which are a family favorite.  I prefer egg roll wrappers, but feel free to use flour tortillas instead; just remember to increase the frying time.
  • Filling is also good for enchiladas or an enchilada casserole, layered with corn tortillas and green enchilada sauce.

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


  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!