Soups and Breads that Love Them

When I woke this morning the temperature was much below my comfort level. Not much of a sunrise either, replaced by a cloudy, dreary dawn: the kind of day that begs for hot soup. I pulled my robe tighter and as I settled into my daily routine, my catalogue of soup recipes started pestering me: each one arguing its case to create a hot, vibrant antidote to such a colorless day. The best persuasion came from one of my favorites: Taco Soup. The list of ingredients may seem long, but the soup is quick and easy to assemble, plus most of the ingredients are just lingering in my pantry. Now I should decide a bread accomplice. Cornbread seems like an acceptable partner, but I want to enhance the conventional muffin adding a touch of spiciness and a boost of heartiness. My Creamed Cornbread fit the bill to a tee. Both soup and bread are a matchmakers dream, a communion of kindred spirits.

Taco Soup

Nothing tastes better on a cold winter day than this super easy soup. If you can operate a can opener, you can make this soup. Dress it up as you would tacos with chopped tomatoes, sour cream, grated cheese, sliced olives or any garnish you might dare dream up.
8-10 servings
1 pound extra lean ground sirloin (or ground round)
2 large onions, chopped# (2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, crushed (1 teaspoon)
1 package (1.25-ounce) dry taco seasoning mix
1 can (14-ounce) Rotel® tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14-ounce) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 can (4.5 ounce) chopped green chilies
1 can (6-ounce) tomato paste
1 package (1-ounce) dry ranch salad dressing mix
1 can (8-ounce) cream style corn
1 can (15-ounce) whole corn
1 can (14-ounce) chicken broth
2 cans (15-ounce each) Ranch Style Texas beans, undrained
1 cup (8-ounces) sour cream (for garnish)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese (for garnish)
1. Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat and brown the meat until it sizzles, and browns breaking apart with a fork as it cooks. Drain off fat.
2. Add the onions and garlic and cook until onions soften, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add taco seasoning.
3. In a mixing bowl, stir together Rotel tomatoes (for milder soup substitute mild Rotel tomatoes), stewed tomatoes, chilies, tomato paste, and ranch dressing, breaking the tomatoes into smaller pieces with a fork.
4. Stir tomato mixture into the meat until thoroughly mixed. Add the corns, chicken broth and beans. Mix together and heat through over medium-high heat.
5. Serve hot; garnish with 1-tablespoon sour cream and cheese, if desired. Soup will keep refrigerated 4-5 days or freeze up to 3 months.

Creamed Cornbread

The perfect partner to any hot soup.

18 medium muffins
2 cups self-rising cornmeal mix
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, melted
1 can (8 ounces) creamed corn
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375*.
2. Measure all ingredients into a large mixing bowl; mix together just until moistened.
3. Divide evenly among greased medium (2-inch) muffin cups.
4. Bake 18-22 minutes or until center is of each muffin is peaked and golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for 2 minutes. Tip each muffin on its side in the muffin cup to keep warm without getting soggy a soggy bottom. Nobody likes a soggy bottom.


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