Dec 14, 2010

Because It's Cold

I'm basically a soup nut. Anyone in my family will vouch for this, seeing as my favorite food growing up was my Grandma Jo's homemade vegetable soup (strangely containing beef...). There is just something so cozy and comforting to me about sitting down with a steaming bowl of soup and a small spoon (another quirk, I hate soup spoons. We'll leave that for another time). But aside from this love of soup, I am also cold. Always. Well, aside from two weeks ago when I was on a Caribbean cruise. So needless to say, between my fond childhood memories and the desire for warmth, soup is a big hit in this house.

On the way home tonight, I heard that the "feels like" temperature for tomorrow morning is -4 degrees F. Yikes. That settles it. Time for soup.

This one is so easy that I had to post it. It's one of those "one dish wonders" as I like to say, where you barely have any dishes to take care of once dinner is prepared. The prep is minimal so it isn't a huge time constraint, which is always a plus. I don't usually go for the open-can-make-recipe types, but this tastes good. Period.

Santa Fe Soup

1 lb hamburger
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes (my recipe suggests Rotel, but I just use regular Hunt's, better yet the fire roasted if I can get my hands on them)
1 can chili beans (your desired spiciness)
1 can whole kernel corn
1 tbsp chili powder
1/4 to 1/3 lb velveeta mexican cheese ("cheese" used loosely...)
1/2 c ketchup
1/2 c water
1 tsp garlic powder
Cayenne to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown beef with onion, season with salt and pepper; drain fat (this will cause your house to smell like a diner, which isn't the worst thing). Add tomatoes, corn, and chili beans (with liquid) to pot. Also add chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne as desired, ketchup, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. While simmering, add cubes of velveeta cheese until the desired consistency and flavor is achieved.

A few notes: cook all of this in the same pot and save yourself a few dishes. Remember that "spicy" seasonings tend to grow as you simmer, so taste and adjust the flavor after the soup has been simmering a while. Also, the original recipe calls for a pound of velveeta which I find to be overkill. I used 1/4 lb cut in small cubes (melts faster) and it gave the soup good flavor, color, and consistency. I normally object to velveeta but it works well here. Use your judgement.