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Challenge: Healthy Swaps

Taco Soup

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You’d think that a recipe for Taco Soup would be a Southwestern original, right? So, the last place I expected to find a scrumptious Taco Soup recipe was from a fundraising cookbook in Oskaloosa, Kansas. But I did and I love it! You see, the Jefferson County Humane Society in Oskaloosa meets at 7pm on the third Tuesday of each month. Apparently during one of those evening meetings, the idea was born to produce the Jefferson County Humane Society Cookbook. It’s got everything from dishes humans would love like the Fastest Cake In The West and Taco Soup to munchies like Homemade Kitty Yum Yums and Peanut Butter Doggie Biscuits. My kind of cookbook for taming the hungry beast in man and man’s best friend! This Taco Soup recipe is as easy as it gets and a great choice to put on the table in no time. It’s delicious with either ground beef or turkey, and you can kick up the flavor by adding more chiles. The recipe calls for two packets---a taco seasoning mix and the Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix. I found the Ranch Dressing mix in a Fiesta variety and that added just the right pop of cumin to the soup. I found that with these two packets, I didn’t need any extra salt or pepper. So once you add the ingredients to the pot and heat it up, it’s ready to go! For me it’s a new quick and easy favorite and to that I say, Oskaloosa Ole!

Taco Soup


  • 2 pounds ground beef or use ground turkey for a healthy swap!
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix
  • 1 can (16 ounces) chili beans, not drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, not drained
  • 1 can (15-¼ ounces) whole kernel corn, not drained
  • 1 can (14-½ ounces) stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can (10 ounces) diced tomato with green chilies
  • 1 can (4.5 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 2 fresh Anaheim chiles, roasted, skinned and chopped (Optional)
  • Flour or corn fresh tortillas for garnish (or use chips)


  1. In a Dutch oven, sauté onion in olive oil until soft and golden brown.
  2. Add garlic and cook for another few minutes.
  3. Add beef or turkey and cook until browned.
  4. Drain fat if there is an excess.
  5. Add taco seasoning and ranch dressing packets and mix well.
  6. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
  7. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat.
  8. Simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes.
  9. If soup is too thick, add a little water to thin out.
  10. Recipe yields about 2 quarts. Makes about 8 (1 ½) cup servings
  11. For the tortilla garnish: Heat about ½ cup vegetable oil in skillet. Slice 4 medium tortillas into thin strips. Carefully add them to the hot oil and cook for 1-2 minutes until strips are golden brown. Drain on paper towel. Sprinkle on top of soup.

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