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Taco Soup – My Go-To Meal

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I try to always keep ingredients on hand for a couple meals – my go-to meals – which can mean the difference between take-out pizza or a home-cooked meal. One of my go-to meals is Taco Soup – I’m sure you’ve heard of it. Everyone loves it. It’s quick and easy. The ingredients are easy to keep! And I can cook it in a pinch (as long as I have beans in my freezer). It used to be my “open can and dump” meal. Now that I don’t use much canned food it’s a bit less convenient, but as long as my freezer is well stocked, it still makes a delicious go-to meal. If you don’t like to use canned food, you can still make Taco Soup, with this easy recipe that doesn’t use cans!

Taco soup. A one pot meal that's on the table in under 30 minutes. I always have the ingredients on hand for this easy and delicious meal. {from SimplifyLiveLove.com}

Taco Soup – My Go-To Meal

Taco Soup – My Go-To Meal

Taco Soup – My Go-To Meal


  • One pound ground beef
  • 24 ounces crushed tomatoes (I used one quart home-canned)
  • 6 cups beans, any combination of kidney, red, or black (the equivalent of 3 cans), undrained (I cook and freeze dried beans)
  • 2 - 4 cups corn (equivalent of 1-2 cans - but I use one quart home-frozen)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (I buy mine in bulk from Sam's Club - MSG-free)
  • 1 packet ranch dressing mix (Watch out for MSG here, too. I have to find a new option, so if you know of an MSG-free variety, let me know)

For garnish

  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Organic tortilla chips
  • Sliced jalepenos or banana peppers
  • Sour cream


  1. Brown the ground beef. Make sure to cook it thoroughly, until beef is completely brown and the internal temperature has reached 160 degrees (to kill any possible e coli)
  2. Dump tomatoes, beans, corn into the pot after the ground beef is cooked.
  3. And seasoning.
  4. Cook until warm!
  5. Garnish with your choice of extras.
  6. Enjoy.

Instead of store bought canned food,  I use one quart of home-canned crushed tomatoes, frozen corn, and beans that I cook in bulk and freeze in large quantities.  Served with homemade corn bread and a salad, I love that I can have this easy to prepare and delicious meal on the table in under 30 minutes! Yum YUM!!

Taco soup. A one pot meal that's on the table in under 20 minutes. I always have the ingredients on hand for this easy and delicious meal. from SimplifyLiveLove

By the way, you can also make this healthy soup in the slow cooker! I don’t normally, but sometimes it’s more handy. You can see the slow cooker recipe for Taco Soup here.

Having ingredients for go-to meals on hand helps me keep my grocery budget low and healthy food in our bellies. Do you have a go-to meal? I’d love to know what it is.

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About Michelle

Michelle Marine is green living enthusiast and rural Iowa mom of four. An avid traveler, Michelle has lived on three different continents and has driven all four kids across the entire USA (by herself!). She loves sharing farm-to-table recipes, their family travel adventures, and gardening and homesteading tips on her popular lifestyle blog, SimplifyLiveLove.com.


  1. Robin H says

    I love your taco soup! I need to start cooking and freezing dried beans too… it’s on my list! Do you soak and simmer your beans? Crock pot? Pressure cooker? Please share! 😉

    • Michelle says

      Sometimes I soak overnight and simmer, but I prefer the rapid soak – Rinse and sort beans, cover with water, bring to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute. Then, cover the pot and let the beans sit in the water for 1 hour. Drain, add new water, simmer until done. Usually, 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

      • Lisa says

        I just bought dried pinto, kidney, and black beans to try cooking for the first time. I read on one of your recipes that you cook your beans separately because different kinds cook differently. Makes sense. Do you add any type of seasonings along with the beans and water when cooking? When you freeze them, do you include any liquid or just drained beans? Thanks!

        • Michelle Marine says

          Hi Lisa, I don’t add seasoning when I’m cooking beans for freezing, but I do have to add extra salt to recipes that use those beans because canned beans are very salty. Yes, I do include liquid when I freeze them. I don’t have exact amounts, but if you picture what you get out of a can of beans, that’s about what it amounts to! 🙂

          • Lisa says

            Thanks for the tips. I successfully cooked black and pinto beans today, and I made taco soup for supper using those beans, a can of kidney beans, and homemade taco and ranch seasoning mixes. I don’t usually love taco soup, but this was delicious! Definitely adding it to the “keep” binder.

  2. Lisa says

    I make this recipe on occasion! Got it from a friend in Okinawa, the one I worked with at Kadena HS, LOVE it 🙂 I don’t add the corn or Matt would not eat it. We put Fritos instead of Tortilla chips and add a can of Ro-Tel and an onion chopped.

  3. Maria says

    Make your own taco seasoning mix:

    1/4 cup dried minced onion
    1/4 cup chili powder
    3 Tbsp salt
    4 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
    1 Tbsp dried minced garlic
    1 Tbsp ground cumin
    1 Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
    2 tsp beef bouillon granules
    1-1/2 tsp dried oregano

    Mix together and put in a tightly sealing container. When ready, add 1 Tbsp of taco seasoning mix to a pound of ground beef, 1/3 cup of water and a can of refried beans (optional). Enjoy!

    I would appreciate knowing of a good healthy alternative to beef bouillon granules if someone knows of one. This is not my recipe but one my family has used for several years. I plan to try freezing my cooked beans. Wonderful idea! I always try to soak them at least overnight and they still taste fine to me to cook them after 2 days of soaking. The germination process makes them easier to digest and removes the phytic acid, I’m told.

    • Michelle says

      Thanks, Maria! I’ll give it a shot. The only alternative I have for beef bouillon granules is just to use homemade beef broth in place of water or other liquid. 🙂

  4. Heidi says

    This recipe looks awesome. Thanks for sharing! I was planning to make this tomorrow and was wondering how many people this recipe will generally feed. I thought I might make extra to share. Thanks!

    • Michelle says

      It feeds our family of 6 with sometimes a bowl extra and sometimes no extras – just depends on how hungry we are, I guess! Hope you like it! 🙂

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