H 'invented' a taco soup that is dead simple, but surprisingly good. Brown two pounds ground beef* (or turkey or chicken or whatever protein you want); add taco seasoning (make your own with this quick recipe that you don't have to mix up in advance), a quart of good beef stock, and simmer for about 15 minutes to bring it all up to temperature and at the last minute throw in some corn (I cut the kernels off the cobs of two leftover from the previous night's grill-out). If the corn is frozen, obviously do this more than a minute from the end so it's not still frozen. My kids like this as is with some grated cheese on it (which is where H's rendition ends), but I garnish mine and J's with sliced avocado, cilantro, a little cheese and (if I have the foresight) the chili-lime crunchies from this Iowa Girl Eat's burger recipe. If you don't include the corn crunchies, as I did not last night, it's still a good and really filling soup that takes no time and the whole family likes it.
As I was making my meal plan for the week on Sunday night, I asked J if he had any requests for main dishes or sides and he mentioned a bread salad I'd made earlier in the summer. While waiting for my car to get washed I'd seen it in O magazine and snapped a photo of the recipe, made it that night and we loved it, but just kind of forgot about it after that.
Warm Bread Salad with Tomatoes
Total time: 30 minutes
In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add baguette pieces and sauté until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low, add red onion, and sauté 1 minute, then add 2 cups tomatoes. Add vinegar and remove from heat. Add basil, capers, and remaining tomatoes and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with basil leaves and serve immediately.
Adapted from I Love New York: Ingredients and Recipes
What changes (if any) are you making to inject a little change into your ho-hum menus? What do you have planned for this week?
*I'm so glad we invested in the half of a cow from my cousin and his wife this Spring. While our freezer was almost overwhelmingly full of beef at first, it's gotten to a manageable level after a summer of grilling burgers and steaks and I have room to start making some freezer meals again. If you're interested in purchasing bulk meat, one thing to consider is the huge savings you'll get on the premium cuts: a big 100% grass-fed, organic Prime Rib for under $4 a pound? Yes, please!