Taco soup is known for being a quick meal to throw together. Most people make it by dumping some canned goods into a pot with some meat and spices. I’m all for a quick meal, but I do mine a little different than most people.
And the best part is it’s even cheaper than the can-dump version. And better for you too!
But money and health aren’t the actual reasons why I started doing my taco soup like this. The main reason is that canned beans have a tendency to gross me out. I’m just not a big fan of that slimy liquid that accompanies canned beans.
If you’ve never cooked dry beans before you,ll notice that the price difference is pretty significant. Canned beans are actually pretty expensive for what they are. Dry beans are super cheap, especially when you buy them in bulk. Cooking your own dry beans is as easy as can be. I do it in my crock pot like this. The best part is there’s no yucky slime!
The only drawback with cooking your own beans is that it takes time. But don’t worry, I’ve figured that one out too. I cook beans in big batches, then freeze them in the quantities that I will be using. When I have menu planned, I grab them out of the freezer in the morning to thaw. When I’m flying by the seat of my pants (which is not uncommon around here), I just toss the frozen chunk of beans in the pot where it will thaw in no time.
We usually eat beans on the day that I cook them, since they’re already warm. On this day, I had just cooked a big ol’ crock pot of pinto beans. I added some warm pinto beans to our taco soup and froze the rest. As you can see in the picture, the black beans are curiously shaped as if they were frozen in a quart-size ziplock bag.
Another way to keep the cost super low is to not add meat. With beans, you’re getting lots of protein (fiber and antioxidants too), so save the meat for another meal and make this one super frugal.
Going along with my Frugal Food Friday series where I share what we eat on a $300/month grocery budget for our family of six, I will tell you how to make my taco soup, but won’t give a “recipe” since I don’t use one. And trust me, you can’t mess this one up even if you try!
- pinto beans
- black beans
- frozen corn
- tomato puree (You can read about how and why we bottle our tomatoes like this)
- dehydrated onion (Of course fresh is fine, but dehydrated is faster and tear-free.)
- taco seasoning (It is TACO soup, after all)
- other seasonings to taste (salt, garlic, cumin, etc)
Put it all in a pot and heat until hot. Add additional seasonings to taste.
See– I told you it was easy.
To serve, I like to add some cheese and sour cream. Cheese takes everything up a notch, though it would be more frugal without it. If we have tortilla chips around, we break them out for taco soup. Cornbread is another good option.
There you have it! Taco soup that is still quick and easy, only it’s cheaper and healthier than the can version!
How about you?
- How do you take advantage of beans in your frugal menu?