Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Crock Pot Beef tacos and Taco Soup :: 2-for-1

I've gotta say, your collective encouragement for the Dinnertime Experiment may be just what I needed to ratchet up my crazy. You guys are the best kind of trouble.

Also, I want to reassure everyone (myself especially) that I'll continue to have more to talk about than food. I have some major stuff brewing in my noggin. I get this way, and I always know when it's happening. I've been doing a lot of reading and reading = soul stretching for me. And you = the bearer of the fall-out of said soul stretching. So, I'm sorry, or congratulations, or something. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, back at the camp, I'm getting ready to take Silas to the mall.

Let's pause for a moment of silent prayer.


Thank you. It has to be done. Cannot be avoided.
I'm going to some fancy meetings this weekend and I waited until last night to shop my closet. Here's what I discovered, to my disdain: Wide leg khakis that I can no longer button, a super cute oxford skirt with a small stain that used to sit at my hips but now squeezes the life from my "natural waist", and the trouser jeans I bought for my 10 year high school reunion. Over 9 years ago.

I haven't bought professional clothes since, oh, 2003. Most of what I still have heralds from my Enterprise Rant-A-Car days, circa '01.

It's a problem.

The good news is, much of what I bought back then still strangely works, in theory.
The bad news is, it no longer works on non-theoretical me.
The other bad news is, I'm not a girl who can walk into a story and buy cute pants. Because I'm probably taller than your dad. And as wide as your pre-teen boy.
It's complicated.

But we're venturing out, because, you know, there's nothing more fun for a four year old than shopping business casual with his mom.

For the rest of you more normal people with more sensible goals for the day, I bring you Dinner and Lunch. A double doozy!

In addition to my self-imposed dinnertime mayhem, I put a few things on the menu to create a decent, actual lunch for myself. It doesn't happen often enough, but it's important for my sanity.

This is one of my family's favorite dinners and the left-overs make one of my favorite lunches.

Dinner: Crock-pot shredded beef tacos

These tacos. They're so limey and tender and spectacular. My little people go maniacal for them. I recommend an extra squeeze of lime when you serve them and some chopped cilantro.

Lunch: Beef taco soup

 I made this recipe up, because that's just how cheffy I am.

When you're done with the tacos, you'll still have a few inches of brothy beef scraps in the bottom of your crock pot. (Does that sound gross? It's not.)

At first you'll think of throwing it down the sink, but then your good sense will return and you'll save it in a tupperware bowl in the fridge.

The next day, you will be pleased to see that the fat has hardened into a solid layer on the top, so you will scrape it off into the trash and feel fantastic about the ultra-lean soup you're about to prepare. (You will also feel slightly troubled by the full-fat tacos you ate the night before. Push through.)

Throw what's left into a sauce pan, along with a can of corn (drained), a can of diced tomatoes with chilis (like Rotel...or this time I used the Rotel with lime and cilantro seasoning), and a can of rinsed and drained black beans.

Simmer for a while to let everything mix and mingle.

I squeeze in the juice of half a lime and some torn cilantro. If we have left-over Spanish rice, I also add some of that at the end.

Before serving, chop up some avocado. Do you have lonely spinach in the crisper? Throw it in.

I cannot even tell you how wonderful and easy this is.


Everyone wins!


  1. Cheffy?
    I love that : )
    Have fun at the mall.

  2. These photos are mouth watering.

    I love beef taco anything.. Mmmm :)

    I make a taco soup as well. Different every time! I too throw stuff into a pot in a "cheffy" manner! I always forget how I make it and have to wing it every time. Does that ever happen to you?

  3. Um, yes. This is my kind of recipe. I'm also rocking a recipe today, because I've been in this terrible cooking slump, as in I'm ruining everything I attempt to cook. The future fate of my very hungry family is dim or grim...whatever. It's not good. Last night, I made mac & cheese from a box, because I didn't trust myself with real food. It's gotten that bad and I'm praying this funk doesn't last. My family is praying more.

    Here's my recipe if you dare - Steak Roll-Ups (with the cheapest steak you can find). http://thedomesticfringe.com/recipe-steak-roll-ups/

    I actually thought that I need to buy some dress pants. Do they call them slacks still? I don't even know. It's been that long. I have nothing appropriate for anything more than a day at the park or someplace a maxi dress is appropriate. Goodness.

    I will say a prayer for you and Silas. Promise. All the best to you my friend. I have my own pants issues, but they are opposite from yours...think average height with excessively chubby thighs. Ok, on second thought, don't think about it.


  4. Olá Shannan,
    I'm from Brazil and i just spend hours reading your blog, your history, i'm mean, your amazing and inspired history. So glad when a find such a blessing person like you in the world. Sorry for my poor english, i just wanna say how amazing i think you are :)
    Sending blessing for all your beautiful family. Fiquem com Deus!!!
    Kisses from Brazil.

  5. Good luck with the mall. Girl. You have LOST your mind. There is no way you are talking me into taking the Keekster to the mall.

    Dinner? Sweet lands. You got my mouth watering at ten thirty in the ayem. Practically a crime.

    I love thee near and far.


  6. These look awesome! My hubs and I can't get enough of Mexican lately...and I almost never have anything good around for lunch...so bonus! Hope your shopping trip turned out in your favor with a happy boy in tow!

  7. I'm desperate for easy, quick meals given my kids afternoon sports schedules and my complete lack of kitchen savvy. These look fab! You may have rescued us from a future of frozen stuffed shells and pancakes for dinner.

  8. I can honestly say I've never wanted tacos for breakfast until today.
    Prayers for your mall trip, Farmgirl.
    You are a brave soul.

  9. Yum! Guess what I just tossed in the crock pot :) Tacos are my faaaaaavorite and I have been in such a soup and stew mood to boot, thanks for the inspiration!!

  10. Hey I love reading your blog it is so sweet and encouraging!

    I am also super tall and thin with the hips of a thirteen year old boy.... I know your pain. Shopping for dress pants is no fun.

    But, if you can look past all the junk they sell/promote
    the best jeans and work pants ever come from V. Secret

    They come in long sizes like a 36" inseam (hallelujah) and they are not super pricey, and you order them online.

    The Accidental HouseWife

  11. And now that my mouth is salivating!...we readers need your recipe for crock pot beef tacos!

    1. angie,
      You can find the recipe if you click on the link that's labeled "Via" underneath the taco picture!
      Looks like a yummy recipe and works perfectly with my refusal to use the oven in this blasted heat!

  12. Yum! Tacos! I'm taking notes...keep it coming. And whatever else you've got rattling around in your head. :)

  13. Update: I pair of black "ankle" pants that are more "cropped" on me. $30!
    And a polo for the Chaplain for $7.99 at GAP.

    Silas = a gem!

    He was rewarded with a new night light since he took his previous one apart.

    Think I can rock some pinstripes with my crops??? Say yes.

  14. Pant shopping is so traumatizing. Glad you were successful! I love that cropped pants are in style because the tall folks in the crowd (raises hand) can just buy regular pants. Win!

  15. So hungry. I'm putting tacos on my list for this weekend - or soonish.
    I haven't bought professional clothes in about 5ish years - but even then I was an elementary teacher so I use the word "professional clothes" loosely.
    My problem is my hair - I want to get it style like I wore it about 2002-2004 - flat iron and flipped it out all over the place in - think Meg Ryan-esque (only it was my hair so it wasn't thick and quite so lovely). It was my favorite hair style. On bad hair days I want to get out my hair goop and just go for it. 2002 was a good hair year for me.

    1. Why aren't you rocking 2002? There's no good reason for it! My hair circa 2002 is now all the rage again, courtesy of Kelly Ripa. I might go back, myself!

  16. Oh good gravy. My mouth is watering and my tummy is grumbling. All I had for dinner was a bowl of cereal because my hubby is away on business and we had to high tail it to ballet and plus it's 4000 degrees outside. Now all I want is shredded beef tacos. I'll be enjoying your recipe free for all. I have also been in new recipe cooking mode which is weird because of the aforementioned 4000 degree temps.

  17. (So I want to leave you a comment, but am still in this strange/quiet phase, so in keeping with said phase...)

    2 for 1 Taco Recipes.

    THANK YOU! :)

  18. Wow, there must be something in the air! Or maybe it's just us mamas coming down from the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants haphazard ways of summer, you know? Like, it's 5:45, you finally admit that everyone is getting hungry and that you're going to have to come up with something, so you. . .come up with something. A salad? Sandwiches with fruit and sliced tomatoes on the side? It's all good because there's summer produce on the counter, but still. It just feels so unplanned. So maybe it's just that after a few months of that there are many of us feeling the need to bring the dinner thing back under control. But the point is, I did this exact same thing 2 weeks ago! Mine was in a notebook instead of on a legal pad, but still! Analog all the way! A written list of meals I could make for a month. . .except mine are ALL tried and true, no new ones thrown in. I don't know about your people, but my girls are on a bad streak of hating pretty much everything new and inventive that I try. So I felt the need to stick with stuff that will allow me to say: "you've been eating this since you were 2! Do not tell me you don't like it because I know you do!" Awesome, huh? But the point is, I'm going to have to sneak this one new one in there--those tacos look AMAZING. The recipe for the meat looks so perfect. So I'm going to take the gamble that it will be acceptable to the two little girls--it just looks too good to pass up! Thanks for sharing. And YES YES YES to more sharing of recipes and how they worked out! I know there are a million food blogs out there that I can visit for dinner inspiration. But sometimes a girl just wants to see what another normal, non-chef mama is making. . .stuff that's relatively easy and that doesn't have a mile-long list of expensive ingredients, you know? So yes! Share!

  19. "because that's just how cheffy I am" -

    I so dig you.

  20. just took a peek at "how to walk to school" this book looks like it might be right up my alley :
    i am a kids hope usa director for our local elementary school/partnered with our church...
    our little town needs so much love! i may just have to order this book...
    your blog is dangerous! i want to read all the books! (buy all the books/i'm happy to borrow from the library or friends, but...) i must have the wrong friends (jk) they don't have the right books!

  21. looks so yummy!

    randomest question. but do you know the font on your blog? the one that is what YOU type in your posts? it's so easy for my eyes to read and i'd love to know!

  22. Love this - the whole thing... and those recipes? Just in time for my grocery list! Awesome sauce!

  23. Love the recipes! Thank you!

    By the way, I am also quite tall and quite narrow, so I feel your shopping pain. In fact, when I was pregnant, my mother-in-law's favorite thing to say was that I looked like a string with a knot in it. (And apparently she thought I liked hearing it because she said it over and over and over again. FYI: I did not like hearing it.) So if you find a good place to buy or order clothes, would you please share? That would make my day. Along with a large plate of those tacos. :)

  24. how tall are you, squirrel?

    oh, have I never called you a nick name? did I forget to tell you that I do this with friends?

    I do. And you for some reason tonight are squirrel.

    you and I both have major crushes on mexican food. the end.