easy dinner

i wasn’t in the mood to make an event of dinner so i threw together taco soup.  this is a go-to recipe when i’m not feeling creative, and we love it in this house.  i hope we’re enjoying a few of our last cold days here in kc, and i’ll happily table my favorite soup recipe until the fall.

taco soup

1 lb ground beef
1/2 small onion, diced
1 can ro-tel
1 can black beans
1 can sweet corn
1 32 oz bottle v8
1 pkg taco seasoning
brown ground beef.  once beef is cooked, add diced onion and cook until onion is softened.  add remaining ingredients.  bring the soup to a boil and then bring down to a simmer for 1 – 2 hours.

mama’s marinara

my husband is a self-proclaimed spaghetti connoisseur – and by that, i mean he ate it four nights a week when he was in law school.  hey, pasta and a jar of ragu is cheap, people!  shockingly, he still loves it.  that said, i wanted to make a more grown up version of his favorite meal and that led me to create this marinara recipe, which i must say, turned out pretty darn well.

mama’s marinara

1 – 2 T olive oil

1/2 small onion, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

2 T dried oregano

4 T chopped fresh basil OR 2 T dried basil

2 cloves garlic

pinch crushed red pepper (can omit if you don’t like it spicy)

1 large can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes

1/2 can tomato paste

salt and pepper to taste

warm the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion, red bell pepper, oregano, basil, garlic, and crushed red pepper until the onion and pepper soften a bit (10 – 15 min).  add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste and let simmer over low heat for 1 – 2 hours, stirring every once in a while.  a lot of times, i purchase pre-cooked meatballs (scimeca’s if you’re in kansas city) and add them after the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste – these impart a lot of great flavor to the sauce.

*update:  i have been adding about 1/4 c of carrot puree (steam some carrots and give them a whirl in the food processor) to this recipe.  you can’t really taste them, but it’s a great way to add another veggie.