Friday, August 2, 2013

"Food Storage" Crockpot Taco Soup {Using Dry Beans}

Remember when I used the phrase, "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear"?... It was back when I posted one of the reader-favorite recipes on my site: No-Bake "Food Storage" Granola Bars.

Time for another food storage recipe. 

Some of you are probably scratching your heads wondering what the heck I mean when I say, "food storage." (If you already know what I'm talking about, or don't care to find out, just mosey on down to the bottom of this post to the recipe.)

Having "food storage" simply means that I believe in being prepared for adverse situations.

If, heaven-forbid, hard times fell on my my family, or some natural disaster occurred, (Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, the Joplin tornado) and we couldn't buy food from a store for a few weeks we'd be just fine.

Our family makes efforts to be prepared for a "just in case" moment, by having an extra store of food and water on hand, along with a substantial emergency fund. It's likely that our family won't fall on hard times... but having an extra supply of food and money on hand also allows us to be in a position to help other family members, friends, or neighbors, should the need arise.

Really, it's just having good sense, and it brings me great peace of mind.

We store food like wheat, rice, dry pasta, dry beans, dry milk, oats, baking ingredients, and canned goods, to name a few.  I rotate through that food by using it in our regular meals.

Today, the hero is DRY BEANS.

Now, canned beans are fairly cheap, as food goes.

Dry beans, however, are dirt cheap...

Seriously... and they can be stored for 30 years, if properly packaged.


Pretty much everyone has tried (and enjoyed) a good taco soup in this country. Most of the taco soup recipes out there are easy enough, requiring the cook to simply wield a can opener.

This recipe is nearly as easy, healthier (no extra sodium from canned beans), and tastes A. Mazing!

You simply rinse off the beans, pick out any suspicious characters,  and then throw the beans into the crockpot with some water to cook on HIGH for several hours.

In the last hour of cooking, you'll add some ground beef, canned tomatoes, corn, onion, and seasonings to the pot of beans, and let all the flavors just simmer together into deliciousness.

If you want to cut down on the cooking time for the beans, soak them overnight.

There is just something about freshly cooked beans that just makes me smile... what was that thing?...

... Oh, yeah! They taste 100 times better the canned ones... In my humble opinion... which in this case, isn't all that humble, and should probably be recorded into a book as "fact."

Remember the Crockpot Refried Beans?

Yes. 100 times better, for sure.

My family likes to top off this soup with freshly grated cheese, sour cream, chives, or cilantro... and my husband and kids like to eat it with Fritos, but I won't go into how I feel about that... this is supposed to be a positive post, after all.

"Food Storage" Crockpot Taco Soup {With Dry Beans}
Printable Version

*Serves 8-10
** Cook time : approx. 6-7 hours on HIGH and 1 hour on LOW

1/2 cup dry pinto beans, rinsed in hot water
1/2 cup dry black beans, rinsed in hot water
6 cups HOT water

1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (14 oz.) can corn (or 1 1/2 cups frozen)
1 Tbsp. dried minced onion (or 1/2 medium onion, diced)
4 Tbsp. of your favorite homemade taco seasoning (or one pkg.)
1/2 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained (most recipes call for 1 lb. We're not heavy on meat.)
Salt to taste. (We don't use any extra salt)

In a large crockpot, combine the beans and HOT water. It will seem like way too much water, but the beans give the broth for the soup a heartier flavor this way. Cover and cook on HIGH for 6-7 hours, or until beans are soft to your liking. The black beans tend to take a little longer than the pinto beans for me.

Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn, onion, taco seasoning, and cooked ground beef. Cover, and cook on LOW for 1 hour.

Serve as desired with cheese, cliantro, chives, tortilla chips, (okay, okay, or Fritos), and sour cream.

Refrigerate leftovers for 3-4 days, or freeze for 3-4 months.


  1. Yum, we LOVE taco soup although I've never tried it using dried beans. I do cook and freeze my own beans though, does that count? :)

    What is this about kidney beans making you sick? You've got me curious!

    1. Hi Lydia!
      So... Kidney beans, are awesome. Obviously. We love 'em in our family. But I mostly stick to the canned version because I'm just overly paranoid. If you eat kidney beans that haven't been properly cooked, you can introduce some pretty nasty toxins into your body, and have lovely food poisoning on your hands. Of course, many people prepare kidney beans from the dry version without any ill-effects. I've done it myself. It just makes me nervous (for probably no GOOD reason), so I stick to the canned. I didn't mean to sound all "doom and gloom" on the dried version... I'm just a baby about them. :) And of COURSE cooking and freezing your own beans counts. :)

  2. I have yet to make anything from your site that wasn't fantastic. I can't wait to try this.

  3. Sounds delish! I was just wondering if the beans were soaked overnight? I wasn't sure if that just goes with out saying or if it is simply not needed.

    1. You can soak them... I just rinsed them off really well. :)

  4. Mmmm Andrea! You've done it again! This soup was T-A-S-T-Y! I made it yesterday and even my "no-beans-please" husband gobbled it up! I've used so many of your recipes lately in the crockpot or otherwise as we moved and I've needed to fall back on some tried and true, simple, frugal recipes! Thank you thank you!

  5. This looks good. If I wanted to make this with canned beans how many cans do you think I'll need and how will it change the cooking time. What would you say the cost is? I haven't seen cost breakdowns on your recipes lately.

    1. Hi Matthew! Sorry for the lack of cost breakdowns... they are very time consuming, and life has been busy enough that I haven't wanted to allocate my time there. However, looking at the ingredients, and giving my best guesstimate, I would say about $4.00 for the entire recipe... or about $0.50 per serving if you feed 8 people. Also... about 3 cans of beans should do it. :) If you're using cans, the price will be more like $6.50 - $7.00.

  6. I made this a few weeks ago and it was delicious! I would like to make a vegetarian version and use more beans. I was thinking maybe a cup of each. Would that be overkill? Also, would you add more water to accommodate the extra beans?

    1. It depends... a cup of canned or a cup of dried? If you're going to add dry beans, I'd stick with 1/2 cup 1/4 cup of each, and you'd need 1 1/2 cups more water. If it's canned beans, then I wouldn't put in more than 1 additional can. Hope this helps!

    2. I meant dried, sorry. Should have been more clear. Thanks for the guidance! I'll let you know how it turns out.


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