taco soup

     This recipe was given to me by my mom and as my brother-in-law Steve said, it is probably one of the best soups she has ever made. And that's a BIG statement to make, considering that she is the reining Gravy Queen, Monarch of all things edible and liquid... like gravies, broth and soups.
     Surprisingly enough, I didn't need to fix this recipe... which, if you know me, you know I feel the need to make changes most of the time. This recipe remains exactly how she gave it to me.
     It doesn't contain meat and can be a vegetarian dish if you switch the chicken broth with vegetable broth or mushroom broth. The secret to the creamy texture is refried beans! It gives the soup a rich, velvety consistency, seemingly decadent without the guilt!
     This soup originated as a Weight Watcher recipe. My mom sometimes adds brown rice under it and low fat cheddar cheese over it.
     Pair the soup with a big green salad and you're good to go! For those of you in a frigid climate, this will warm the cockles of your heart all the way to your toes... whatever cockles are!
1 T. (or less) olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 can fat free refried beans
1 - 15 oz. can chicken or veggie broth, preferably homemade
1 -15 oz can petite diced tomatoes w/ juice
1 can tomatoes and green chilies w/ juice
1 can black beans, undrained
1 can great northern or navy beans, undrained
1 # bag, frozen kernel corn, or 1 can kernel corn, drained
salt and pepper to taste
Saute' onion in oil until soft and golden. Add refried beans, mash to soften. Sprinkle with taco seasoning.
Slowly add broth, breaking up and incorporating refried beans, until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and season to taste. Simmer for 30- 40 minutes.
Top soup with cheddar cheese, if desired. Brown rice underneath is good, also! I've added a dollop of low fat sour cream or Greek yogurt to the top on occasion.
(It is a tiny bit spicy. If you wish, exchange tomatoes and green chilies for another can of diced tomatoes to lose the heat.) Enjoy!

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