Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Beef Taco Skillet

Happy new year, and best wishes for a prosperous 2008 to one and all. One of my resolutions for the year is to update this blog more often. (I know, you’re saying, “Could you possibly set the bar any lower, Amy?”) My apologies for my lackadaisical performance. Especially since the recipes show no sign of going away.

I came across this recipe for Beef Taco Skillet in the latest issue of Everyday Food. I could hardly have been more surprised if you had smacked me in the face with a flounder. Everyday Food is a Martha Stewart magazine, and its offerings are usually a lot better than this one. Of course, Beef Taco Skillet is not a recipe from the magazine; it’s from an ad for Campbell’s Soup. I suppose the editors can’t be too strict about what they accept from their advertisers, or they wouldn’t be able to run ads for much more than olive oil and Quaker Oats.

I love Everyday Food. The recipes are all winners, not just in appearance and flavor but in ease of preparation. All throughout the magazine you see beautiful images of fish with chunks of avocadoes, chicken with matchstick peppers and cucumbers, and steamed red potatoes with thyme. In this context, Beef Taco Skillet looks like a pan of Hamburger Helper sneaking in under the radar:

Not too encouraging, is it? Now I must confess that I am a snob about cooking with canned soup. I just don’t do it. When I eat canned soup I prefer Progresso or a number of organic varieties to Campbell’s condensed, but more often I make my own from scratch, which requires more time than skill. It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down to a bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup, and I don’t remember ever thinking, “wouldn’t this be yummy with hamburger and wilted tortillas?”

If you want a Mexican-style skillet supper, my recommendation would be to skip the soup, double the salsa (a good fresh pico de gallo rather than a jarred variety), throw in some chopped peppers and onions, and serve the tortillas whole and warmed on the side for dipping and wrapping, Or you could use good corn chips. They can’t be any saltier than the soup would have been.

Beef Taco Skillet
Campbell’s make in minutes
Prep: 5 min. Cook: 20 min.

1 lb. ground beef
1 can (10 ¾ oz.) Campbell’s Tomato Soup (Regular or 25% Less Sodium)
½ cup salsa
½ cup water
6 flour tortillas (6 inches), cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1. Cook beef in 10-inch skillet until well browned, stirring to break up meat. Pour off fat.
2. Stir in soup, salsa, water and tortillas. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 min. Stir. Top with cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Creamy Mexican Fiesta: Stir in ½ cup sour cream with soup.
Ranchero Style: Use corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas and shredded Mexican cheese blend instead of Cheddar.

From Campbell’s Soup ad in Everyday Food, Jan/Feb 2008.


sally said...

"shredded Mexican cheese blend" Though I do tend to have an issue with soggy tortillas of any kind, that was the descriptor that got me. I shudder to think what they have blended.

Scott Bateman said...

@Sally: they use every part of the cheese.

Lidian said...

Lovely, just lovely. Reminds me of Hamburger Helper, which my moter used to foist on us quite a bit.

I came upon your wonderful blog while looking for other people who adore old weird cookbooks and horrifying vintage recipes - and I linked you, hope you don't mind! Am just starting out, but have been collecting vintage/retro cookbooks for 20-odd (as it were!) years.

Lidian said...

Mother, is what I meant to type, not moter. Because I don't even know what a moter is, much less have one.

Celia Pleete said...

Your blog is excellent. I'm linking it to mine - I've also been collecting creepy recipes for many moons, and it's great to have kindred spirits out there in Internet Land.

Anonymous said...

I hate all kinds of insta-soup made recipes. However, I've made this and it doesn't taste anything like hamburger helper. I'm ashamed to admit, it's a total junk food addiction once you wrap your lips around it. I've made it several times, in the privacy of my own home, with the shades down and the music on high.