Taco Soup is my favorite soup recipe and one of my absolute favorite crockpot recipes!  Whenever a friend has a baby or is in the hospital we deliver this for the family.  It freezes so well  that I’ve eaten it six months after making a batch. This taco soup recipe is so cheap to make that even a family surviving on food stamps can afford it.  Wondering what food stamps have to do with it?  Read on!

Food stamps are keeping thousands of families in the US from starvation.  Although they’re supposed to supplement a family’s food budget, many people can only afford to use the money they get in food stamps.  The food stamps program is a great resource for struggling families, but is it enough?  That’s what we are going to find out with the United Way Hunger Challenge during Hunger Action Week.

Eric and I qualify for food stamps, we’ve gotten several mailings letting us know that and inviting us to apply for food stamps.  I admit that sometimes I’ve been tempted, and not because we need them.  We eat VERY well on only $100-$150 a month.  I’m incredibly creative with our food budget and have found hundreds of way to save money in that area.

But when I saw that we could basically get handed $60 a week for food, I started thinking, ooh, what could we afford with an extra $150 a month that we weren’t spending on food?  Maybe a car that was more reliable, or finally getting that DSLR I so DESPERATELY want for my food photos, or even a trip somewhere!  Then I laugh at myself realizing I would never take food stamps if I didn’t actually need them to eat.

But what if I did need them?  That’s the premise of the Hunger Challenge.  If our family of two was starting out on food stamps and we had nothing in our pantry except maybe some salt, could we live off of just $61 dollars for a week?  That was the biggest part of the challenge for me, pretending my cupboards of sauces, condiments, and seasonings that I’ve accumulated over the past couple of years were completely bare.

It means that for the first week I have to use a lot of the same ingredients in very creative ways.  It also means that for the most part we’re  just eating 3 meals a day minus the snacks of fruit, nuts, or other treats I like throughout the day.  I could only afford a few apples, oranges and bananas because I had to buy soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, rice, and other staples I’m used to having on hand and only replenishing every six months or so.

I created a menu, and shopping list, went to multiple stores to get the best prices, and am all set to make affordable meals like potato quesadillas and red cabbage salad, a scramble, and taco soup (which will feed us for 3-4 meals!).  I’m looking forward to letting you know how it goes and sharing some more cheap recipes and grocery shopping tips with you.

Crockpot Recipe for Taco Soup

8-10 servings

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef
1 red onion chopped
1 can corn-undrained
1 can black beans-undrained
1 can kidney beans-undrained
2 cans chopped tomatoes with chiles
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 envelope taco seasoning (or 1/4 cup if you get in bulk)

Instructions

Brown beef in a large skillet, when it is close to done add chopped onions and mix well.  Cover and continue to cook until onion is soft.

Dump onion and beef with remaining ingredients into a large crockpot.  Mix well.  Cook on high for 4-6 hours.

Serving options: Mix in grated cheddar and sour cream, sprinkle with broken tortilla chips or use whole chips like spoons.

Approximate cost/serving: The beef was the most expensive ingredient at $1.50, each can is only 50-99 cents.  The whole pot of soup is around $7 to make, at 10 servings it’s only 70 cents a serving, and feeds our family of two multiple times.

Vegetarian/Gluten Free:  I’ve made this meatless before, and it’s still quite tasty!  Read your labels for the taco seasonings, mine is gluten free but that doesn’t guarantee they all are.


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