Ground Beef Recipe: FABULOUS TACO SOUP

First, I'd like to say there are 100's of Taco Soup Recipes out there. Anything from throwing 7 cans in a pot and letting it cook all day to making your own seasonings and using fresh ingredients. With life at such a fast pace these days, crockpots and instapots can be a great help in the kitchen. What makes this recipe so great? It's the lean ground beef (I only use REYER FARMS ground beef) and heirloom tomatoes which I can every summer on our farm.


  • 1 lb REYER FARMS ground beef
  • 1 small onion
  • 3/4 pkg of TACO seasoning
  • 1 pinch of red cayenne pepper
  • 1 can of kernel corn (drained)
  • 1 can of black beans (drained)
  • 1 can of kidney beans (drained)
  • 2 qts of home-canned tomatoes ( I use heirloom) Do NOT drain!
  • water (add if you want to thin the soup)


    Brown onions with ground beef. Beef from our farm is very lean and will not need to be drained! This way you enjoy all the nutrients naturally in the meat. Add taco seasoning and cayenne pepper. Next, add corn, beans and finally tomatoes. Add desired amount of water to thin soup. Cook on stove or in crock pot for 3+ hours. It will be better the longer it cooks so that all the flavors absorb into all the vegetables and beef. Double this recipe for a large family who enjoys leftovers!!

Beef Taquitos: Great New Year's Dish!

All photos on this site are taken of beeves and the beef we raise here at Reyer Farms.

All photos on this site are taken of beeves and the beef we raise here at Reyer Farms.

Taquitos are a favorite in our home. I've prepared these with our top round roast, shish ka bobs, and ground beef. Our favorite are the top round and shish ka bob cuts with this recipe. I beleive these would be great with pork roast also!
Pineywoods Beef Taquitos


  • 20 Flour Tortillas
  • 3-4 tbsp water
  • 1 1/2 - 2 lb of top round, shish ka bob, or ground pineywood beef
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2-4 jalapenos seeds removed and chopped
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp chili pepper powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (or regular paprika will work fine)
  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 2 cups pepper jack cheese grated
  • 2 cups cheedar cheese grated
  • pico or salsa
  • sour cream

Directions for roast

*Season the Roast with salt, chili. cumin, paprika and sear in cast iron skillet with oil add onions and jalapenos. Add garlic just before taking skillet off the eye. Cover and cook in 200 degree oven 6 to 8 hours. (Slower the better. Often I cook in oven over night at 170 degrees)

Directions for Shish ka bob

*Season the ka bobs with salt, chili, cumin, paprika and sear cuts in cast iron skillet with oil add onions and jalapenos. Add garlic just before taking skillet off the eye. Cover and cook slowly in 200 degree oven 2 to 3 hours.

Pull beef apart into small pieces reserving the juices. Add the softened cream cheese and mix well. I add several tbsp of juices back after adding the cream cheese as I see needed. Grab a clean fork and have a taste! If you'd like more salt or other seasonings add them now. Grab tortillas, cheese and water. Add 1-2 tbsp of beef mix to tortilla and generally add cheeses and roll em up! I use water to seal the tortilla so it will not unroll. Roll as many as you would like (fyi: you may refrigerate beef and add to tortillas for lunch the next day). Spray with oil and place in oven on 400 degrees until cheese as melted and tortillas are crisp. Serve with sour cream and pico or salsa!

Other Notes and Ideas: Say you made a big 'pot roast' and have leftovers - these would be super easy for the next day. Just add cheese and roll up in tortilla and pop in the oven.
Let me know what ya think and what you come up with using this recipe!



Beef Taquitos made from our genuine Pineywoods Beef

Beef Taquitos made from our genuine Pineywoods Beef

The Cowboy Ribeye- YEEEHAAAWW!

The Cowboy ribeye is arguably the finest steak cut east of the Mississippi. It is the wonderful balance of taste and texture. A rugged romance on the plate to be enjoyed like a sunset that has fallen head over heels for the plains. As I dry the tear from eye and try to compose myself to explain the mastery of this decadent provision, I wonder why all ribeyes do not grow up to be cowboys. I guess not all have what it takes. The Cowboy is a bone in steak commanding the plate with his presence almost intimidating the other spineless cuts cowering in the corner. The trimmed rib bone detracts from the sensitive fat that is key to the Cowboys heart of gold.  The thing to remember is the Cowboy is unique and true, he cannot be conformed to the whim of social grace. He must be loved for who he is. This is no time for a rub of high society or a marinading of false bravado.  Keep it simple and honest, let the Cowboy do his thing.

  1. Wrangle yourself a Reyer Farms Cowboy ribeye!
  2. Grab your cast iron skillet from the chuck wagon and place on medium heat stove top.
  3. 1 tablespoon of cooking oil goes in that hot (nearly smoking) cast iron skillet.
  4. 1 teaspoon of lemon juice rubbed on the steak.
  5. Using tongs place the fat cap of the ribeye in the skillet and delight in the searing as you notice the time.
  6. After searing the fat cap place the steak in skillet and wait. The steak should stick to the skillet and this good! 
  7. We are only going to flip once, the steak will char and free itself at about the same time the blood begins to pin drop on uncooked side.
  8. Flip it. You have made note of the time when you seared the fat and now cook the other side the same amount of time. Forgot the time? Not a problem, just wait for steak to slide in skillet with gentle pressure.
  9. Steak is now plated to rest for a few moments. This is important! You can now salt and pepper the steak to taste. Dark flavored and richly tender with a delightful crust of contrasting texture destined to make a memory.

Nothing fancy but a wonderful med-rare steak that you will enjoy to the last bite. Let us know how it turned out!




Making Your Own Lard

     In the past lard has had a bad rap.  But I thinks it's making a comeback!  Some folks are clueless as to what lard is or where it comes from and how good it is for you - in moderation of course.  Lard is an excellent choice of cooking fat and has way more nutritional value than vegetable oils we use not so moderately.  Fat from pigs that live on pasture (Like Ours here @ Reyer Farms)  are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D, E, and A.  Not to mention the FLAVOR is there unlike what I'd refer to as 'pushed pork' from thegrocery that has been grown using methods pushing pigs together on concrete to grow fast, fast, fast.  If you are into making things yourself then this is added cool points!!

  • Rendering pork fat at home

  • 1-2 lb pork fat (back or leaf fat) thawed
  • 1/2-1 cup water
  • heavy stock pot or cast iron skillet
  • canning funnel (on standby)
  • fine mesh sieve or small wholed collander  
  • ( line with cheesecloth or coffee filter)
  • jars for storage

Trim any meat off from fat.  Place fat and water (begin with 1/2 cup water) and turn the heat on medium-low to low (depending on your stove).  Cook the fat; kinda simmering the fat.  Stir often and adjust heat as necessary - you don't want it to splatter and pop (like it does with water).  It may take 30 or so for the fat to begin to melt.  If water has already evaporated at this point add more.  (water prevents burning).  Fat will begin to brown and cook down.

When you have 1/2" to 1" of liquid fat strain some out.  Ladle into jars through fine sieve lined with cheesecloth or coffee filter.  Continue cooking and ladling out the liquid as the fat cooks until the remaining fat becomes dark golden brown; then you are finished cooking.  Lard should turn white as it cools.  That dark golden brown remaining are cracklings (see ideas below). 

Place lard in the jars and allow to cool to room temperature.  Store in the freezer (Long, long time), fridge (  or at room temperature if planning to use soon.  

Rendering Fat in a Crockpot

Very similar to stovetop method.

Chop or shread fat add 1/4 cup of water (more if needed later) and turn crockpot on low.  Keep and eye on it and stir often.  Cracklings and fat will begin to seperate in 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Ladle melted fat into a cheese cloth lined sieve or collander. 


Cracklings will be soft golden brown crumbs of deliciousness left after the fat is gone!  Cracklings should remain cooking until crisp.  They can be roasted in oven or in skillet or even in crockpot after fat has been removed.  Cracklings can be added to cornbread, salads, slaw, or a simple snack by it's self. 

Back Fat vs. Leaf Fat

Back fat comes from the back under skin.  Good for rendering but has more of an odor than leaf fat. Also will have more of a yellowish tint after rendering.  Good for frying and cooking

Leaf fat comes from around the kidneys.  It is white white fat and nearly odorless when rendering.  It results in a pure white lard that is best for pie crust and pasteries

1 pound of fat will yield approximately 10 ounces of lard + cracklings! 


Going, Going, Gone 2014

     Time flies by!  It's hard to believe it is already 2015 and nearly March.  Our life on the farm gets better with each year.  Our family is growing and the farm is becoming more and more sustainable.  I've been thinking back on some what are now memories and would like to share a story with you.

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     One warm day in September a friend called to let us know there is an auction in our local area.  Jody was at the farmers market that day and later had plans to finish preparing a chicken tractor with, Chad, my brother-n-law for meat birds arriving the next week, so I knew I was going in alone.  Alone, as in me and two children.  So, we finish chores and things at home then headed to the auction.  Arriving, I was excited to see just what we needed!! Ten hole nesting boxes with perches; there were eight of these.  Did I mention how excited I was! Not sure if anyone else was as excited about them so, I kept the thrill to myself.  Of course, the auction began at the opposite end of the fence from the boxes, I had my eye on so, Butterbean, Tater and I went along, purchased a gate or two and waited patiently for our time to come.

  The crowd began to clear out and finally the call came for the nesting boxes we had been waiting for.  This is when I became nervous, very nervous because this was the first farm auction I've ever participated in my life.  The boxes started at $40!! I said to myself : oh, this is so in our price range.  My enthusiasm rose along with my paper card flapping in the wind. I surveyed the group to notice there was  a challenger !!  He seemed to be just as interested and desperate to keep his excitement bottled as I.  I thought, where did he come from?? He ran the bid up, up, up, up to $65 ABOVE the limit that my husband set to buy these .  Little did I know, he only wanted to purchase one of the eight.  At $40 I would have purchased all or seven or even five.  This guy, he only wanted ONE! By now, I have completely blown the budget and can only afford 2. Five boxes remain that now tote a price similar gold bars. The gentlemen who sold the boxes had a smile ear to ear, as I realized excitement has no place at an auction.  

     My treasure laid there on the gravel as I pondered how I was to load these cumbersome boxes. My two girls were tired and ready to go as much as I was. The Manager of the barn offered to help load the items. I thanked him, buckled the girls into their seats and hurried on our way. 

     I pulled into the driveway to find my brother-in-law was there to help my husband who had not yet arrived. I jumped out the truck eager to vent my frustration to a neutral party. I told him what happened and how I had overpaid and was only able to get two. He reached into the bed of the truck to help unload the boxes and calmly said " there is only one in here." I do not recall any reaction, only ACTION. I ran to the drivers side of the pickup as I gave orders to Anna to stay with Uncle Chad. Tater was with me for moral support as I backtracked my way home searching ditches and the road side. Thoughts of my head on a aluminum foil platter ( because I spent too much for Jody to display me on a silver one) rushed through my mind as I drove. I disobeyed my husband, overpaid for scrap metal, failed to strap the treasure down properly, and had lost half my bounty. 

     As I traveled back to town  my thoughts raced on what could have happened, where could the box have blown out?  And then, I saw..........A little fellow dusting his hands off after loading MY figuratively gold plated, grounds for divorce, nesting box.  I immediately rolled my window down, waved and hollered to get his attention.  I don't remember every seeing someone jump into a tiny truck, back into the hwy and head south quite that fast.  I raced to the next turn to turn around to catch up to the tiny truck that was quickly disappearing  with what seemed to have become a thorn in my side.  At this moment, I realized this could go one of two ways.  I called my husband.  He's not a very understanding man but he  didn't seem too mad or surprised.  My brother-in-law must have caught him up on what was going on.  Jody advised me to forget the box and come on home.  I guess it's the whole two wrongs don't make a right thing but if I was better at addition, I wouldn't be in this predicament to begin with so, I knew to make it right I had to get the box back.   He will forgive me, I hoped.  We persisted with the pursuit, safely, though Tater was a bit of a thrill seeker egging me on.  Window to window, I flagged the man down.  Had the man afoot been a grizzly bear of a man I might have drove on but to my relief he was a gentleman.  He understood and was happy to return the box.  

I humbly drove home as if the box was already filled with eggs.  The grizzly bear I married was waiting in the drive way along with my brother-in-law (whom I could tell was dying to know what happened) both staring me down like to inspect me for cuts and bruises thinking maybe I really had to fight for the box.  After telling the two what happened, my brother-in-law picks up the 'elastic' tied to the box and said "what's this".  I explained that the man was so nice, he helped me tie the box to the bed of the truck (with mysterious white and yellow elastic). The day ended with lots of laughs and quite a story and my husband did forgive me.  The hens now have a modest second mortgage on their home.    

There's never a dull moment-