Sunday, December 8, 2013

Chicken Tortilla Soup

With all these frigid temps lately, all I can think about is making hot soup! I like to experiment with soup because there are so many different things that can be 'thrown together' to make a simple dinner.

For example, last night was a hot soup night because the heat in my hubby's work van decided to give up, and he had to work overtime - so he spent a 12+ hour work day freezing. :-(  I caramelized onions, tossed in chopped carrots and garlic, leftover brown rice, and black beans and turkey from the freezer. Poured in beef broth and water, and seasoned with rosemary, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Ta-da! Souper easy dinner ready when my hubby got home ;-)

Sometimes I write recipes down as I go, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I make something so often without a recipe, that I have to slow down and write it as I go so I can have a recipe to share! Today's recipe is one of those...

Chicken Tortilla Soup is one of my go-to meals when having guests over. It's so easy and inexpensive to put together, and best of all it makes a huge batch so even if you have a large family, or guests over, chances are you'll have plenty for leftovers or to freeze for another meal! This is perfect for a cold snowy day, but really goes over well any time of the year. This past summer I brought a pot of this soup for a potluck our Bible study group was having. I was asked for the recipe...and so finally this Fall I wrote it down as I made it...and now I am posting it for you!

Chicken Tortilla Soup (see notes below)

12 Quart Stock Pot*
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3-4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (can use frozen or thawed)
1 large can (105oz) Crushed Tomatoes (I get these from Costco)
1 large can (102oz) Diced Tomatoes (I get these from Costco)
1 large can or 2 small cans Diced Green Chilies
3-4 Tablespoons Cumin (I buy in bulk from a local co-op)
1-2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
2 Pounds Dried Black Beans** (sorted, rinsed, soaked and cooked) or 6-8 cans (15oz each) Black Beans
4 Cups Water

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot. Add chicken. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, until just starting to brown.*** Add crushed and diced tomatoes, diced green chilies, cumin, and chili powder. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add black beans and water and simmer 30 minutes longer, or until chicken has reached 160 degrees. Remove chicken, shred with 2 forks (or cool slightly and use your hands), and stir back into soup.

Ladle into bowls, then top with shredded cheese, sour cream, black olives, fresh chopped chives, and tortilla chips. To spice it up a bit add a dash or two of hot sauce. Enjoy! Then have seconds :-)

Alternatively, you can make this in the crockpot. Omit the olive oil, and put the remaining ingredients into the crockpot. Stir. Set on low for 6-8 hours, until chicken is fully cooked (160 degrees). Remove chicken, shred then stir back into soup.

Keeps in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Freeze any remaining soup for another meal!



*I use a 12 quart stock pot for this recipe, but you could split it between two standard soup pots if you don't have a large stockpot, or cut the recipe in half to make a smaller batch. You can also make this in 2 large crockpots, or halve the recipe for 1 crockpot.

**I use dried beans that have previously been sorted, rinsed, soaked, and cooked. I normally cook beans from time-to-time and freeze them to have on hand when needed. Compared to canned, I love that they don't have salt added, and they are much cheaper to buy dried! Canned would work too though (1lb dried=3-4 cans; 2lbs dried=6-8 cans).

***To make this even easier you can omit the olive oil, stir everything into the pot, simmer 60-90 minutes (until chicken is fully cooked), shred chicken and add back to the soup. OR, if you have previously cooked/shredded chicken, use that in place of the fresh/frozen and just simmer soup for 30-45 minutes to blend flavors.

If you make this recipe - I would love to hear about it! I always encourage changing recipes up to make them your own; did you add/omit anything?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Crazy Cooking Challenge: Spiced Apple Pie Muffins (Gluten Free)

Welcome! I am so excited to kick off my new blog with a recipe for the Crazy Cooking Challenge! I discovered the Crazy Cooking Challenge several months ago on Tina's blog Mom's Crazy Cooking and thought it would be a great way to jump into the food blogging world. Around the same time hubby and I decided to sell our house "up north" to move closer to family. I had to put the creation of my food blog (and the challenge) on hold.  (although, you can also find me here on the other end of the blog world where I've been able to update from time to time)

Thankfully we are settled in now and I am able to get a start on things! I have a lot of figuring out work to do on my design yet, but I thought "why not just get it out there anyways, and work on it as I go along". I know this is a little backwards since I intended to start out with a separate welcoming to Stirring Up The Kitchen, but the challenge is on the 7th of the month - and ready or not, that is TODAY! So, my welcome page will come later... I hope you'll follow along and bear with me as I pretty this place up a bit, but in the meantime, you can enjoy the recipes along the way :-)

Now, onto the Challenge.


When I read that the theme this month would be Apple Pie, my first thought was an unwritten recipe that my husband actually created a year or so ago...we haven't had a ton of time to share in the kitchen lately so that recipe will come another time-I can't wait to share it with you!...I'll just say apples and blueberries are involved.

Then a couple weeks ago I kept envisioning a muffin recipe. I created it, and now I have it to share with you...These are portable-apple-pie-goodness! Enjoy!

Spiced Apple Pie Muffins (Gluten Free*)
Yield: 12 muffins

3/4 cup all-purpose gluten free flour
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 apple, peeled, cored, and shredded (I used Gala)
1 cup shredded carrots (~2 med/large carrots)

1 1/2 apples, peeled, cored, and finely diced (I used Gala)
1/2 cup shredded carrots (~1 med/large carrot)
1 T unsalted butter
1/4 cup + 2T brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 oz cream cheese, cubed

* You can omit the xanthan gum and substitute 3/4 cup all-purpose flour and 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (or just use 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour) for the all-purpose gluten free flour and the brown rice flour, if you are not needing to make the muffins gluten free.

To Prepare the Filling:
Melt the butter in a medium skillet over low-medium heat. Add the diced apples and shredded carrots and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Meanwhile, begin preparing muffin batter.) Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Continue cooking for 10-15 minutes until apples are completely soft, browned, and mixture is thick. Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Set aside.

To Prepare the Muffins:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a muffin tin with cooking spray. Combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, xanthan gum, cinnamon and cloves together in a bowl until well mixed.

In another bowl, combine the egg, oil, yogurt, applesauce, sugars, vanilla, apples, and carrots; mix well.

Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, and gently stir until well combined.

Fill each muffin tin well about 1/2 way full of batter. Top each with a generous teaspoonful of the filling, then top with the remaining batter - not quite to the top of the wells.

Bake for 20-22 minutes, until browned on top. Let sit for a few minutes, and then move to a cooling rack.

Best enjoyed when eaten warm and fresh...I won't admit how many I ate warm and fresh ;-) Refrigerate any leftovers. Can be eaten cold, but I preferred to warm mine in the microwave for about 35-45 seconds. Just be careful, as the filling may be a bit hot at first, depending on your microwave.

Be sure to check out all of the other yummy Crazy Cooking Challenge Apple Pie recipes below!