Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is a delicious crock-pot recipe that is very easy to adapt to your tastes and quantity needed.  If you don’t like a lot of heat, omit the cumin and cayenne.  If you want a smaller batch, use one chicken breast, one can of tomatoes, one can of broth and less corn.

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Ingredients

1 carton chicken broth

1 can diced tomatoes with chilies, lightly drained

1 can stewed tomatoes with juice

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 packet taco seasoning

1 packet ranch dressing mix

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 frozen chicken breasts

1 can (or 1 cup frozen) whole kernel corn, drained

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

Directions

Place onion, corn, and green pepper in the bottom of a crock pot.  Add seasoning and soup mix.  Add tomatoes, then frozen chicken.  Add broth last.  Stir gently just to submerge chicken.

Cook on low for 8 hours or however long you are gone (mine cooked about 10 hours).  Shred the chicken with 2 forks.  Serve with shredded cheese and tortilla chips on top.

Mom’s Chili

Chili is absolutely one of my favorite winter foods.  It is just so warm and comforting.  Now, I am NOT a picky eater, at all…except when it comes to chili.  I have to have it this exact way.  Because of this, I’ll never order chili in a restaurant.  It is always too thick, full of beans, and just not good enough.  The only place thick chili has a home is on top of a hot dog.

I had to change this recipe a little bit because we like things quite a bit spicier than my parents.  But you can slowly add the seasonings, tasting as you go, until it reaches your desired heat level.

Chili (source: my Mom)

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef or turkey

2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed thru a garlic press

1 medium red or white onion, finely chopped

1/2 of a large green bell pepper

1 (14.5 oz) can Hormel Chili No Beans (I used “with beans” this time, original recipe uses 2 cans)

1 (6 oz) can tomato paste

1 (46 oz) can tomato juice

1 (10 0z) can Ro-tel diced tomatoes and chilies OR stewed tomatoes, lightly drained ( plain diced tomatoes work)

2 heaping tsp cumin

3 heaping tsp chili powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 heaping tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp onion salt

fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Optional Toppings

shredded cheddar cheese, oyster crackers, croutons, sour cream, finely chopped chives, chopped scallions, chopped jalapenos, crushed tortilla chips, etc…

THIS IS ALSO AMAZING ON SPAGHETTI. AMAZING. PERIOD. (Sorry for shouting.)  I think they call that Cincinnati style?  I think its called Chili Mac at Steak ‘n Shake? Maybe? I don’t know, I haven’t been to Steak ‘n Shake in years, but its good!  I didn’t serve it over spaghetti this time because we had spaghetti the night before.

Directions

Brown the crumbled ground meat in a large skillet for 10 minutes or until no longer pink with garlic, bell pepper, and onion.  Drain.  Return to skillet over medium heat, add tomato paste, chili, diced tomatoes and chilies.  Stir everything together.

Next, slowly add seasonings until you reach the level of spiciness that you like.  But, keep in mind that adding the tomato juice will make the spice less concentrated.  So, either make it slightly more spicy than you normally would like.  Or, to be safe, keep it mild and then taste and adjust seasoning one final time after the tomato juice is added.

Transfer the chili mixture to a large stock pot or dutch oven and slowly pour the tomato juice over.  Simmer for at least 20 minutes to thicken and allow the flavors to meld.  The longer it simmers, the better and thicker it will get. (It is supposed be on the runny side though.)  I’ve also noticed it gets spicier the longer it simmers too.  I don’t really know why…

CROCK-POT VERSION

In a large skillet, brown meat with onion, bell pepper, and garlic until no longer pink, like before.  Drain.  Place in large slow cooker.  Add all other ingredients and mix together.  Cook on low for 1-4 hours, ideally.  Leaving it for 8 hours is fine, but the sides tend to burn/blacken.  The taste doesn’t seem to be affected though.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

This is a really simple recipe that is perfect for a busy weeknight.  Like most slow cooker recipes, it is pretty much ready when you walk in the door!  All you need to do is shred up the chicken and make some rice and you are all set!  My favorite part is that you can put the chicken in frozen. Perfect for me because I’m usually gone 10 hours during the day and that allows the slow cooker to thoroughly cook the chicken but not burn.

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

(source)

4 frozen chicken breasts (I used 2 really big chicken breasts)

1 cup salsa

1 can condensed cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup (I used mushroom)

1 packet taco seasoning

1/2 cup sour cream

Directions:

In the morning, place chicken breasts in a 4.5 quart (or 6 quart, or whatever you have) slow cooker.  Sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken.  In a medium bowl mix salsa and soup together and then pour over chicken. Set slow cooker to low and forget about it for at least 6 hours. When ready to serve, stir in sour cream and shred chicken.  Serve over rice or use in a burrito.  Enjoy!

It is fine to use reduced sodium taco seasoning, reduced fat soup, and reduced fat sour cream. You won’t be able to tell a difference in taste!

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