Salmon with a Mustard Glaze

IMG_7557 IMG_7571Here is another delicious Salmon recipe and so super easy. I made this for dinner last night and it was ready in no time and tasted truly delicious.It is light and easy, it doesn’t get much easier than this. The whole recipe took less than 1/2 hour to prep and cook! Depending on how thick your salmon is it could take no more than 10 minutes to fully cook right in the oven. Very few ingredients and a perfect dinner casual enough for just you and your family and can be bumped up to serve to guests. This is a winner.Last night I served with potatoes and a salad.  Almost any side dish will do alongside this. img_3593

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 heaping Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice (app. 1 average size lemon)

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper ( about 1/4 tsp. of each)

4 pieces Salmon fillets ( app. 6 oz. each) with skin on

*sprinkle a little fresh thyme if you’d like!!!

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray to facilitate removal of fish not to mention clean-up.

In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. I used a mini whisk and it came together beautifully.

Place Salmon, skin side down in a baking dish , and spoon mustard glaze over each piece of fish. Bake until salmon is just cooked through and no longer red, 6 – 10 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillet. I added a sprinkle of some fresh thyme right before I cooked and it added some more delicious flavor, this is totally optional.

Voila! done and enjoy. I served this time with a delicious lentil side dish.

Veggie Soup with Rotisserie Chicken – Perfect Winter Soup

Winter '13 colorado 002Winter '13 colorado 003Winter '13 colorado 006This is a soup, and a little like a stew, and I think Rachael Ray calls it a stoup, because it’s a little bit stew and a little bit soup. I combined a lot of different recipes for this one, and used a lot of ingredients from the pantry as well. I served alongside a toasted baguette with goat cheese. A perfect ending to a chilly day and just in time for soup season!  And did I say filling? it is a meal in itself. There are a lot of ingredients, but it really did make this soup wonderful. I enjoyed the prep, it’s very therapeutic and it’s not difficult at all.   I find it is very very important to read through a whole recipe before starting to cook, because you don’t want any surprises 1/2 way through and I always set out all of my ingredients before I start cooking, don’t want to be running around looking for an ingredient. You can also substitute wherever you’d like in this recipe using ingredients you would prefer. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 whole Rotisserie Chicken ( skin and bones removed and shred meat) (store bought is perfect here) unless you are in the mood to roast a chicken.

Olive Oil

1 4 oz. package of diced pancetta– I thought it added a delightful layer of deliciousness but not if you are opposed to using it

1 medium yellow onion ( diced)

3 carrots , peeled and diced

3 stalks of celery , diced

2 1/2 cups of diced peeled butternut squash

4 cloves garlic  minced

2 teaspoons fresh thyme

1 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes

1 15oz. can cannellini beans , drained and rinsed

1/2 cup dry white wine

baby spinach leaves ( I only used a little bit, but feel free to use whole 8 ounces) Kale would also work beautifully here

1 cup small pasta , like ditalini. I used small elbows because that is what I had on hand.

2 Tablespoons Pesto , I happen to have some frozen, but buy the store bought one if you don’t happen to have this on hand.

1 baguette or crusty type bread

6 cups of chicken broth, hold on to the extra 2 cups because you may need them

2 bay leaves

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

*freshly grated Parmesan Cheese ( optional) for serving

Directions:

Heat 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil in a large heavy pot ( Le Creuset) or any Dutch type Oven. Add the pancetta and cook for about 6 – 8 minutes over medium low heat, stirring occasionally , until lightly browned. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic and thyme, and cook over medium heat. I cooked for about 12 minutes till everything started to break down and soften.

Add the can of tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, bay leaves, I added 2 teaspoons of Kosher Salt and about 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. You can taste later and add if you need more. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for app. 45 minutes to an hour.

I cooked pasta separately till al dente.

Discard bay leaves, add pasta , beans and shredded chicken to soup. Heat through. Soup should be quite thick and if it’s too thick add some more chicken stock or some water.  Just before serving if you’re using it add in the spinach a little at a time, I used very little because Joel really doesn’t care for it, use as much as you’d like, keep stirring. Stir in the white wine and pesto. Check for salt and pepper.

Serve in nice large shallow bowls, with bread on the side. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if you’d like.

I sliced a baguette on the diagonal and brushed olive oil on both sides, Baked in the oven at 425 degrees, turning bread once , total cooking time about 8 minutes, took bread out and spread some goat cheese on each slice and put back in the oven for about 4 minutes. Delicious!

 

Sheet Pan Chicken –Meditteranean Style-String Beans and Potatoes

I love one pan and one pot dinners! Just amazing! This is an easy no-fuss meal cooked in the oven on one sheet with a marinade that has a distinct Meditteranean flavor from the lemon juice, olive oil and oregano.  Use chicken thighs or legs , I prefer dark meat for this but if you insist on using white meat –go ahead. Some green beans and potatoes make this a one pan staple. Delicious and Nutritious. Did I mention super easy to clean up? It was the Golden Globes so I wanted to eat and watch without a big mess to clean up. You’ll need a rimmed baking sheet for this recipe.

Enjoy! this is for 2 +people but you can double for 4. It will probably feed 2+ but depends on your people. This is what I did for the 2 of us. We ate the whole thing! no leftovers! If you are making for a larger crowd (4 or more) either use a very large baking sheet or 2 baking sheets .

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. baby red potatoes- I quartered them but if they are very small you can cut in 1/2

1/2 lb. green beans , trimmed

2 Tbsp. olive oil plus for marinade

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, I salt chicken liberally and potatoes because they tend to be bland –see notes below on salt and pepperimg_3437

*2 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Parsley – totally optional along with some slices of fresh lemon for beautiful presentation

 

Marinade for the Chicken- Marinate for about an hour

app. 1 package of chicken thighs– bone in , skin on . When I say 1 package it is usually a little under 2 lbs ( 6 smallish thighs)  which is more than enough for 2 people. Usually about 6 chicken thighs in a package depending on the size of thighs.

1/4 cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of 1 lemon- I used juicer because I wanted to make sure I got every drop

1 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar

1 Tbsp. dried oregano

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper , to taste–I used 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and about 10 grinds on the pepper mill for the marinade

In a large Ziploc Bag, combine chicken, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar and oregano; season with app. 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds (10-12) of freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Marinate for at least an hour, turning the bag occasionally. Remove the chicken from the marinade by draining it, discard the excess marinade.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a large size baking sheet with cooking spray.

Place potatoes and green beans in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Top with chicken in a single layer. Salt is an important component here–I sprinkled a light amount over chicken and potatoes and string beans –probably another 1/2 teaspoon and a few grinds of the pepper mill

Place into the oven and roast until the chicken is completely cooked through, should register 165 degrees with a meat thermometer after about 1/2 hour . After I check for readiness I place under the broiler for a few minutes, till skin is golden brown and a little charred ( but not too charred) watch chicken for signs of burning.

Serve immediately, you can garnish with lemon slices and parsley for a beautiful presentation!

Enjoy

 

 

 

 

 

Pasta e Fagioli ( Pasta and Bean Soup)

019I have been making this soup forever,  This is really just a tomato base soup with beans and pasta. How bad can that be? unless you hate beans and pasta that is. I usually have ingredients in the pantry and it is a wonderful warm experience, with a nice salad this is a perfect meal. I did use dried beans so I needed to soak overnight, if you want to cheat you can just use canned beans , I must admit this makes it a whole lot easier  and honestly no one knows the difference! It is a wonderful hearty soup halfway between a soup and a pasta no matter how you do the beans!

Enjoy this amazingly delicious comforting soup.

Ingredients:

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes ( San Marzano)

10 – 12 fresh basil leaves

red pepper flakes

handful of italian parsley, chopped

5 – 6 cups cooked beans and their liquid ( I use cannellini beans usually) any type of bean will work I use Cannellini or Red Kidney beans and a combination of both is beautiful.* feel free to use canned if you don’t have time to cook the beans. ( 2 cans rinsed and drained) the canned beans work out perfectly and it’s a very quick and easy way to go. You can easily use 2 cans of cannellini beans here or red kidney beans. Just drain and rinse and add them in –this makes it a whole lot easier

5 cups water

app. 1 cup pasta, elbows, tubetti, ditalini, or broken spaghetti

salt and freshly ground black pepper ( I probably used about 1Tablespoon of Kosher Salt but you’ll have to taste for yourself , start with a Tablespoon and use more as needed) Pepper I just add in a few grinds of the pepper mill ( about 12) and taste , taste , taste!

Directions:

In a large , heavy stockpot ( Le Creuset) saute onion in olive oil. When onion is golden and transparent, add garlic. Cook for a few more minutes. Add tomatoes and herbs. Cook until the tomatoes begin to thicken and reduce, about 10 minutes.  Taste for salt.

Add the beans and their cooking liquid. (* see notes on cooking beans) Add the water. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes – until the beans begin to break down and the soup begins to thicken. Lower heat to a slow simmer, as low as you can.  Stir frequently to prevent it from sticking and burning bottom of the pot. Taste for salt and pepper again.  I always like it to simmer for a long time, an hour would probably do it, but if I have the time I let it sit for as long as I can.  Sometimes after it’s been simmering for a while ,  I turn off the heat and right before serving just bring to a boil and add pasta. Just be careful not to let it burn, stir frequently . If you need more liquid add water a little at a time, I showed a picture of my pot filler which is the greatest thing to have in a kitchen, makes it super easy to fill a pot.

When you’re ready to serve, right before add the pasta and cook until pasta is al dente, about 5 – 10 minutes depending on type of pasta you’re using. I used ditalini.

Serve immediately in large soup bowls.

Guests can drizzle some good olive oil and grate some Parmesan Cheese over.  Should serve 8 – 10 depending on appetites. I froze remainder for another time.

*Cooking dried Beans:

Place the beans in a bowl and cover with water – about 2″ – 3″ above the beans. Soak overnight.

Rinse and drain the beans, remove any stones, foreign matter, or beans that have not expanded.

Place the beans in a heavy pot and cover with water – about 2″ above the beans.

Bring the beans to a boil. Turn down heat, cover and cook at a very low simmer. Do not allow beans to boil hard. The beans should retain their shape. Cook until beans are tender. Cooking time will vary depending on the type of beans and how fresh they are. Plan on cooking for 2 to 3 hours.

The beans will now be ready to be used for any recipe calling for cooked beans.

If you don’t have time to soak or you just forgot, you can place beans in the pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, cover and let stand for 1 hour, and then proceed with the rest of the directions.

Orzo and Lamb Shanks – Winter Comfort Food

photo (7)photo (8)photo (6)photo (5)photo (4)photo (2)photoI had just purchased Ina Garten’s new “Foolproof” cookbook back in 2013 and this amazingly delicious recipe was in there. I have to admit, I didn’t care for the way the lamb shanks looked raw but luckily I got past this. It was Oscar night 2013 and I couldn’t wait to sit down and watch. My idea of an Oscar party is to eat dinner at home and be in my pj’s by the time they start. Being out in Colorado means they start red carpet at 3, so dvr was set and I got to work on dinner. I like to watch the Oscars themselves live, so I had my work cut out for me. I also like watching alone, with texting and tweeting its like you are never alone anyway. It was a perfectly cold winter night, and Joel and I both love braised meats. This was pretty easy to pull together and I did it in under an hour, put in the oven and 2 hours later we were ready to eat this delicious meal. I must say the orzo was spectacular, and I would make this without meat as well.

This was my original post and then this New Years Eve it was on the menu again! We shared New Years Eve with our dear friends and spent the afternoon shopping and cooking! Now that’s my kind of meal. It takes a little work but totally worth the effort .I put up some pics of this as well.

Ingredients:

*this recipe serves 4, I cut it in 1/2 for Joel and I, but I made the 2 cups of orzo which we ate the next night as well.

1 cup all-purpose flour

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

4 lamb shanks ( app. 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. each)

Grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups chopped yellow onions

2 cups diced carrots ( app. 4 – 5 carrots)

3 stalks diced celery ( medium diced)

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes , including the juice

2 cups beef broth

1 1/2 cups dry white wine, plus 3 tablespoons

2 bay leaves

2 cups orzo

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Combine the flour, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and dredge the lamb shanks in it, shaking off any excess flour. In a large Dutch oven such as Le Creuset , heat 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil over medium -high heat . Add lamb shanks and cook for about 10 minutes, till browned on all sides, using tongs let them brown on all sides, be careful not to burn oil. Transfer the shanks to a plate. Don’t crowd the shanks, so do 2 at a time, you may need to add a little grapeseed oil for the second time.

Let pot cool a little and wipe Dutch oven with a paper towel, removing all remnants of old oil. Add the olive oil and heat over medium to medium high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, rosemary and cook for about 10 minutes until all veggies are tender. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the can of tomatoes, beef broth, wine, 3 teaspoons kosher salt and 2 teaspoons pepper. Add the lamb shanks, try and submerge them as much as possible in the liquid. Put in the bay leaves and bring to a simmer on the stovetop. Once it is simmering, cover the pot and place in the oven for 2 hours, I turned the shanks around after the first hour.

After 2 hours, add the orzo, stir it in and return the lamb shanks to the oven for about 20 minutes, until orzo is fully cooked and the lamb shanks are very tender. Discard the bay leaves, stir in 3 tablespoons of white wine, and taste for seasonings. Mine didn’t need any more seasoning, I also cut original salt in the recipe to 3 teaspoons instead of 4 and it was perfect. You can always add additional salt at the end.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Top Ten Posts from 2016

These were the top posts/recipes from 2016. This list is based on “you” my readers. These are not necessarily my favorites but they are the posts that got the most attention in order of their popularity. Baked Salami always wins the #1 spot, so I suppose that even in a world where everyone seems so diet conscious people still like a little decadence. This recipe comes in first every year! These are my most googled recipes and my most read recipes. So you might want to check some of them out.

Happy New Year to all my readers and thanks for being there for the past 6 years. It makes me so happy that you’re all out there reading and cooking from all over the world. Looking forward to sharing more recipes with all of you in 2017.

From my kitchen to yours — Happy Healthy 2017!

Most Popular Recipes from 2016–based on my readers

  1. Baked Salami–deliciously decadent recipe from the 1970’s which still remains popular
  2. Chicken Cubes with Rosemary, Lemon and Garlic–simple and easy and makes you look like a rock star
  3. Mushroom Barley–Side Dish–old-fashioned “comfort food”
  4. Vinaigrette with Maple Syrup–the new salad dressing you’ve been looking for
  5. Creamy Butternut Squash Soup (no cream)–always one of my most popular recipes
  6. Passover Cobbler–awesome addition to the Passover Dessert Table
  7. Pumpkin Walnut Bread (no butter)–what can I say? Perfectly Delicious
  8. Peach Farfel for Passover –crowd favorite for sure–once you make it you will always have it on your Passover Table
  9. Orzo with Lemon Shrimp and Spinach–delicious, simple and beautiful to look at and eat
  10. Chicken with Mushrooms–a wonderful hearty meal

Saucy Stuffed Shells – Baked and Meatless

Shells 004Shells 007Shells 009Shells 010OK you must be thinking is she kidding Stuffed Shells? gotta be the most fattening food to eat , and it probably is outside of lasagna, baked ziti and the like. Super delicious and sometimes you just hafta roll with it. I wanted a crowd pleaser, vegetarian and something that can easily be made ahead and frozen.  My mind wanders to yummy, gooey food with a lot of cheese because who doesn’t love a lot of cheese. Ah , yes Stuffed Shells.  I wouldn’t cook like this all the time, but once every blue moon no one is getting hurt, right? I served with a salad , no need for bread and butter here. Homemade Maple Syrup Salad Dressing ( see on blog) and it was really pretty awesome. Took a few hours to prepare, mostly because I made my own sauce ( Sunday night sauce) but feel free to use a jar of prepared sauce if you must. This is a perfect meal to make ahead of time, and just pop into oven.

Of course if you love it with meat you can make a meat sauce and follow same directions.

Ingredients:

1 box Jumbo Shells ( you won’t use all but a lot of them break, etc.)

1 lb. Ricotta ( I used Part Skim)

1 lb. Mozzarella Shredded ( I used Part Skim) if you can obtain fresh mozzarella and shred it that would make it even better! whatever works for you

1 cup grated Parmesan ( any kind you like)

1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

*marinara sauce or any red sauce I made my own and use my own recipe. If buying sauce and there are some delicious good sauces out there, you’ll need at least 1 jar and maybe a 1 1/2 jars. I make a big batch of sauce and freeze the remainder. It’s nice to have a little extra sauce in case you need it when you re-heat the stuffed shells.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Prepare Pasta , cook for between 12 and 15 minutes, you’ll want them soft but not undercooked at the center. Drain pasta and cool for easy handling.

Combine ricotta, 1/2 of the mozzarella, 1/2 of the Parmesan, parsley and egg in a bowl. Taste for Salt and Pepper.

When shells have cooled down, fill them with rounded spoonfuls of cheese mixture and arrange them seam side down in casserole dish. I used a 9 x 13 Pyrex. Top Shells with remaining sauce and remaining mozzarella and grated cheese. Place shells in very hot oven . You can turn on broiler for last few minutes , it should be slightly browned and bubbly. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Delicious!

Clams and Spaghetti–White Sauce

IMG_6366

Picture Riley took of me preparing salad.

IMG_6286IMG_6287 (2)IMG_6283 (2)This was the first time ( original post December 2014) I ever made clams in the house. I have cooked them on the grill but never in a pot on the stove. I guess I was always a little nervous about it and for no apparent reason . I was looking through Jessica Seinfeld’s “The Can’t Cookbook” even though I totally can cook and saw this recipe and she made it look so simple I figured it was the right time to get over my “stage fright”. I made it for my Daughter and her family and two of our Best Friends in the world who really qualify as Family.  Our Son in Law Brian is a world-famous eater and a true pleasure to cook for so I decided to break my cardinal rule of never ever cooking something new for guests since these guests were really all family anyway. I wanted to hear their opinions but was still a little nervous. I served alongside a beautiful Tenderloin Roast which was my backup anyway. It all turned out so well and I was more than pleased and delighted that I went out of the box .  I still contend that it’s never a good idea to try out new recipes for dinner guests but everyone here was family and after all what is family for if not to try out your recipes? Of course it goes without saying that Joel won’t eat clams so once again it’s his loss and our gain. He did love the Tenderloin Roast and ate a little of the pasta. Give this one a try it is truly delicious . I bought my clams at Whole Foods and I did clean them but they really were super clean and yummy. I bought them a day ahead and kept them in the fridge. If possible I would probably purchase the day of but Joel told me there was nothing to worry over and so I didn’t. Enjoy!

http://www.doitdelicious.com this is Jessica Seinfeld’s site or you can just buy the book “The Can’t Cookbook”.

Ingredients:

2 dozen littleneck clams

3 cloves garlic

app. 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon blanc. I actually used what I had open which was a Pinot Grigio

1 box spaghetti, you can use any kind of spaghetti you like. I actually had bucatini style in the house so that’s what I used

3 Tbsp. Olive Oil

*if you’d like a little heat and you should know your audience because mine didn’t so I put on table for those who wanted to add heat. If you are adding add app. 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

Kosher Salt , to taste. I have to say I added almost no extra salt at all.

You’ll need a large deep pot to cook clams in. I used my Le Creuset Pot.

Directions:

I placed my clams in a colander and I put the colander in a larger bowl in the sink and I filled the bowl with cold water. I let the clams soak for a few minutes, then rubbed with my fingers to dislodge any dirt; then drained the clams. Throw away any clams that remain open or were smashed. ( my clams were pretty clean) I purchased them clean from Whole Foods. Any Fish Store will clean them for you, but always run them through this process to remove any residual sand, etc.

Smash the garlic and chop it . Chop the Parsley. Measure the Wine. Place all your ingredients near to the stove.

Cook Pasta according to directions on box.

Place a large pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium. Pour in 2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil until it heats up and shimmers ( a few minutes) Add chopped garlic to the pot, and cook , stirring , for at least a minute, until you can actually smell the garlic breaking down. Don’t Burn!!!! Now add the wine and the clams and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and you’ll want a fairly high flame, probably medium-high . Cook clams until they open, I probably cooked for about 10 – 12 minutes. Looked so beautiful! Add the parsley and the red pepper now if you’re using. Throw away any unopened clams, they are no good.

Once pasta is al dente and drained I transferred to a large serving bowl and added 1 Tbsp. of Olive Oil to pasta, top with clams. Sprinkle if you’d like a tiny bit of coarse salt now if you feel it needs it. I did not need to add any additional salt or pepper. Adjust to your taste.

Amazing!!!! and did I mention Super Easy!!!!!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

I recently posted my recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup on the stove top which was a real hit with us. I wanted to be able to make this soup in my slow-cooker as well. Coming home from a day out to these delicious aromas is worth getting up and cooking in your pajamas. I call it cooking in your pajamas because that’s exactly what it is. Not to mention that at dinner time you only have one pot to clean and not all the other mess from cooking and chopping etc. So totally amazing!

Again there are options here which is why I love to cook soups and slow cooker meals. You can add what you like and substitute for what you don’t like. Make it as spicy as you like or just leave the bottle of Cholula on the table for those who prefer spicy. The only thing about the slow cooker is the amount of cooking liquid you will probably need and the 4 cups of chicken broth worked out perfectly. This recipe is very mix and match so use whatever you’d like and leave out what you don’t like. Let me know how it works out for you. Liquid is very important here so don’t change the 4 quarts of stock! The consistency was perfect last night but if yours is too thick you can always add more broth or water. A little at a time. Honestly, I was out all day and didn’t even look at pot till 8 hours later and all was good.

Soup will easily serve 6-8 as a main dish. It is quite filling with all the toppings and I used soft corn tortillas this time and they added a delicious taste to the already delicious soup!img_3246

look closely and you’ll see me in my pjs taking the photo!

 

Ingredients:

2-3 chicken breasts – I used 2 large ones which was a little over a pound

4 cups chicken broth

2 14 oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained

28 oz. diced tomatoes, with juice and all–you can also use fire-roasted diced tomatoes if you’d like

1 4 oz. can of diced green chiles – mild (spicy is very spicy)

1 15 oz. can whole-kernel corn, drained

1 green pepper-diced

1 red, yellow or orange pepper – diced

3 garlic cloves – minced

1 whole medium yellow or white onion – chopped

1 package Taco Seasonings –use whichever you like

1 can green or red enchilada sauce –be careful don’t buy spicy–unless you really like spicy

3 Tbsp. Tomato Paste

Salt to taste

*this is optional and only if you like a smoky spicy kind of flavor –1 whole chipotle pepper in adobo sauce ( available in the can) just take out one of the peppers, you can take out the pepper and cut it up or just drop it in whole with liquid from can. I will say that this made the soup very spicy and it didn’t say spicy on the can.

*Cholula Sauce on the table for those who like it spicy or you can add some chile powder ( app. 2 teaspoons ) if you’d like it spicier

Toppings:

Avocado, Cilantro, Grated Cheese, Sour Cream, Tortillas (see note), Lime Juice squeezed in at the end is also excellent. Diced Red Onion adds a nice crunch.

*Tortilla notes–If using soft tortillas. I buy the small yellow corn tortillas and following directions on the package I heat them up and cut into uniform strips before adding to soup. This adds a wonderful layer of flavor. Of course you can always just throw in some crunchy tortilla chips!! Whatever you like.

Directions:

I spray my slow cooker with cooking spray first always. You’ll thank me for this.

Place the chicken into slow cooker, sprinkle the package of Taco Seasoning on the chicken.

Add the chopped onion,peppers, tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, chipotle if you’re using them, black beans, enchilada sauce, green chiles, corn and garlic. Basically all ingredients.

Stir , place the lid on the slow cooker , and cook for 5 hours on high, or 8 hours on low. And walk away from the slow cooker –you’re done.

When soup is finished and you’re ready to serve–remove chicken which should be very tender and using 2 forks just shred it. Add back into the soup. This is your opportunity to taste for more salt–I added maybe a teaspoon of kosher salt. At this time you can squeeze a bit of lime juice in, not necessary but another layer of flavor.

Serve piping hot in bowls with whatever toppings you like!!!! What a wonderful meal and alot of leftovers for us!

 

 

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

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This soup has always been a favorite of mine and I usually try to order it when it’s offered on a menu. I am a big fan of Mexican Food and have always wanted to try to make my own Chicken Tortilla Soup .This is a super easy version using a store-bought rotisserie chicken and a packet of Taco Seasoning.  Now that the weather has turned super cold it’s a perfect time for heart warming meals. I started cooking soup in the afternoon, prep was pretty quick and I let it simmer for an hour and then turned off stove while we went out. When we got home I turned on the stove and continued cooking soup. I cut up avocado, chopped up some cilantro, put sour cream and cheese into some little bowls and in less than 1/2 hour we were sitting eating this delicious and tasty soup! Joel even ate the avocado!!!! This is big!!! He loved the soup. It’s very filling.

I used crispy tortillas because that’s what I had in the house. It would be delicious with soft corn tortillas sliced up and added into the soup at the end also. I love when the crunchy chips go soft in the soup with the melted cheese– I could go on and on about this soup.

If you have the time I suggest making this soup, it is so easy with a prepared chicken or you can make your own chicken .  The prep is about 15 minutes using store-bought chicken and cooking is about 1 1/2 to 2 hours for soup.  I just think soup tastes better the longer it sits. I prefer making it in the early part of the day and letting it sit on the stove for a while.

This is a big soup and will probably serve 6-8 nicely. I have a container in my freezer and 4 of us ate this soup.

Look for my slow cooker version coming soon.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 Rotisserie Chicken from your favorite supermarket

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Packet of Taco Seasoning — this is really easy , use whatever brand you like

1 cup diced onion

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 diced green pepper

1 diced yellow, red or orange pepper

1 10 oz. can  Rotel brand Tomatoes and Green Chiles–just a suggestion

1 can enchilada sauce– green or red ( in Mexican Food section of your supermarket)

1 15 oz. can of whole-kernel corn

32 ounces Chicken Broth

3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

4 cups hot water

2 cans Black Beans , drained

3 Tablespoons Cornmeal –mixed with water ( see instructions)

5 Soft Corn Tortillas (I use the small ones) cut into uniform strips or crunchy tortilla chips–use as many or as little as you like–or skip all together for a lighter version.

Toppings:

*optional and use whatever you like — these are just some suggestions

Sour Cream

Cilantro

Grated Cheese –Monterey Jack is a good choice here or Mexican Blend Grated Cheese

Cut-Up Avocado

Salsa or Pico De Gallo

Diced Red Onion

Diced Fresh Jalapeno

Hot Sauce like Cholula is my favorite go to sauce

Directions:

I took skin off chicken and shredded most of the chicken meat.

Heat 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil in a large Pot –dutch oven is great here (Le Creuset) add onions, peppers, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the packet of Taco Seasonings if it’s very dry and hard to stir you can add a little more olive oil. Add in the shredded chicken and stir it all up.

Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, enchilada sauce, water , black beans and corn. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for app. 45 minutes to an hour, uncovered.

In a little bowl mix 3 cornmeal with a small amount of water , just enough to mix it into a paste like consistency. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes at least, I cooked for another hour. I always believe the soup is best when it sits for a long time.

Check seasonings, adding more salt if you need it , I added kosher salt because I felt it needed it. Taste has to be your guide but be sure not to undersalt, you don’t want this to be bland. Turn off heat and allow to sit for about 20 minutes.

Five minutes before serving, gently stir in the tortilla strips if you’re using them.

Ladle into bowls, then top with your favorite toppings and there you go! I think the chips/tortillas make this soup along with the cilantro and avocado. Let your taste be your guide here.