Creamy Butternut Squash Soup (no cream)

This is by far one of my most favorite recipes ever! Super Easy and Super Delicious ! If you’ve been following me since the early days you’ve probably made this recipe by now. It’s perfection in a bowl . I’ve simplified the recipe along the way so that now it is just the way Joel and I like it. it’s pretty easy as long as you buy the squash pre – cut (available in every supermarket, and corner produce store). I just made my first batch of the season, and the squash is sweet and delicious. I always add a little butter to it, but you can totally leave it out. It tastes so creamy you’ll swear there’s cream in it, but really, there is none.  I love a little freshly grated nutmeg in it too, but you can certainly just sprinkle in a very little bit of already grated nutmeg. I hope your family and friends enjoy this as much as my family does! It’s always on my table for Thanksgiving. A delightful way to start a dinner, or a delicious main dish served alongside  a beautiful salad and bread. This can easily be made vegetarian by substituting chicken broth for vegetable broth, which is how I make it on Thanksgiving for Kerri (our daughter) who is a vegetarian.

*This can be made without cream so easily–but if you want a touch of richness you can add a little heavy cream into soup and mix in before serving. Totally not necessary but just saying.

And clearly this recipe can be cut in 1/2 for a smaller group– I usually use 2 packages of squash for 6 servings.

*feel free to put croutons on top or sprinkle some pepitas on top . It’s delicious just the way it is!! and wonderful for lunch the next day and will freeze beautifully.

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Ingredients:

4 pkgs. (approx. 4 lbs.) butternut squash (it’s doesn’t have to be exact)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large spanish onion, chopped

8 – 10 cups chicken or vegetable broth

*1 -2 tablespoons unsalted butter (for this serving size, I use 2 but it’s totally optional)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

*use whole nutmeg – you just grate a little in for flavor. I always tend to use whole, but grated will do. It’s just a touch of it–if I had to guess, I’d say 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon depending on your taste

*if you really want to top it off with a touch of cream you can . Just add a little heavy cream to the soup and blend it right in at the end. Honestly it’s not necessary but it def adds a a layer of richness!

Directions:

In a heavy Le Creuset (or any other ample size large pot), I heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When oil is heated, put in onion and about 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt. Sweat out the onions until they are translucent (approx. 5 – 8 minutes). If you’re using the butter, add it now too. I then add all of the butternut squash and mix the onions, oil and butter as best I can all over the squash. Next, add enough broth to cover the squash (I used approx. 10 cups of chicken broth to cover). I keep the remaining half a box of broth in case I need it later. Return to a low boil, then bring to a simmer. I let it cook a very long time–at least an hour until soft–and then I turn off the heat and let it sit for a while. I like to make it early and let it sit for as long as possible, because the squash gets very soft. Then right before I am about to serve, I use an immersion blender and blend it into a beautiful smooth soup. If you need more broth, add it as you blend. This is also your salt, pepper and nutmeg moment. Season to taste and blend just until smooth. I leave it in the pot until I need it and then gently warm it up. This soup will keep in the fridge for a few days. It can be frozen as well. Upon defrosting you may need to add more broth. Sometimes I serve this soup with beautiful croutons if I can find them in specialty stores, but it is delicious and beautiful on its own, and very good for you! My family loves it , and I hope yours does too.

*should serve 10 – 12 as appetizer

Thanksgiving 2022

It’s that time of year again — Thanksgiving — and I will be posting my tried and true recipes for all of you who follow me and for anyone new who is looking for some Thanksgiving inspiration. This list can be found on my site @cookingwithcandi. If you put the name of the recipe into the search box the recipe should come up. Alternatively if you google the name of the recipe along with cooking with Candi it should come up. Any problems, questions, ideas , new recipes etc. get in touch with me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi just drop me a line and I promise I will try and get back to you ASAP . I am open to any and all suggestions, questions, etc. You can also email me @cmk55@sopris.net.

Here are some of my favorite Thanksgiving Recipes, just put in the search box on my site or put in Thanksgiving . Or go to @cookingwithcandi or google the title of the recipe @cookingwithcandi.

Happy Thanksgiving

Corn Bread Pudding

Easy Peasy Corn Bread –this is an easy peasy corn bread to make for holiday table or any table

Butternut Squash Soup

Pumpkin Lentil Soup

Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts– I have 2 different recipes for the nuts and they are both awesome

Shaved Brussels Salad

Brussels and Kale with Mustard Vinaigrette

Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad

Pumpkin Walnut Bread and Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Cremini Mushroom Pumpkin Lasagna

Pumpkin Penne Bake — my version of Mac and Cheese for the Holidays

Stuffing that will be on our Table or Cranberry Walnut Stuffing

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Candied Yam Souffle

Easy Peasy Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes

Aunt Pammy’s Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Karyn’s Famous Thanksgiving Cranberry Crisp

Joy’s Cranberry Sauce

Michele’s White Chocolate Jumbo Macaroon Cookies

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Apple Pear Crisp

Apple Crisp

Magnolia Banana Pudding

Corn Bread Pudding
pre marshmallow topping
Karyn’s Cranberry Crisp

Butternut Squash Soup
Prep and Ingredients for Corn Bread Pudding

Greek Chicken–Sheet Pan Style with Potatoes and Lemons

This has become one of the staples in our house. Truly easy and so delicious –as good as any restaurant chicken I have ever had.  It is so delicious and the only caveat is it should be marinated for at least 6 hours and if you remember to do it — overnight. I usually do it early in the morning and it’s perfect. I also use chicken thighs because we prefer but if you want you can use chicken breasts but they tend to dry out so be careful with the cooking time and use a meat thermometer to keep an eye on them.  A big thank you to Pamela Salzman for this wonderful recipe and you should all check out her blog and her cookbooks @pamalasalzman.com  

I pretty much followed the recipe as is and the marination is key to it’s success so don’t skimp on that part. Just keep in mind when cooking on a sheet pan all together –the pieces all need to be as uniform in size as possible so that they cook together at the same approximate time. So meat needs to be the same size and the veggies should be as uniform as possible.

Ingredients:

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (halved) or 8 chicken thighs , we prefer the thighs

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus a little extra

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (app. 2 large lemons) plus 1 lemon thinly sliced

1 Red Onion, sliced into 1/4 inch wedges

app. 1 lb. Yukon Gold Potatoes, diced into 1″ pieces — see photos if using small potatoes you can cut in 1/2 and use whatever potatoes you like

1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar

1 Tablespoon minced garlic — app. 2 large cloves

2 Tablespoons dried oregano plus extra for sprinkling

2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt or Sea Salt whichever you have on hand, plus extra for sprinkling–I used Kosher Salt and it was just fine

Freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a large bowl , whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.

Place the chicken in the bowl and toss to coat all the pieces. Allow to marinate overnight or at least 6-8 hours. I recommend overnight or first thing in the morning.

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees and I sprayed my stainless sheet pan . You can use parchment paper but not necessary if you spray.

I took Chicken out of refrigerator and brought it to room temperature. Then I put potatoes and onions on the sheet pan sprinkled with a little olive to finely coat and then I added chicken and lemon slices and sprinkled with salt , pepper and a few pinches of dried oregano. This step was important for me as I felt the chicken needed a little more salt and the potatoes definitley did. I mixed around so the marinade got on everything as well.

Bake for about 35-45 minutes until chicken is cooked through and the internal temperature is 165 degrees. Breasts could take a little longer — mine didn’t. My chicken was also browned beautifully if you’re wanting it to be more browned stick under the broiler for a minute or two and keep your eye on it if it needs more time. Chicken should be cooked through before this step though.

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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting–Fall Treats

photo (4)photo (16) photo (17) photo (18) photo (19)There are a few things I really love to eat. Mostly anything sweet and mostly dessert. Anyone who knows me well knows that I have an incredible sweet tooth. Funny that my name is Candi and I love candy, cookies, cakes and ice cream so very much. I would probably pass on most entrees and just cut to dessert if I had my way . When I was a kid I would gladly trade a sandwich for dessert any day of the week. Some things never change. I’d like to believe that my tastes in dessert have changed a wee bit and that I have a bit more of a sophisticated palate now but not when it comes to candy,  I still love junk candy as much as I did when I was 6. However my taste in cake has definitely improved with age. I don’t think I would have enjoyed pumpkin cake as a kid but I really love it now. Anything baked with pumpkin gets high marks in my book and if you put cream cheese frosting on it it’s off the charts.   It’s just the right amount of sugar and spice! A most perfect Fall Cake or cupcake.   It really is a very easy recipe to follow ,  I made cupcakes but you can easily make this in a Pyrex 9 x13 inch pan as a sheet cake and frost it and decorate with candy corn or those little candy pumpkins! Nice little treat for those little trick or treaters in your house.

Now you can make these without frosting and just eat like muffins with a little smear of cream cheese which wouldn’t be too bad either.

Happy Halloween Everyone!!!

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Shopping List:

1 can Pumpkin ( not pumpkin pie filling just Pumpkin) 15 oz. size

cream cheese  and paper liners for cupcakes

Staples: (things you should have in your Pantry and fridge all the time)

all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves, salt, vegetable oil, eggs, confectioner’s sugar, unsalted butter, vanilla extract, and milk

Ingredients:

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 cup of sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ground cloves if no ground cloves you can substitute with pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg. I prefer cloves.

1 tsp. salt (regular table salt)

1 cup vegetable oil

1 can Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) Pure Pumpkin

4 eggs ( room temperature please)

Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 cups of confectioner’s sugar

1/3 cup softened butter ( unsalted)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

4 oz. softened cream cheese ( soften in microwave) not melted just softened or you can leave it out for a bit and it will soften up.  I actually used light cream cheese not fat free please. I mean the amount of calories is staggering, but you’re only going to eat 1 cupcake right? how many calories can possibly be in that????? Don’t tell me , I don’t want to know.

1 Tbsp. Milk ( I used skim plus)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I mixed all dry ingredients together then mixed in eggs ( one at a time) and can of pumpkin and vegetable oil. Mix till combined, don’t overmix. No need to sift, just put dry ingredients in a bowl first and whisk together with a whisk , get some air in there.

Pour into a greased muffin pan about 3/4 full.  I always use little paper liners and bake at 35o degrees for 20 – 30 minutes . Be careful not to over bake so the cake stays moist.  I baked for 26 minutes. I started checking on them after 20 minutes.

Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting. I made my frosting in my electric mixer while cupcakes were cooling.

Frost Cupcakes / Cake  and if you’d like decorate with some of those little Halloween Candies like candy corn or those little pumpkin shaped candies sold this time of year. Enjoy!

*should make about 16 cupcakes , I made 12 and a mini loaf.

Shaved Brussels Salad

This is one of my most favorite salads. 7 Ingredients and you got this delicious shaved Brussel sprout salad. Perfect for a Holiday Meal and delish for lunch or dinner salad with an added 8th ingredient as Protein. I think I will make for Thanksgiving this year! You can prep hours in advance because the hearty sprouts will hold up well even if you dress them. Perfect for Holidays. You can put your own spin on it — I used cherries this time out but I think yellow raisins are perfect as well. I actually used finely diced walnuts because no pinolli nuts and wanted to eat it NOW! Even though so few ingredients this salad hits all the flavors and is very delicious and Joel loved it and took seconds!

Enjoy!

*this should serve 4-6 as a side salad

Ingredients:

4 Cups shaved Brussels sprouts — I bought a bag of shaved Brussels from Trader Joes but you can find this almost everywhere or shave yourself in food processor ( just easier to short cut this step)

1/4 cup EVOO

1/4 cup fresh Lemon Juice (probably one regular sized Lemon)

1/3 cup dried cherries, golden raisins, dark raisins, etc. Use what you have in the house it’s all good!

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted — I would also use finely diced walnuts which worked out perfectly– these also come in a bag ready to use

1/2 cup pecorino cheese, if you don’t like cheese you can omit it’s optional but in our house a necessary ingredient — crumbled feta would also be a good alternative

1/3 cup chopped fresh chives — a must for flavor

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Directions:

Place Shaved Brussels sprouts in a large bowl ( large enough to mix) and toss with the olive oil and lemon juice, pine nuts, dried fruit, pecorino cheese, chives and a few pinches of kosher salt ( taste for flavor)

I let the salad sit at room temp for at least 15 minutes, then mix well , taste and adjust the seasonings. If tastes dry to you add a little drizzle of olive oil — I didn’t

Enjoy! and Your Welcome

*and obviously if you’d like add a protein to make this a perfect lunch or dinner salad

Soy Orange Rosemary Chicken

I put this together last night and it was most delicious if I do say so myself and obviously Joel was very happy with this one as well. Served alongside rice and a beautiful Brussels salad which I will post soon as well. In the meantime this is a great weeknight meal or lovely meal if you’re having friends over. I would say 2 lbs. would feed 4-6 depending on your eaters.

This is super-yummy and don’t forget to spoon the sauce over the chicken when you serve it!

Ingredients:

2- 21/2 lbs bone-in skin-on chicken– I used thighs –much tastier but if you insist on breasts cut in 1/2–this time out I made for the 2 of us but used the same amount of sauce for full recipe — the sauce cooks down and you’ll want some for top of chicken

8 ounces orange marmalade , or this time I used Orange Ginger Fruit Spread by Dalfour which had amazing flavor but even apricot preserves will work well here. The Orange flavor just adds a layer of flavor that you can’t get from the apricot and the ginger in the orange really kicked it up a notch.

1 1/2 Tablespoons Whole Grain or Stone Ground Mustard ( my favorite is from Maille)

2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce — I used low sodium

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 – 1/12 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary — if you like a lot of Rosemary add a little more if not a huge fan you probably won’t be making this recipe but use 1 Tablespoon

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper (app. 1/2 teaspoon)

Directions:

You can marinade over-night but I did it first thing in the morning– you’ll want this to marinade at least 6 hours — this is important

I take chicken out rinse off and pat dry. I then sprinkle some kosher salt over chicken — not a lot just enough to “sprinkle” top and bottom of chicken

In a glass bowl or any non-reactive bowl combine marmalade, soy sauce, melted butter, rosemary and a few grinds of black pepper. Mix marinade till completely combined then add chicken pieces and coat each piece well. Cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours or longer whatever is convenient for you. I also put chicken in a gallon sized baggie and squish it around. Completely up to you.

Remove chicken from the fridge and bring to room temperature about 1/2 hour before cooking. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking dish with cooking spray– or you’ll have a tough time cleaning this one up.

Transfer the chicken to sprayed baking dish and get any and all marinade in the dish as well. I think I used a 13×9 dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through and browned up on top. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for a few minutes before serving. My oven cooked 4 pieces in 40 minutes so check chicken after 1/2 hour for progress — all ovens vary.

Chicken in One Pan with Garlic, Tomatoes and Potatoes

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chicken nestled in the baking pan with vegetables
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cut up potatoes, tomatoes, fresh thyme and pieces of smashed garlic.
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finished product–crispy chicken with delicious veggies

You all know by now how very much I love one pan meals. I am talking about everything goes in one pan into the oven and cooks. Not slow cooked just regular meals in one pan!!!!! So simple to prepare , you’ll look like you really know what you’re doing and so delicious to eat. This one got a ringing endorsement from Joel and he’s as fussy as they come. This one should be perfect for whole family and should serve 4 . This is what I did. Last night I just used chicken thighs you can use whatever parts of chicken you prefer. Skin on Bone in is preferred here. 

*you’ll need a large baking dish, I used a ceramic one as shown. Pyrex works well here as well.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs.  Yukon gold potatoes ( I used about 4 for just the 2 of us ) peeled and cut into about 8 pieces each potato, you’ll want potatoes to be uniform in size so they all cook the same amount of time

6 cloves of garlic smashed ( take the whole garlic clove and whack it with the back of the knife and then remove skin)

1 pint cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes

2 Tablespoons olive oil

app. 12 sprigs of fresh thyme

app. 1 – 2 teaspoons of kosher salt for potatoes and chicken

app. 1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

*1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper–we love the heat but if you don’t just omit

1 whole chicken cut up in 8’s or 10’s , I ask butcher to remove the backbone and cut into 8’s or 10’s. App. 3-4 lbs. total or 6 chicken thighs bone and skin-on

Directions:

Preheat the oven with the oven rack in the middle to 425 degrees.

Spray the baking dish with a cooking spray (Pam) I mean you want the baking dish to clean up easy right?

Peel the potatoes and cut up into bite size pieces. Add to the sprayed baking dish . Smash and peel the garlic. Rinse the tomatoes and add as well along with the thyme.

Drizzle with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and app. 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and the crushed red pepper. Toss it all together with your clean bare hands and spread into a single layer.

Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Season both sides of the chicken with app. 3/4 teaspoon  and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. I am pretty liberal with the salt here because I feel chicken can be rather bland. Use at your own discretion and what works best for you and your family. Place the chicken amongst the vegetables , see my pictures for how I did it. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender. App. 50-60 minutes.

*A little note on the chicken. I checked my chicken after 50 minutes and it was done so I removed to a plate and covered with aluminum foil to keep warm . I placed potatoes back in oven for another 10 mins. or so till they were done. Delicious! the tomatoes burst and were perfect served alongside the chicken and potatoes.

*to check doneness of chicken–a meat thermometer inserted into the breast at middle part should read 160 degrees.

Easy Skillet Lasagna

This was truly one of the most epic meals! The whole meal in under an hour.  While I love a real lasagna I didn’t want to put the whole thing together and deal with it. Once you have the ingredients the prep time is minimal and you aren’t using store bought sauce.  You will be making the sauce and it will all cook together in the pan .  This can be done a few different ways and I invite you to play around with the ingredients and spices to your own liking. All I can say is Wow!  Delicious! Perfect Sunday night dinner and I am planning on making this tonight again.   All in one pot is truly a great way to cook, no fuss, no muss and no having to deal with cooking lasagna noodles!!!!!! Yeah!

This can easily be made with ricotta cheese and spinach or any veggies you like. I would even try it with cut up eggplant!

*You’ll need a large oven proof skillet with lid

*perfect for freezing leftovers

Ingredients:

1 to 1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil–I used 1 1/2 you can start with 1 and add more to onions if you need it

1/2 lb. ground beef ( I used 80/20)

3 Italian sausage links, casings removed ( I used Hot Italian Sausage) use what you like , you can use turkey or chicken sausage as well

1 onion, diced

1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 8oz.can tomato sauce

*Italian seasonings , if you have Italian seasonings in a jar that’s great if not use a little dried oregano and dried basil. Italian Seasonings is available in the spice department of all food stores.

*1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

App. 1/4 tsp. Kosher Salt and more to taste

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

app. 10 lasagna noodles, broken into 1/4’s, if it breaks up differently don’t worry it’s a very loose recipe! 8 ounces Farfalle Pasta also works if you don’t feel like using the lasagna noodles. Un-cooked Noodles!!!!!

8 oz. mozzarella balls ( fresh) I used the small ones this time. Use whatever cheese you like but these worked out beautifully.  You can always use shredded mozzarella, or just cut a large ball of mozzarella into small pieces ( as much or as little as you’d like) if using shredded mozzarella, you’ll need about 1 cup

2 cups water

Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese for serving

*you can also use 1 cup Ricotta Cheese for a very cheesy version, I would use this if I was making it with spinach and going veggie.

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook till translucent, add garlic towards the end of onion process. Add ground beef to the onions, stirring occasionally till browned. I removed with slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. I then cooked up the sausage making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooked.  I then removed sausage to bowl with meat , onions, and garlic and drained all excess fat from pan.

Pre-heat the oven to Broil.

Return meat to pan, add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, spices, add 1/4 tsp. kosher salt to taste, if you need more add it. Add in the meat mixture and stir, bring to a simmer and add in broken lasagna pieces and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13- 15 minutes for al dente. I stirred it gently a few times just to make certain that the noodles cooked through and didn’t stick together.

Remove from the heat . I placed my Mozzarella on top and placed in oven under broiler for about 5 mins. Check on it because you don’t want it to blacken. All ovens are different, in mine it needed about 6 minutes to just start browning without burning, but you don’t want to burn this up so set timer and keep an eye on it!

Remove from the oven and let it sit out for a few minutes. Plate it up and let everyone add their own parmesan cheese! Enjoy! you will.

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Plated up and ready to eat

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Finished Product

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adding mozzarella before placing under broiler

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placing un-cooked noodles into sauce

This would serve 4. It’s tough to double because you would need a super large pan.

This makes for an amazing leftover!

Pantry Soup aka Pumpkin Bean Soup (can be vegetarian)

Colorado Winter '12 004Colorado Winter '12 006Colorado Winter '12 008Rounding out the week with another soup recipe since it’s officially soup season. This is an oldie but goodie .

I love pumpkin as you already know by now. Since you can only really buy it from November through the Christmas Season I like to stock up for muffins, soups, etc.  I pulled out some cans of Black Beans, a can of Pinto Beans, and a can of Diced Tomatoes. This is the soup I made and it was pretty tasty. The spices I used are key, and you’ll have to check for Salt and Pepper towards the end . It wasn’t that difficult to make , I did use a lot of different ingredients but it was a good feeling to clean out the pantry at the same time! This is a warm wonderful soup, perfect for a cold winter day or evening. I did use a tablespoon of butter but you can easily substitute with all olive oil. I also love the way the Sherry Vinegar adds kick but if you don’t have it use Apple Cider Vinegar it’ll be just fine. There is no real right or wrong with this recipe, make it your way, use what you like and enjoy it!

Ingredients:

2 15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 15 oz. can Pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, or chef’s cut tomatoes

1 10 oz. can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies ( this is optional, I had it and threw it in) if you can find this product by Rotel buy it because it’s really great in tacos, chili, stews and soups.

1 15 oz. can of Corn ( I used low sodium)

*1 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter ( optional)

1 medium onion chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons kosher salt ( divided)

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

4 cups Beef Broth ( feel free to substitute Vegetable Broth)

1  15 oz. can Pumpkin Puree

2 Tablespoons Sherry Vinegar ( or Apple Cider Vinegar)

Directions:

Pour 2 cans of the drained black beans into a food processor or blender, along with the can of tomatoes. Puree until smooth. Set aside.

Melt butter and olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and season with 1 teaspoon salt and some of the pepper. Cook and stir until the onions are softened and translucent. Stir in the bean puree, remaining can of beans, beef broth, pumpkin puree, and corn, tomatoes with green chilies, spices, and sherry vinegar. Mix until well blended,  I simmered for about an hour on a very low flame. Soup will thicken up nicely , if it is too thick you can add beef broth or water to thin out a bit.  Taste for Salt and Pepper, I added additional teaspoon of salt and pepper.

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!!!!  He loved the soup and it’s very filling. 

I use crispy tortillas if that’s what I have in the house. It is 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. Tonite I used soft tortillas.

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 also on my blog.

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) its a small sized can

1 15 oz. can of whole-kernel corn  – drained

32 ounces Chicken Broth

3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

4 cups hot water

2 cans Black Beans , drained and rinsed unless they’re organic and then you don’t have to rinse but I always do anyway

*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 — this step is optional as I have done it with and without it. It thickens it up which the soup doesn’t really need but it does add some flavor. It’s totally up to you.

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.