Chicken Tortilla Soup

The past two weeks, northern Michigan had been getting pummeled with snow & very cold temperatures (I’m feeling for you all in the Northeast, though – two feet of snow absolutely sucks wherever you live. Stay warm!). This soup is a week overdue, as both my husband and I were laid up with colds…and had I actually made this last week when we were sick, I bet we would’ve recovered quicker.

I like easy dinners on Friday nights; if Mike is home, it’s often out to happy hour for a drink & small plates to share. If he’s working, I often get lazy and order take-out. We were both exhausted yesterday after a very long week, and we didn’t feel like going out anywhere. Thus, the soup. It only took about a half hour; five minutes of prep and 25 minutes of boiling/waiting. The results were delicious and made great leftovers for today’s lunch.

Chicken Tortilla Soup – adapted from Rescue Chef

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 4-oz can diced green chiles
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • salt & pepper – to taste
  • chili powder, paprika, & cumin – to taste
  • cilantro – to taste
  • Toppings: Monterey Jack cheese, hot sauce, avocado, grilled tortilla strips, tortilla chips…you name it
  1. In a stockpot, heat oil. Add onions & cook until they begin to soften.
  2. Add chiles & garlic, and saute for about 30 seconds. Add broth & vegetables, and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer  & add the chicken breasts. Add spices (about a dash of each). Cook for about 20-25 minutes until fully cooked through.
  4. Remove chicken from soup & place on plate or small bowl. Shred chicken (I used two forks & shredded right away) and add back to stockpot.
  5. Add cilantro. Let simmer for 5 more minutes, then serve in bowls topped with cheese.
Great leftovers on a Saturday afternoon

Great leftovers on a Saturday afternoon

Had I not been as sleepy and lazy, I probably would have made a few quesadillas to go with this meal. You can also make this a meatless meal by adding black or pinto beans instead of the chicken.

The original recipe recommends topping with avocado and grilled tortilla strips. It also recommends adding lime juice to the soup. Next time I plan on at least having the limes handy – that would have made this soup even better. I added a cheddar-pepper jack cheese blend and hot sauce to my soup – I really wanted to have a spicy kick!

For a lazy Friday night (and Saturday morning), this soup really fit the bill. Especially if it’s *very* cold outside.

**This recipe was shared on Homemade Mondays, Week 16 at Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity**

Chicken Fajita Quinoa Bowl

This recipe was one that I sort of threw together on a whim. I was in the mood for fajitas, but didn’t have enough shells. I also have an abundant supply of quinoa in my pantry. Since I’m a huge fan of one-bowl dinners, I figured that this one would be a winner.

If you’ve never cooked with quinoa before, don’t panic! It has a similar cooking time& style to rice. I make it in my rice cooker, using a similar ratio of water to grain (2:1). It also reheats very, very well – much better than rice. The only catch is that you need to rinse it before boiling, or else it will have a bitter taste to it.

The leftovers are good on their own, as well as in a stray tortilla shell.

Chicken Fajita Quinoa Bowls

  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 1 pepper, your choice of red or green (I used red)
  • 1 onion, your choice of red or yellow (I used red)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • taco seasoning – I used Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming blend. You can also use your own favorite taco/fajita seasoning.
  • 2 cups quinoa, cooked – make sure you start cooking the quinoa about 15 minutes before you start the chicken!
  • your favorite taco fixin’s
  1. Heat oil in pan. Add pepper & onion.
  2. Once they are tender, add garlic and chicken. Cook until chicken is no longer pink, adding spices to the pan as time goes on.
  3. Once chicken is cooked, remove from heat.
  4. In a bowl, layer as follows: Quinoa, fajita mixture, taco fixin’s.
  5. EAT.

Easy peasy deliciousness.

Beef or pork can easily be used instead of chicken. Truthfully, you could even eat this sans meat, as quinoa is chock-full of protein. And, as I said before…oh-so-EASY!

Enchilada Sauce

Enchiladas are my favorite dish to order at a Mexican restaurant, and I’ve tried (several times) to make a decent batch at home. Every aspect has always tasted delicious, except for the sauce. Pre-made enchilada sauce can often taste really…plasticky. I’ve read recipes online, but had ever actually tried them, as I figured they’d take too much time. Boy, was I wrong.

This week I made a quick and easy mexican chicken dish that I found from Pinterest. This was the perfect sauce and consistency for the dish and I’m so glad that I (finally) went out on a limb and tried this. You won’t be disappointed.

Enchilada Sauce – adapted slightly from Emeril Lagasse

  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 c. chili powder
  • 2 c. chicken stock
  • 12 oz tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt, to taste
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the oil. Add the flour & whisk together; cook for 1 min.
  2. Add chili & stock; mix together and cook for 1 min.
  3. Add all other ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 min.
  4. Serve immediately. Store the rest in the refrigerator, or freeze in a plastic container for another time.

I used almost all organic ingredients for this sauce, and I feel that it showed in the flavor. If I can help it, I will never buy canned enchilada sauce ever again. It is extremely, extremely easy to make your own, and it tastes so much better!