TORTILLA SOUP

 

Does it seem like I’ve been visiting the Pioneer Woman’s site a lot lately? I have made a lot of her recipes in the past couple of weeks. Maybe it’s because she has a lot of good Mexican food and comfort food recipes and that’s what I crave when the weather gets cold. I saw this recipe for tortilla soup the other day and knew I had to try it. It’s really tasty. Matthew, who never eats anything, had two bowls, and Andrew asked to take it to school for lunch the next day. I call that a success. It’s a little bit time consuming, but most of that is hands-off work. It has to simmer for a while. I think you could easily make this in the crock pot and add the tortilla strips a few minutes before you’re ready to serve it. I topped mine with cheese, sour cream, and fresh avocado. Yum!

Tortilla Soup

2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1-½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. diced onion
¼ c. diced green bell pepper
¼ c. red bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chiles
32 oz., fluid low sodium chicken stock
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
4 c. hot water
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tbsp. cornmeal
5 whole corn tortillas, cut into 2 to 3 inch strips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix. Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir. Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.

Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed—add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips. Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, and/or grated cheese.

Source: The Pioneer Woman; Photo also courtesy of the Pioneer Woman (I forgot to take a picture again. Doh!)

THE MOST AMAZING ENCHILADAS

I love Mexican food. I make a it a lot at home because my family likes it and I find that most of it is pretty easy to make. The boys are really partial to burritos. Jason would eat anything as long as it was wrapped up in a tortilla, and Andrew is pretty much the same way. I’ve made the Pioneer Woman’s burritos and chicken enchiladas before, and I also noticed the beef enchiladas and have been meaning to make them for a while. I’m so glad I finally did. These are spectacular! They are fantastic left over too. I made one pan of a dozen and had plenty of meat and sauce left over for another pan (I used small white corn tortillas), but I used the leftovers to make my easy burritos the next day instead. I did not use the black olives or green onions in my enchiladas, simply because I didn’t have any, and they were still amazing without them. These enchiladas are a little bit time consuming, but SO worth it. I had to borrow the Pioneer Woman’s photo becaues they didn’t last long enough for me to get a picture. Try them this weekend. You’ll be glad you did.

Beef Enchiladas

Sauce:
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 Tbsp. flour
3 7 3/4 oz. cans El Pato Mexican tomato sauce
2 c. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. finely chopped cilantro1-½ pound Ground Beef

Meat:
1 1/2 to 2 lbs. ground beef
1 onion, finely diced
2 4 oz. cans diced green chiles
1/2 tsp. salt

Tortillas:
12 to 14 white corn tortillas
1/2 c. canola oil

To assemble:
3 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
1/2 c. chopped black olives, optional
1 c. chopped green onions, optional

To make the sauce:
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and flour and whisk together to make a paste, cooking for one minute. Pour in the red sauce, chicken broth, cilantro, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To make the meat:
Brown the meat with onions and green chiles in a skillet. Drain off fat. Season with salt and set aside.

To make the tortillas:
Heat canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. One by one, using tongs, fry tortillas in oil until soft and pliable, but not crisp – about 30 seconds per side. Remove to a paper—towel lined plate. Repeat until all tortillas have been fried.

To assemble:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking pan lightly with non-stick spray. Dip each tortilla into red sauce, then remove to work surface. Spoon meat, a little grated cheese, a little black olives and green onions, if using, in the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place, seam down, in baking pan. Repeat until pan is filled. Pour extra red sauce over enchiladas to cover. You may not use all the sauce, but you can use the rest for another pan of enchiladas depending on how much meat you have left over.  Top with remaining cheddar cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle cilantro over enchiladas and top with sour cream, if desired, before serving.

Source: Adapted from The Pioneer Woman. Photo also courtesy of The Pioneer Woman.

CHICKEN ENCHILADA CHOWDER

I love crock pot soups and they are great meals for fall and winter. I have a lot of these types of recipes that are my staples, because they are so easy to throw together and they taste delicious. Most taste even better the next day, so I  usually put the leftovers in several small tupperware containers and take them to work for lunch.

When my mom told me about this crock pot soup recipe, I knew I needed to try it. It was super easy to make and the family really liked it. It tastes just like chicken enchiladas! I will definitely add this one to my crock pot soup rotation. If you use the Mexican tomato sauce and the pepper jack cheese, it’s a bit spicy, so if you want to tone it down a little, you can use mild enchilada sauce and/or plain jack cheese instead.

Chicken Enchilada Chowder

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 10-ounce package frozen whole kernel corn
I small onion, chopped
1 small bell pepper, chopped
2 small cans El Pato Mexican tomato sauce or 1 10-ounce can enchilada sauce
1 10.75-ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded Pepperjack cheese (4 ounces)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
4 chicken breasts (can still be frozen)

In a crock pot, combine drained beans, tomatoes, corn, onion, and bell pepper. Top with chicken breasts. In a large bowl, whisk together enchilada sauce or Mexican tomato sauce and soup. Gradually whisk in milk until smooth. Pour sauce mixture over ingredients in cooker.

Cover; cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.

Remove chicken from crock pot and shred. Add chicken back into soup. Stir in shredded cheeses until melted just before serving. Serve with crushed tortilla chips and avocado or sour cream, if desired.

Source: Adapted from Taste and Tell

MEXICAN CHICKEN CASSEROLE

I am so sorry I have been gone for so long. Life has been hectic around my house. We had a garage sale this past Saturday and I have been consumed with cleaning out my cabinets, closets, and attic and trying to figure out how to get a 16 foot trailer full of my junk priced in just a week. Yuck. On top of that, my kiddo has had the stomach bug, which let me tell you, is about as fun as having a garage sale. I have some posts ready so I will try to get those up on a more regular basis than I have been posting. I’ve got some yummy stuff to share with you, this recipe included. So, without further adieu…

When I first saw this recipe on Annie’s Eats, I wasn’t sure about it. It looked really good, but I’m very weird about food texture, and I wasn’t sure if I would like the texture of this casserole. However, I was needing a quick and easy meal for dinner and I had all the ingredients for this on hand, so I thought we’d try it. I’m so glad we did! The whole family loved it, and so did I. Though the tortilla chips are soaked in chicken broth, there is no soggy texture to this dish. We had it left over the next day and it was even better. This is a delicious 30 minute meal that I will make over and over again.

Chicken Tortilla Casserole

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied into halves (4 halves total)
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tbsp. minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1¾ c. chicken broth
5 c. tortilla chips, broken into large pieces
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 oz. Mexican blend cheese, shredded
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:
Pat the chicken breast halves dry and season with salt and pepper.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken to the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides (chicken does not need to be fully cooked at this point.)  Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add the remaining oil, onion, garlic, chipotle, and ¼ teaspoon of salt.  Cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the chicken broth, scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and bring to a simmer. Stir in half of the tortilla chips.  Nestle the chicken into the broth and cook over medium-low heat until cooked through (reading 160° F on an instant-read thermometer), about 10 minutes.  Transfer the cooked chicken pieces to a cutting board and shred into bite-sized pieces when it is cool enough to handle.

Return the shredded chicken to the skillet with the Rotel, black beans, ½ cup of the shredded cheddar cheese, and 1 tablespoon of the cilantro.  Stir in the other half of the tortilla chips until they are incorporated and moistened.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and place the pan under the broiler until the cheese is melted and browning, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Top with remaining cilantro and serve, allowing the casserole to cool 5 minutes before serving.

Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats