Lazy in the kitchen, that is! Though not like you may think. Any self-respecting college student would spend finals week surviving off of Chipotle burritos, Chik-Fil-A, Dominos Pizza, and if you’re on the eastern seaboard, Wawa hoagies (ohmygodyes!). I, personally, am working and studying and maintaining a “normal” human being life this week, so my theme is going to be *drumroll* Fix-N-Forget. That’s right, something I can put together and walk away from, thus giving me precious time to actually study. I have two papers to write, four finals left to take, a test to make up and a slew of normal assignments, so as much as I’d love to stand in the kitchen cooking my heart out, it’s just not possible.
But that doesn’t mean I have to break the bank or pack in the calories. So bring out your dutch ovens and crock pots – it’s finals week.
I have a confession to make…I spent most of the afternoon in my chair at work browsing recipes on allrecipes, Pioneer Woman, and wherever else the lords of Google chose to take me. Not that I wasn’t working, mind you – just that when you’re scanning paperwork and waiting for images to decompress in Adobe, there is a lot of down time. Truth be told, I also had a study guide sitting on my keyboard which I was reading over…and over…and over again during the day while I did arbitrary tasks that required little brainpower.
I tossed some chicken from the freezer into the fridge this morning before I left, but our fridge is too cold to thaw it completely, and I knew it would still be frozen when I got home. I also knew I had an ass-ton of work to do tonight for finals, and was slowly starting to panic over what to make for dinner that wouldn’t be extremely time consuming…and then I stumbled over a recipe for chicken tortilla soup. CROCK POT…chicken tortilla soup. And that’s when it hit me – buy the ingredients, throw them in the pot, let the homework begin! I browsed over many different recipes and compulsively read a few hundred of the thousands of comments on the recipe I thought I’d choose. And as I did so, I realized that I didn’t really wanna follow that recipe to the T. But I would use it for a base. Especially since most of the ingredients were things I had laying around my house anyway. Easy-peasy.
So, on my way home from work, I flew by the grocery store, grabbed a few things, came home, and quite literally tossed all the ingredients into a pot. As I write this, the smell is absolutely permeating the apartment (wait, what? I’m not doing homework? No, I’m taking a break for a few minutes.) and I am desperately hoping that the Ryan, in all his California-superior-taste-buds glory will approve of this TexMex-ish recipe and eat the everliving daylights out of it. As someone who traveled to Mexico quite frequently during his tenure in Cali, I try very hard to get as close to authentic as I can for him, to remind him of home. 🙂
Behold, chicken tortilla soup:
Ingredients: Cilantro (2 tbls, fresh chopped), Salt (1 & 1/2 tsp), Pepper (1 & 1/2 tsp), Chili Powder (1 & 1/2 tsp), Cayenne Pepper (1/4 tsp), Cumin (1 & 1/2 tsp), Red Onion, chopped, Bay Leaves (2), Mexican Oregano (2 tsp), Red Enchilada Sauce (10 oz can), Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles (10 oz can), Pinto Beans (small can, drained – many recipes called for black beans, but pinto is the Ryan’s favorite), Tomato Paste (6 oz), Chicken Stock (2 cups), Corn (2 ears, kernels cut off the cob), garlic (6 cloves). Also, 4 breasts of frozen or thawed chicken. Mine was frozen, and I just popped it into the pot. I used a stock pot instead of the crockpot because I did not have enough time to let it sit for 4-5 hours as the recipes I had looked at suggested. I got home around 6 p.m. which only left me a few hours before bed. This way, I was able to make this in a much shorter time frame but still leave it for more than an hour so I could work.
Add the enchilada sauce, beans (remember to drain them), tomato paste, chicken stock, diced tomatoes & chiles, onions and garlic on top of the chicken and stir well.Turn on the heat to low and let it start warming up to cook the chicken.
Next, add the Mexican oregano, salt, pepper, cilantro, cumin, cayenne, bay leaves and chili powder.
Stir to incorporate and then turn the heat up. Bring to a boil for about a minute before turning the heat back to low and covering. Simmer for about an hour and 15 minutes.
About 30 minutes into the cooking process, I took the chicken out, popped it in the freezer for about 5 minutes, and then hand shredded it. If you have any tiny cuts on your fingers that you don’t know about, you will certainly find them while doing this! 😛 Stir it back into the pot and continue to let simmer about 20 additional minutes.
For garnish, I used sour cream, cheddar cheese, juice of half a lime in each bowl, a pinch of fresh cilantro and avocado (cubed, 1/2 in each bowl). I forgot to picture the tortillas here, but I bought corn tortillas and crumbled them up into the soup – hence chicken tortilla soup!
And voila! Chicken tortilla soup. 🙂 Complete with study time! Bon appetite!
P.S. – The Ryan really enjoyed this, and said it was very very good. *FLEX* Allriiight. 😉
EDIT: I worked out the calories per serving in THIS post. Have a look!