Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • Servings: 6
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We love to have a good pot of soup on the stove in the fall as the weather starts to get chilly. This Chicken Tortilla Soup has been in our recipe repertoire for many years now- it’s a go-to recipe that is the perfect mix of savory and spicy. It’s also very healthy and an easy way to get our veggies in when it’s cold out. If we are having friends over to watch a football game, we can up the ante and have lots of fun toppings to add over top. What starts out as a simple cup of soup can easily turn into a hearty meal with just a few toppings! We love to serve this soup with a batch of cornbread or crusty bread to dip into all of that spicy soup left at the bottom of the bowl.

Soup Ingredients

  • 1 package chicken breasts (about 1.3 lbs)
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and stem removed, diced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed (we used a roasted corn from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1- 28 oz can roasted tomatoes
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional Topping Ingredients

  • shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • tortilla strips
  • sour cream
  • chopped cilantro
  • diced green onions
  • sliced avocado

Directions

  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan and let it get nice and hot. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper and the paprika. Add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook for about 4 minutes per side, or until they are seared well. They will not be cooked through at this point, but remove from from the pan onto a plate.
  2. Add the yellow onion to the pan. If the pan is dry, go ahead and add an extra tbs of olive oil to prevent sticking. Saute for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion starts to caramelize. Add the garlic, jalapeno, cumin, and coriander to the pan, saute another 3 minutes.
  3. Add the black beans and corn to the pan. Toss to give it all a good coat. Add the roasted tomatoes, chicken broth, and chicken breasts back to the pan. Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
  4. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and remove the chicken breasts from the pot. Keep the liquid cooking on a low simmer while you shred or chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken back to the pot, stir to combine, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve the soup hot with any additional toppings.


Oktoberfest Pumpkin Chili

We love experimenting with pumpkin recipes in the fall, and surprisingly have ended up liking the renditions of savory dishes more than the sweet ones! We have been making versions of this pumpkin chili for years now, and this latest is our favorite yet. We have combined all things “October” in this hearty chili- Oktoberfest beer, a can of pumpkin, and lots of warming spices. The beer gives the chili a little punch and helps give it a rich taste. The pumpkin is a great way to add creaminess but keep everything healthy. We suggest buying an Oktoberfest beer versus a pumpkin beer, as sometimes pumpkin beers can be ultra sweet which doesn’t mix well with the rest of the recipe. Serve with any and all of your favorite chili toppings for an ultra-fall cozy night in!

Octoberfest Pumpkin Chili

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients for the Chili

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and stem removed, minced
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can white beans, drained
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 12 oz Octoberfest beer (we used a Bavarian lager)
  • salt, to taste

Optional Chili Toppings and Accompaniments:

  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/3 cup packed cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and stems removed, minced
  • Mexican cheese blend
  • roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
  • tortilla chips

Directions:

  1. Heat a large cast iron pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic to the pan. Sauté 4-5 minutes, or until the onions start to become translucent.
  2. Add the jalapeno, paprika, cumin, and red chili flakes to the pot. Toast the spices in the pan for about 3 minutes before adding the tomato paste. Mix in the tomato paste and let everything cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the both cans of beans and the pumpkin to the chili. Add the beer and stir well to combine, but not so rough that you start to break up the beans. Season the chili with salt. Bring the chili to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes uncovered, and then cover and cook another 20-30 minutes. If the chili seems too thick before you are ready to serve, you can add water or stock to bring it to the consistency of your liking. Season again with salt to taste.
  4. Serve the chili hot out of the pan with any of your favorite chili toppings.

Spicy Chickpea & Harissa Stew

We love soups and stews and get giddy when the temperature starts to get cooler and it is acceptable to eat soup most meals of the week. This recipe incorporates all of our favorite Middle Eastern ingredients into one hearty bowl. You can easily make this vegetarian or vegan by eliminating the shrimp and feta cheese without compromising the flavor. For those unfamiliar with harissa, harissa is a Moroccan pasta made with garlic, red pepper and oil. You can find this is most supermarkets or online through Thrive Market and Amazon.

Spicy Chickpea and Harissa Stew
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 15 minutes     Total Time: 45 minutes 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 cans chickpea, drained 
  • 3 tbs harissa paste
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp salt 
  • 28 oz can of tomato sauce 
  • 28 oz water (reuse the can!)
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined 

Optional Toppings:

  • feta
  • parsley or cilantro
  • pita

Directions 

  1. In a soup pot, turn the heat to medium and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the shallot and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. 
  2. Add the chickpeas, harissa, cumin and salt and saute for 2-3 minutes until the chickpeas are coated with all of the spices. If you like your food extra spicy, you can bump up the harissa from 3 to 4 tablespoons. 
  3. Add the tomato sauce and use the same can to add the water. This will help ensure you get all of the tomato juice out! 
  4. Bring the stew up to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. 
  5. Bring the heat back up to high and add the shrimp. Put the cover on the pot and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until the shrimp are completely cooked through. 
  6. Serve hot in a bowl and top with feta cheese, parsley and a side of your favorite pita! 

Cioppino

Summer means it is time for seafood and there is no better way to get a seafood fix than making cioppino. Cioppino is a seafood stew that originates in San Francisco- it has an Italian flavored tomato broth and can be made with just about any seafood you like. We like to go to the grocery store and see what is fresh and looks the best and plan our meal from there. For this version we used shrimp, cod, mussels and clams. You can use any type of fish (halibut, sea bass, even salmon) and other seafood ingredients like scallops, crab, or langoustines. It’s a light and filling summer dinner best served with a thick slice of sour dough bread.

Cioppino

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 whole lemon
  • 12 clams
  • 12 mussels
  • 12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 lb white fish – halibut, sea bass, or cod- cut into large, bite sized pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh basil, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Scrub the clams and mussels with a food brush to clean off any excess dirt or sea particles. Remove the beards from any mussels. Soak the clams and mussels in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes.
  2. While the seafood is soaking, heat a large Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter, swirling until melted. Add the garlic, white onion, and chili flakes to the pot. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions become translucent.
  3. Add the white wine to the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high and let the wine reduce by half. This should take about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and vegetable stock to the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Slice the lemon in half and add it to the sauce. Cover the pot and let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. After the 30 minutes has passed, remove the lemon from the sauce, carefully squeezing out any extra lemon juice, and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Add the clams to the pot, increase to medium-high heat, and cover to cook for 5-7 minutes. If you are using larger clams like little necks, go the full 7 minutes.
  5. While the clams are cooking, season the shrimp and fish with salt and pepper. After the 7 minutes has passed, add the mussels, fish, and shrimp to the pot. Do not stir, just layer everything in that order, and cover to cook for another 5-6 minutes. The dish is done when most of the clams and mussels are open and the fish is opaque and cooked through. When the fish is cooked through, give everything a gentle stir so that the shrimp and fish absorb some of the sauce.
  6. Serve each serving of cioppino with a few pieces of each type of fish and seafood and a generous helping of the sauce. Garnish with some fresh basil and serve with a slice of crusty sour dough toast.

Minestrone: Spring Edition

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Minestrone: Spring Edition

April 15, 2020|Soups, Stews, & Chili

We love a good soup recipe just about anytime of the year, but particularly when it’s snowing and we are in quarantine. This soup comes together quickly and only gets better as it sits on the stove. We made this recipe last week and started it mid morning; it was perfect by the time we were ready to eat lunch. Making every meal at home during quarantine has been a challenge! We love recipes like these that are quick, easy, & healthy to help keep us on track during the week. 

Minestrone: Spring Edition 
Makes: 4 entree servings 
Prep Time: 20 minutes   Total Time: 1 hour 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tbs olive oil 
  • 1 large leek, thinly sliced 
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (should be 2 large carrots, shredded) 
  • 4 stalks celery, diced 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 lemon, cut in half 
  • 2 cans cannelini beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 1 cup orzo 
  • 8 cups chicken stock 
  • 1 cup diced snap peas 
  • 3 cups shredded kale, stems removed 
  • 1/3 cup pesto 
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan along with the leeks, carrots, and celery. Saute for 4-5 minutes, or until the vegetables are starting to caramelize. Add the garlic and squeeze the lemon juice from the lemon into to the pan. Add the entire lemon and cook everything another 2 minutes. 
  2. Add the cannelini beans to the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes to give the beans a little color. If the vegetables start to stick to the bottom feel free to add another tablespoon or two of olive oil to the pot. At this point we like to season everything with salt and pepper to get the party started.  
  3. Add orzo to the pan. Saute for a few minutes to coat the orzo in all of the oil and aromatics. Add the 8 cups of chicken stock to the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until the orzo is al dente.
  4. Remove the lid from the soup and add the snap peas and kale to the pot. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes to wilt the kale. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Remove the lemon from the pot. Serve each bowl with a spoonful of pesto and parmesan cheese. 

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup

One of our favorite local restaurants for Chinese food is Shanghai Kitchen. For the untrained, Shanghai Kitchen is a good, standard Chinese restaurant. However, what most people don’t know is that Shanghai Kitchen actually has two different menus – one being filled with authentic Shanghainese cuisine. Throughout the years we have made friends with the restaurant staff and they have exposed us to new, amazing dishes. One of those dishes is the beef in chili oil. Our obsession with this dish inspired us to figure out how we can make new dishes within that same flavor profile. After experimenting a bit, we have come up with this spicy chicken noodle soup. Full of flavor and heat, this soup will warm you up on any cold night. We recommend making it in big batches as one bowl simply won’t be enough.

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 6 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 large chicken thighs
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups chili oil
  • 1 lb noodles (we used shells for this recipe but prefer udon)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • scallions for garnish, optional

Directions:

  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil to the pan along with the onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, or until the vegetables are starting to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes.
  2. Season the chicken thighs well with salt and pepper on both sides. Add the chicken thighs to the pan, creating room in the pan so that they have direct contact with the bottom of the pan. Cook for 4 minutes per side so that the chicken starts to brown and retains its juices.
  3. Add the chili oil and chicken stock to the pot. Bring the liquids up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the chicken thighs from the pot. Shred them with a fork or dice them with a knife and return the chicken back to the soup. Cook another 10 minutes covered and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. While the soup is in it’s final 10 minutes of cooking, bring a second pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles of your choice and cook according to package directions. Drain the noodles and add them to the soup. If you aren’t planning to eat the soup in one sitting, add the drained noodles to each serving of soup and top with chicken and broth. This will prevent the noodles from getting soggy if you eat the soup over the course of a few days. Top with chopped scallions before serving, if desired.

Avgolemono

This soup has been a staple in our homes for quite some time. We love this Greek lemon soup because it is simple to make, has a ton of flavor, and has become a comfort food for us, especially in the winter. We like to serve this as a starter or alongside pitas and Greek salad. If you are looking to serve it as an entree, this recipe can feed 2-3 large sized portions.

The creaminess of the soup comes from tempering eggs into the broth. The technique of tempering is to dilute the eggs with warm broth, gradually raising the temperature, so that the eggs integrate with the broth and don’t curdle. If you still aren’t sure what we mean, the result of incorrectly tempering is egg drop soup. Fun fact – this technique took us a little bit of time to master. We have had many a night where our Avgo soup has floating egg whites and we still love it anyway! We will walk you through it in detail below but don’t be afraid if you don’t nail it on your first try. A little cooked egg never hurt anyone. 

Avgolemono Soup
Makes: 4 servings 
Total Time: minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound orzo 
  • 8 cups water + 3 bouillon cubes (we used Bou)*
  • 3 lemons, juiced 
  • 2 eggs
  • dill 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

*Bou’s serving size is 1 cube per 2 cups of water. We like to add about 1/4 less bouillon than  suggested so that the soup isn’t over salted and season with salt and pepper at the end. 

Directions: 

  1. In a small pot, cook the orzo per the package instructions, al dente. We like to cook the orzo outside of the soup so that the orzo does not over cook if we don’t serve the soup right away. 
  2. While the orzo is cooking, put the water and bouillon in a large soup bot and bring to a boil. Stir until the bouillon is completely dissolved in the water. Add the lemon juice and bring the soup to a simmer.
  3. Temper the eggs. Start by scrambling the eggs in a bowl. While continuing to stir the eggs, use a ladle to add a bit of the broth to the bowl. Keep stirring until the broth is combined and repeat the process once more (stir, add broth, stir). After the second edition of broth, you are going to repeat the process but incorporate the eggs into your soup pot. Stir the soup and gently pour in your egg mixture. Voila! You now have a rich, creamy broth.
  4. Serve by adding 1 cup of orzo to a bowl and topping with the broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with fresh dill. 

Tuscan White Bean Soup

After a pretty mild winter, we have been hit nonstop with snow in Colorado for the last few days. When the weather changes and snow starts to fall, all we want to do is eat a big bowl of soup and binge Netflix on the couch. We love this recipe for Tuscan White Bean Soup because the recipe is pretty light and super easy to make. Minus the proscuitto and mascarpone, you likely have most of the ingredients in your refrigerator already. It is great as is, but also can be amped up with the Garlic Mascarpone Toast if you want to serve it for a dinner party. The toast is creamy and so decadent. While our directions listed below call for one toast per person, Tuck’s dad encourages you to double it- you’ll want at least two for each bowl of soup.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes      Cooking Time: 20 minutes         Total Time: 35 minutes6

Ingredients for Soup: 

  • 6 oz pancetta, sliced thick and diced
  • 1 large vidallia onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 stalks of celery, grated or diced
  • 2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium fresh sprigs of rosemary, left whole
  • 2 medium fresh sprig thyme, left whole
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 32 ounces chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tbs hot sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Mascarpone Toasts: 

  • 1 baguette, cut into 4 thick slices 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2 tbs olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese 
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves removed. 
  • salt and pepper 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Heat a large soup pot on low heat. Add the diced pancetta and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the fats start to cook out of the pancetta but it doesn’t brown excessively.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery to the pan. If it seems a little dry, add a drizzle of olive oil. Cook for another 4 minutes on medium heat, or until the vegetables start to become translucent and caramelized.
  4. Add the cannellini beans, rosemary, and thyme to the pot. Give the ingredients a big stir, and cook another few minutes.
  5. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Make sure to use a spatula to really scrape the bottom if any of the brown bits have started to stick.
  6. Add the chicken stock to the pot and cook for about 20 minutes on medium-low heat. The broth should stay at a very low simmer and not boil.
  7. While the soup is cooking, make the mascarpone toasts. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, garlic, and thyme to the pan. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the garlic is toasted brown but not burnt. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir the garlic and thyme oil into the 1/2 cup of mascarpone cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the mascarpone mix over each of the four baguette slices. Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes, or until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and set aside until ready to serve. 
  8. Remove the rosemary and thyme from the soup. Add the hot sauce and whisk in the mascarpone to create a creamy texture.
  9. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving. Serve each bowl with a slice of mascarpone toast. 

French Onion Soup

We recently went to dinner at a friend’s house to see him after he had spent time abroad in Paris. Having visited Paris last year, it was so great to reminisce about all of our respective Paris memories, and we were quickly reminded that we hadn’t recreated any of our favorite dishes since we returned. Inspired by the French Onion Soup our friend Stryker made, Tuck’s mom set out to create her version of the classic soup. We can’t think of a better way to warm up on a chilly winter day than a bowl of French Onion Soup and insanely cheesy Gruyere toast.

French Onion Soup

Makes: 4 entree servings, 6 appetizer servings

Cooking Time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

  • 5 large yellow onions
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 springs fresh thyme
  • 3 tbs flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 baguette
  • 2 tbs butter
  • Dijon mustard (optional)
  • shredded Gruyere cheese

Directions:

  1. Use a mandolin to slice the onions horizontally into thin slices. BE CAREFUL and always use the hand guard when using your mandolin!!
  2. Heat the 2 tbs of butter and 2 tbs olive oil in a large soup pot. When the butter is melted, add the onions to the pot. Sprinkle them with a bit of salt and toss well to coat them with the oil and butter. Now is the time to be patient. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the onions caramelize- this can take up to 90 minutes. Give the onions a good stir every 10 minutes or so, so that a new layer can reach the heat and start to brown. If the bottom of your pot is getting too brown, reduce the heat as necessary. The onions will be sweet and caramel colored when this step is complete.
  3. Add the Dijon, Worcestershire, and thyme to the pot. Add the flour and give everything a good stir, so that the flour gets incorporated with the onions. Increase the heat to medium and let the flour toast up and brown.
  4. Add the wine to the pot, stirring well until it is absorbed. Once the wine is absorbed, add the stock in batches, stirring between each until the liquid is completely absorbed. When all the stock has been added, increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil. Once the liquid is boiling, reduce the heat and cover.
  5. While you finish cooking the soup, turn your broiler onto high. Cut the baguette into large, thick slices. Lather each with butter, a pinch of salt and pepper, Dijon mustard (optional if you like mustard), and cover with the shredded Gruyere cheese. Place on a cookie sheet and cook under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and browned.
  6. Pour the soup into bowls and place a Gruyere toast on top. Serve immediately.

Cure Your Cold Congee

We don’t know about you, but our family has been hit HARD this year with winter illnesses. Tate’s younger brother started daycare and we are battling everything from a cold to hand foot and mouth disease (gross!). To help combat some of these germs, we we have created one of our favorite dishes, congee, with an emphasis on ingredients that benefit the immune system.

For those not familiar, congee is a Chinese rice dish that is prepared by essentially overcooking rice until it becomes a porridge. Little pork dumplings are cooked in the rice giving the congee texture, fat and flavor. This dish is warming, filling and super tasty. We have incorporated ginger, garlic, lemongrass and turmeric to help boost our immune systems. We need all the help we can get people!


Cure Your Cold Congee

Makes: 4 bowls

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients For the Congee:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 inches ginger, minced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • cilantro & green onions (optional garnish)

Ingredients For the Pork:

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp lemongrass turmeric paste (found here)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha hot sauce

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the pork ingredients in a bowl and set aside
  2. In a soup pot, heat the olive oil and add the garlic and ginger. Sautee for 5 minutes until the garlic and ginger start to soften.
  3. Add the uncooked rice to the pot and stir for 1 minute to toast the rice a little. Add the broth and soy sauce and simmer on medium heat. Keep stirring the rice every 10 minutes or so as the consistency of the congee starts to thicken.
  4. After about 40 minutes of cooking, you will add the pork to the congee in small increments. You can choose to make meatballs if you prefer, but the way we like to do it is by using a teaspoon to scoop up the pork and put it in the pot. Repeat until all of the pork “meatballs” are in the congee. Cook for another 15 minutes until the pork is cooked through. **
  5. Serve hot and top with cilantro and green onions as desired. For those who want spicier, get crazy with the siracha or sambal oelek. It’s your congee – do what you gotta do!

**If at any point the congee becomes too thick, add 1/2 cup of hot water and continue as directed