Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

The morning is half over and my whole family is still wearing pajamas. Yay for snow days! But since  it’s dreadful and cold outside, I need something hot and satisfying to fill our bellies. I decided that we should head south of the border tonight and enjoy some Mexican fare, so today I am sharing my recipe for chicken tortilla soup.  This recipe is simple and easy (and note– it freezes well, too!) and you can definitely vary the spiciness of the dish, depending how much heat your mouth can withstand.

I am sharing my basic recipe for this soup, but feel free to add any of the following to the pot for additional spice. I would recommend only picking one or two of these things as each one packs a punch:

1/2 t. cayenne pepper OR

1 chopped jalapeno pepper OR

1 t. Tabasco sauce

You can also decorate your chicken tortilla soup in a variety of ways. Try sprinkling some fresh, chopped cilantro on top, or a few slices of avocado. If the spice is more than you anticipated, cut it with some shredded monterey jack cheese or a dollop of sour cream.  Most restaurants serve this soup with tortilla strips– you can crumble regular tortilla chips on top for the same effect. Or just like an old scantron test, you can select E. All of the Above (that’s the correct answer!!)

We might be skating on the lawn and building a snowman on the porch, but at dinner tonight, we’ll all be saying “Ole!”

1 28 oz. can petite diced tomatoes

2 10 oz. cans diced tomatoes with green chiles

1 15 oz. can sweet corn, no salt added (drained)

1 lb. frozen chicken breasts or tenders

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 T. chopped fresh cilantro

1 bay leaf

1 t. chili powder

1 t. cumin

1/2 t. black pepper

1/2 t. salt

Put all ingredients in crock pot and stir so that the spices mingle with all of the solid foods. Cook on low for 6 hours. Remove chicken, shred it and then put back in crock pot for one hour. Serve with any of the additional spices or toppings outlined above.

Crock Pot Vegetarian Fiesta

After a great weekend away, it’s nice to be back home to cook. But surprise!! Company for dinner tonight. I haven’t had a chance to go to the grocery store yet, so I need to whip up something for dinner that is tasty and unique without needing a separate shopping list.

Here’s one of my secrets– I always have tortillas in the refrigerator as a quick fix (think… chicken quesadillas, deli wraps, flatbread pizzas) and I also keep random cans of food in the pantry. Voila! Dinner is served. Seriously, it’s just that easy. Try stocking your kitchen with some of these easy ingredients and next time you have last minute guests, you’ll have a great meal to serve. Enjoy!

2 15 oz. cans of black beans, drained and rinsed

2 10 oz. cans of diced tomatoes with green chiles

1 15 oz. can corn kernels, drained

1 10 oz. can of enchilada sauce

1 lb. bag of frozen mixed pepper strips

1 t. cumin

1 t. dried oregano

1/2 t. black pepper

Pour all canned ingredients and seasonings into crock pot and stir together.  Add frozen peppers and stir again. Cook on low for 3-4 hours. Use this as a filling for soft tortillas, serve it on white rice as an entree or on top of shredded lettuce as a salad.

Crock Pot Mozzarella Dip

Summer is a great time for backyard BBQs, gathering with friends and family and enjoying lots of tasty treats. Here is a great recipe that is quick and easy to make, but everyone loves to enjoy! Serve this in the crock pot so that it stays hot and creamy. Accompany this spicy crowd-pleaser with crackers, pull-apart bread or just some cool, crisp veggies. Enjoy!

1 lb. mozzarella cheese, cubed

1 c. mayonnaise

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 t. paprika

2 t. Worcestershire sauce

1 4-oz. can chopped green chiles (NOT DRAINED)

Coat crock pot in non-stick spray. Combine all ingredients in separate bowl, mix well. Pour into crock pot and cook on low for 2-3 hours. Serve hot.

Looking for some more flare?? Try adding 1/2 c. crisp bacon bits or a few shakes of Tabasco to add more flavor to this cheesy appetizer.

Crock Pot Vegetarian Chicken Chili

Did you catch the title?? Does it sound like a contradiction to say “vegetarian” and then “chicken” in the same meal?! It is not. Thanks to modern day culinary creativity, I can make chicken chili for friends that don’t want to eat meat.  This is a pretty easy recipe, but I like that it is a crowd pleaser and still meets certain dietary limitations.

Give this chicken chili a try next time you host a friend that is vegetarian or keeps kosher– they will be so happy that you honored their wishes and still served tasty dishes. (yes, that rhyme was intentional.) And don’t think this meal is for light weights—  you can serve this at your next party or sporting event and even the men will be raving about your soup– it’s spicy, it’s filling and everyone will enjoy!

4 c. vegetarian chicken broth

2 cans great northern beans (do not drain)

1 4 oz can diced green chiles (do not drain)

1/2 green pepper, chopped

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2 c. frozen corn

1 T. parsley

1 T. chili powder

1 t. oregano

1/2 t. cumin

1/2 t. paprika

1/2 t. cayenne pepper

1/2 t. black pepper

1 package Morning Star Farms chicken strips**

Put everything in the crock pot except for the chicken strips. Stir together and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Add the frozen chicken strips and cook for one hour more. You can divide the chicken strips up into small pieces once they are cooked through.


Crock Pot Enchiladas

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  This is a really easy recipe for enchiladas– you buy the sauce already made and a handful of other ingredients. When you put it all together it tastes authentic and just the right balance of flavors and spice. I always keep a bag of flour tortillas in the refrigerator, so even though enchiladas are traditionally made with corn tortillas, I’m going to use the ones I already have. 

Enchiladas are pretty much a corn (maize) tortilla wrapped around any variety of fillings, including meats, potato, seafood, vegetables, cheese, beans or any combination of these, covered in a red chili sauce. The Spanish word “enchilado” means spicy or hot, but that doesn’t mean that your taste needs to be extreme. You can add intensity with jalapenos or Tabasco if you’d like to crank it up a bit.  This dish is also a great way to get your family to fill up on protein and you can use shredded beef or chicken if you prefer it over ground meat.

I suggest serving this dish with some Spanish rice or refried beans and some shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and a dollop of sour scream.  And if you serve dinner and request “dos cervezas, por favor”, I say cheers to you and enjoy your celebration!

1 lb ground turkey

1 medium onion, sliced thin

1 can diced green chiles

1/2 c. salsa

3 T. olive oil

10 tortillas (corn is traditional, flour ones still work)

1 can enchilada sauce

1 c. shredded colby jack cheese

2 T.  jalapenos (from the jar)

Heat olive oil in a separate pan and brown meat until crumbled and cooked throughout. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add green chiles and salsa to mixture and stir, turn off heat. Pour a little enchilada sauce into the crock pot, just enough to coat the bottom. Roll 2-3 T of meat mixture in each tortilla and then place each one in separately, seam-side down (this works easiest in an oval shaped crock pot). Cover tortillas with remaining enchilada sauce, then the cheese and then sprinkle with the jalapenos. Cook on low for 3-4 hours. Ole!!