Fried Chicken

Tags

, ,

In all my years growing up and more recently, the past several years developing my passion for cooking – I have never made fried chicken!  For some reason, I got the crazy idea of making it the other day and my family was more than happy about it!

A couple of years ago Rob bought me a cast iron skillet for Christmas.  It is a great tool to use for making fried chicken.  The cast iron distributes heat evenly and helps maintain the temperature of the oil.  This helps the chicken become more crispy and prevents the chicken from absorbing too much of the oil.  Really greasy fried chicken is usually the result of the temperature of the oil being too low and the chicken spending more time than necessary in the oil cooking.

It’s also important once the chicken is cooked to remove it from the oil and place it on a cooling rack where air can circulate around it.  Even immediately removing it from the heat, it is still slightly cooking and releasing steam.  If you place it on a paper towel or a plate, there is no place for this steam to go and it prevents that area from staying crispy.  With the cooling rack, air can circulate around the food and it doesn’t get soggy from absorbing the steam.  This is crucial in maintaining the crispyness everyone has come to love about fried chicken.

Now it was time to find a recipe.  I searched through a few and found some things I liked and disliked about them.  I knew I wanted it to be flavorful and well seasoned, but what combination of seasonings would be best.  I finally came across Alton Brown’s Fried Chicken recipe and really liked the flavor profile.  So I gave it a shot.  My family loved it.  Thank you Alton Brown for this amazing recipe!

Fried Chicken

1 broiler chicken, cut into 8 pieces (2 wings, 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 breasts)
2 cups low fat buttermilk
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. Hungarian paprika (I used the more common Spanish paprika, as that’s what I had on hand)
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Flour, for dredging (seasoned with additional salt, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper)
Oil or vegetable shortening for frying

1).  Place chicken pieces into a plastic container and cover with buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
2).  Melt enough shortening (over low heat) or pour enough oil to come just 1/3-inch up the side of a 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy fry pan. Once shortening liquefies raise heat to 325 degrees F.  Do not allow oil to go over 325 degrees F.
3). Drain chicken in a colander. Combine salt, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Liberally season chicken with this mixture. Dredge chicken in seasoned flour and shake off excess.
4). Place chicken skin side down into the pan. Put thighs in the center, and breast and legs around the edge of the pan. The oil should come half way up the pan. Cook chicken until golden brown on each side, approximately 10 to 12 minutes per side. More importantly, the internal temperature should be right around 160 degrees. (Be careful to monitor oil/shortening temperature every few minutes.)
5).  Drain chicken on a rack over a sheet pan. Don’t drain by setting chicken directly on paper towels or brown paper bags. If you need to hold the chicken before serving, cover loosely with foil but avoid holding in a warm oven, especially if it’s a gas oven.

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown.

Advertisements

Bean Salad

Tags

, ,

When I was growing up,  my family would get together numerous times throughout the summer.  It was always a variety of foods – burgers and hot dogs, sometimes it was grilled chicken, but no matter what the occasion, my cousin Merinda always made her Three Bean Salad and I LOVED it!!!!  It was so good.  Cold, light, and refreshing – a perfect side dish for a hot summer day.

Now that I’m hosting gatherings at my home, I’ve added it to my menu listing of summer foods and I love sharing it at our summer barbecues.  My cousin always used to make hers with three beans – red kidney beans, chick peas (garbanzo beans), and white cannellini beans.  I added green beans to mine to give it a little pop of color and some more texture.  The recipe adds a little bit of sugar which gives it a mild sweetness.  Start with a little and add more as you feel you need to suit your tastes.  It’s a great protein options for vegetarians attending your gathering and a healthy alternative to those creamy salads as well.

Bean Salad

1 can chick peas/garbanzo beans, drained
1 can cannellini beans, drained
1 can red kidney beans, drained
1 can green beans, drained
3 -4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/3 cup Rice Vinegar
1-2 tsp. granulated sugar
1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
To taste, oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt & pepper

1.)  Make a vinaigrette with olive oil, vinegar, sugar, garlic, herbs, and seasonings.
2.)  Pour over drained beans.  Gently mix well to coat beans.
3.)  Marinate at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.
4.)  Serve cold.

`

Cannoli Cookies

Tags

, ,

One of my favorite dessert treats is a cannoli.  I often make them to accompany our collection of cookies for the Christmas holidays.  (Here is my recipe for cannolis.)

Traditional cannolis are filled with a sweet, creamy filling with a ricotta cheese base.  They usually contain cinnamon, sometimes some orange zest, chocolate chips, and/or pistachios.  This cookie recipe really sticks to traditional cannoli flavors and it is amazing how much like cannolis they really taste.

I found this recipe on a complete whim while searching the internet one day for cookie recipes to make for the Christmas holidays.  Every Christmas, our family spends a day baking holiday cookies for Christmas dessert.  We make sugar cookie cutouts and chocolate chip cookies.  I was looking to do something a little bit different and was on the hunt for something new to add.  When I found this recipe I was intrigued.  How much like a cannoli can it really taste?  Well, there was only one way to find out!  Fortunately, I had all of the ingredients at home and decided to give it a try.

These came out amazing.  They are insanely addicting.  No – you can’t stop at just one.  Or two.  Or three.  Well, maybe three.  But that’s only because I’ve been working at losing weight and I really didn’t want to sabotage my efforts!  I’m sure I could have eaten more!!

These cookies are incredibly moist, light, fluffy, and slightly-cake like in texture.  It is literally like eating a cloud (with incredible flavor!).  This recipe called for chopped pistachios, but I opted not to include them (I don’t like nuts in my sweets!).  It also called for melted chocolate to be drizzled on the cookies after they have cooled.  Another step I did not do.  Truthfully, I just forgot.  I was making so many cookies and 1) I dumped in the entire bag into the dough (see you should always read the recipes through first!) and 2) I took these out to cool and just spaced it!  It didn’t seem to matter, because I think they still turned out great!  The creaminess of the ricotta, the sweetness of the chocolate chips, and the subtle hints of cinnamon and orange made this cookie an incredible bite!

So, instead of regular cannolis this year, we had cannoli cookies instead.  And nobody missed the regular cannolis!  If you like cannolis, you will love this new twist on an Italian classic!  Enjoy!

Cannoli Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. fresh orange zest
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups all purpose flour
1 10 oz. bag mini chocolate chips

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy.  Mix in the eggs and then ricotta cheese until well combined.  Add in the vanilla extract, cinnamon, and orange zest.
  2. Add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.  Next add in the flour.  Stir in the bag of chocolate chips.  Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least one hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease.
  4. Drop about 1 1/2 Tbsp. of cookie dough for each cookie spacing about 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake cookies at 375 degrees F for about 8-11 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.  Remove from oven and cool completely.
 Recipe adapated from snappygourmet.com

Find me on Facebook!

After following numerous recipe pages on Facebook, it finally dawned on me… “hey, I should do that.”  Well, I finally did it.  I now officially have a Facebook page for my blog recipes.  I’ll be posting some oldies (but goodies), and of course new recipes as I blog about them.  I hope you’ll take a moment to like my page.  You can click here to be connected to my Facebook page.

If you are unable to be connected as above, please enter the following web address to be directed to my page:

https://www.facebook.com/asymphonyinthekitchen/

Thanks for “liking” my page.

Happy Cooking!

Christine

Rigatoni Pie

Tags

, , ,

So for months I had been seeing this pasta entrée going around Facebook and frequently would just pass it by.  Meh.  I thought to myself.  But it kept showing up in my news feed – over and over and over again.  Hmmmm.  This is obviously popular.  OK I’ll bite (no pun intended).  I’m referring to the Rigatoni Pie that you may have seen going around the internet.  It is made in a springform pan and the rigatoni stands vertically in the pan and is covered with sauce and cheese.  In pictures it looks delicious and being Italian, I had to give it a try.

So, I grabbed my springform pan and boiled up some rigatoni.  I mixed in a little tomato sauce and then began assembling the pie standing the rigatoni vertically in the pan.  I found it difficult, truthfully.  The pasta just kept falling over.  Usually when I make rigatoni, I mix in a little ricotta cheese with it (and boy do my kids go crazy over it!).  So I decided that would be my “glue.”  I mixed in some ricotta cheese and it helped the pasta stick to each other and allowed me to be able to fill up the pan.  I squeezed in as much pasta as I could.  Then I covered the top with sauce and a big layer of shredded mozzarella cheese.  Then into the oven it went to bake and get nice and bubbly and brown.

A lot of people prefer meat in their pasta dishes.  My older cousin is a strict vegetarian, so growing up our Italian family always made meat dishes on the side.  Meatballs, chicken cutlet parmigiana, sausage and peppers, etc.  Everything was served separate from any pasta dish.  Our baked ziti and lasagna dishes never had meat in them and because of that I still can’t bring myself to like lasagna served at restaurants since they fill them up with meat!  It’s what you get used to.  So, I never make my pasta dishes with meat.  You can use ground beef in this recipe if you’d like, but I chose to make it without.  I also really didn’t follow a particular recipe.  I just took the main ingredients and combined them how I wanted.  It’s a flexible recipe that you can really make your own.  Don’t like tomato sauce, try pesto.  Don’t want ricotta cheese, use a meat sauce.  The possibilities are endless!

It’s a little bit of effort to assemble, but it’s worth the reactions you’ll get from your family or guests when you release that springform pan.  My kids were in awe and I should have taken an “after” picture – because there was none left!  I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as mine has!

Rigatoni Pasta Pie

1 9″ springform pan, lightly oiled
1 lb. rigatoni pasta, cooked al dente
1 8 oz. container ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp. parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
4-6 cups tomato sauce (reserve some for final plates)

  1. Combine the cooked pasta with about a 1/2 cup of tomato sauce and the ricotta cheese.  Mix well.
  2. Place a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the springform pan.  Begin tightly packing the rigatoni in the springform pan, standing the pasta on its ends (vertically) working your way from the outside towards the center.  Pack it as tight as possible, without destroying any of the pasta.  You may or may not use all of the pasta.
  3. Once the pan is filled with the pasta, pour over some tomato sauce and then sprinkle on the parmesan and mozzarella cheese. (I wrapped my springform pan in aluminum foil and placed it on a cookie sheet so any juices that dripped wouldn’t leak.  However, do not cover the top with aluminum foil.)
  4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted, brown, and bubbly.  Remove from oven and let stand about 10-15 minutes before removing springform.
Recipe courtesy of mostly myself and numerous Facebook posts!  Enjoy!

Margarita Pie

Tags

, , , ,

Margarita Pie.  Yes.  You read that correctly.  MARGARITA pie.  What to say about it… it’s like eating a frozen margarita.  WARNING:  A little too much of this pie could lead to a margarita buzz!

In all seriousness, I was looking for something light and refreshing for Easter dessert.  I hadn’t made my Margarita Pie in a long time and I thought it would be a nice treat for the adults, along with my Icebox Cake for the kids.   Plus, who doesn’t love a margarita? My mother-in-law LOVES them (me too) so I knew she’d enjoy it and I thought it would be a nice twist.

I first found this recipe about 12 years ago.  I was looking for a different Summer dessert recipe to bring to a family barbecue and I happened to come across this recipe.  I love margaritas so why not, right?  Any dessert with alcohol in it HAS to be good, right? So, I decided to give it a try.  It was incredible.  After tasting one bite, I really didn’t want to share the rest!  It was sooooo good!!!  It uses sweetened condensed milk, which creates a sweet, creamy base and alcohol you would typically use in a margarita – Triple Sec (an orange flavored liquor) and Tequila (well – you know – it’s Tequila!)  Along with some lime juice, this combination is outstanding.  Some added whipped topping gives it some lightness and fluffiness – and it’s like a margarita mousse!  I added a couple of drops of green food coloring to give it a light green color – similar to that of a margarita.

If you like margaritas – on the rocks, no salt – like me or frozen like my husband and his mom – this dessert is definitely for you.  The only thing to keep in mind is that with this dessert you do use alcohol and since it is a no-bake dessert, the alcohol does not burn off or cook out.  So, be careful how much you eat – because it can give you a buzz!

Margarita Pie

1 9″ graham cracker crust (I buy the pre-made kind)
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup, plus 1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/4 cup Tequila (I use Jose Cuervo)
5 Tbsp. Triple Sec
1 16 oz. container Cool Whip
Green food coloring (2-3 drops)
Whipped Cream for Garnish

  1.  In a large bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, Tequila, and Triple Sec.  Whisk together until well blended.
  2. Add food coloring and mix until the color is evenly incorporated and there are no streaks.
  3. Fold in Cool Whip until mixed well.
  4. Pour into prepared crust.
  5. Freeze 6-8 hours or overnight.  Keep frozen until ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

 

 

Greek Pasta Salad

Tags

, ,

One of the dishes that is a big hit among family and friends is my Pasta Primavera.  My grandmother, my mother, my aunt, and my cousin made it often as I was growing up. It was always on the table at some summer get together.  I made it for an office pot-luck one time and my co-workers went crazy over it – everyone wanting the recipe.  It was definitely a keeper.  I introduced it to my husband and kids and it wasn’t such a big hit.  My husband and my daughter eat the pasta, my son eats the olives, my toddler doesn’t like it at all, and I eat everything else.  It’s a fairly popular dish at most summer barbecues among extended family and friends and I like it, so I keep making it.  It’s a light, refreshing, cold pasta dish that is really perfect for hot summer days.

I happened to come across another chilled pasta recipe and when I read the ingredients list, I was very intrigued.  I love Greek food – my family, not so much.  So, I don’t really get to enjoy it too often.  But this Greek Pasta Salad was a recipe I really wanted to try. So, I decided to make it – regardless of whether or not my family would try it!  More for me! 🙂  And truthfully, since it is a vegetarian dish, I really didn’t expect them to want any of it!  My hubby and kids are meat and potato loving people!

So, I made the salad and it was spectacular!  While the recipe calls for Orechiette pasta, I used Rotini.  Here’s a little side story…..  I went grocery shopping and included all of the ingredients for this salad on my list. I even bought Orechiette pasta.  You know – the ones that look like little hats.  Here’s a picture….

orechiette-pasta

So, I go to make the salad and I cannot for the life of me, find the box of Orecchiette pasta.  I know I bought one.  I know I put it in the pantry.  And now I can’t find it. Hmmmm.  Interestingly enough, the sudden disappearance of my box of pasta came right after my in-laws shared with us some odd occurrences that were happening in their house.  The joke became – is there a ghost in their house?  I think maybe it took a trip over to our house and stole my box of pasta!  I digress….

Rotini it is!  So I made the salad using rotini.  No big deal – just a little different.  But, truthfully, the rotini gave it some additional texture.  I love the combination of this salad.  There is such an incredible combination of textures and flavors – its a party in your mouth.  Literally!!  The dressing is a nice vinaigrette with just a hint of sweetness to balance all of the acidity and is nicely seasoned without being overpowering.  The ingredients of the salad are an incredible array of textures and flavors as well.  I love the slight chewiness of the artichokes with the tang of the marinade, the sweetness of the tomatoes, the crunch of the cucumbers, the creaminess of the garbanzo beans, and the saltiness of the kalamata olives.  Wow! What a party in your mouth!!  And I still didn’t even mention the crumble of feta cheese on top!  I need a moment…

 

OK

 

I’m good.

I don’t think I’ve been this excited over a pasta salad recipe – but this one really blew me away.  It’s a variety of ingredients and textures that I’ve really never seen combined before – but it is a combination of pure deliciousness!  If you’re looking for a refreshing pasta salad to serve at a summer barbecue – I highly recommend giving this one a try. You (and your guests) will not be disappointed!

You’ll see chopped raw red onions in the ingredient listing, but I absolutely cannot stand raw onions.  They are just too much for me.  Even the sweeter onions leave a nasty aftertaste and even burn eating them.  I can only eat cooked onions, so I chose to leave them out.

greek-pasta-salad2

greek-pasta-salad

Greek Pasta Salad

For the dressing:

1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp. finely minced fresh garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper

For the salad:

1 lb. small shaped pasta (orecchiette, small shells, rotini, ditalini, elbows, etc.)
1 (14.5 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion (I omitted this, I hate raw onions!)
1 (9.5) oz. jar kalamata olives, drained
2 (14.75) oz. jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained (and cut if pieces are too big)
Crumbled feta cheese

  1. In a quart size mason jar or medium bowl, combine all dressing ingredients.  Shake well if using a mason jar or whisk together until a vinaigrette consistency is formed using a wire whisk.  Let sit for at least 2 hours to allow flavors to meld and develop.
  2. Prepare pasta according to package directions.  Add a small drizzle of olive oil in the water while cooking.  This will prevent the pasta from sticking together while cooling. Drain and rinse well allowing the pasta to cool down.
  3. Once pasta is cooled, transfer to a large bowl.  Add salad ingredients (garbanzo beans, grape tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives, and artichoke hearts).  Shake or whisk dressing to ensure it is well combined and pour over pasta and salad ingredients. Toss together ensuring the dressing coats all of the ingredients.
  4. Serve chilled and sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese.
  5. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator and eat within one week.

Oh, and by the way, I did find the lost box of Orecchiette pasta.  It reappeared in my pantry – the day after I made this salad.

Recipe adapted from noblepig.com

Icebox Cake (Eclair Cake)

Tags

, , , ,

When I was growing up my family and I would visit my grandparents every Sunday.  It was an Italian tradition to spend Sundays with Grandma and Grandpa.  And Grandma would always make some amazing Italian dinner followed by some form of dessert.  After the meal was eaten and the dishes were cleared and cleaned (my Grandma didn’t have a dishwasher), the classic Farberware percolator coffee pot would get prepped and plugged in and dessert would be ready for the table.  On some occasions, we would bring dessert, and other times my Grandmother would make something.  One of the things she would make was a delicious “cake” layered with graham crackers, chocolate pudding, and vanilla pudding.  O.  M.  G.  It.  Was.  Amazing.  She used to call it Icebox Cake.  I don’t know why, but that was her name for it.  It was a perfect combination of deliciousness!  The creaminess from the pudding and the soft crunch of the graham crackers gave it a really nice contrast in texture.

Fast forward to married life and motherhood.  We were hosting a party for Fourth of July a few years ago and I wanted to do something different for dessert.  My Grandmother’s Icebox Cake came to mind and I decided to go with that.  I made a huge tin of it and it was gone before the end of the day!!!!  It was an immediate hit and now a favorite among our family.

We were hosting a party for Super Bowl Sunday a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to do something different for dessert.  My husband mentioned Icebox Cake!  YES!  And again, it was an instant hit and was gone by the end of the night!  Which I guess is a good thing – so I don’t eat the leftovers!

icebox-cake2 icebox-cake1 icebox-cake3 icebox-cake4 icebox-cake5

Icebox Cake

1 large package instant vanilla pudding
1 large package instant chocolate pudding
2 small containers Cool Whip
20-25 Graham Crackers

1.  In a medium bowl, make the vanilla pudding according to package directions for pie.  Let set. Add half of one of the containers of Cool Whip.  Mix well.  Chill for about 20 minutes.
2.  In a separate bowl, make the chocolate pudding according to the package directions for pie.  Let set.  Add the remaining half of the container of Cool Whip.  Mix well.  Chill for about 20 minutes.
3.  In a deep dish or tin, place one layer of graham crackers.  On top of the graham crackers, spoon over enough chocolate pudding to cover the graham crackers in a thick layer.  Add another layer of graham crackers.  Spoon over the vanilla pudding in another thick layer.  Continue layering in the same manner until the dish is full.  The final layer should be the Cool Whip.  Use as much or as little as you’d like to top off your “cake.”
4.  Chill for about 2 hours to allow pudding to set.

This “cake” is best prepared and served the same day.  Overnight, the graham crackers can become mushy from sitting in the pudding too long.  But trust me, once you serve this “cake” you probably won’t have to worry about that!  ENJOY! 🙂

Beef Stew

Tags

,

I live in Las Vegas and it seems that the majority of people think the only weather we get in Vegas is heat.  While that’s not too far from the truth, we do get cooler weather for about 2-3 months out of the year.  December, January, and February are actually COLD!  Now, everything is relative.  When you’re used to 80-90 degree Summers, 20-30 degrees is cold.  When you get 110-115 degree Summers, 40-50 degrees is COLD – and there are times our temperatures dip down into the 30’s during the Winter months. And nothing is better than a dinner that warms you from the inside out like a delicious, hearty bowl of beef stew.

My mother used to make beef stew frequently when I was a kid.  Our family really loved it too.  It was pretty cold here in Vegas and I was looking for a dinner that would be a “stick to your ribs” kind of meal and my mom’s beef stew came to mind.  I had never made it before for my family, and while I knew Rob would love it, I was curious to see how my kids would react.  Turns out they liked it, but we still had some negotiating with respect to the vegetables.

The dish has a lot of depth and flavor.  The beef broth and browning sauce gives it richness, the Tabasco and chili powder give it a little heat, and the vegetables and meat give it a variety of texture.  It is a great dish perfect for a cold and wintry night.

When making the dish I usually use about 1-2 cups of beef broth.  However, combined with the liquid that is already present from the sauteed onions, diced tomatoes, and the frozen vegetables as they warm and cook through, the stew can become a little too liquid.  Add the broth a little at a time to help avoid this.  However, if that happens, you can make a slurry consisting of a little cornstarch and a little water mixed together. Then pour it into the stew.  As it comes to a boil, the slurry will activate and thicken the mixture.  Be sure not to add too much as you don’t want to create a paste.  You could add some more beef broth as needed to thin it out.  However, in doing this – you begin to compromise the integrity of the flavor of the stew.

Enjoy!

beef-stew2

Beef Stew

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 large onion, finely diced
1 lb. beef stew meat
1 can diced tomatoes and juice
5 Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, large dice
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder to season
1/4 tsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
Dash Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp. Kitchen Bouquet Browning Sauce
1-2 cups beef broth
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables (corn, carrots, peas, green beans)

  1.  In a large pot or Dutch Oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and onions and cook until translucent.  Add the meat and cook about 6-7 minutes turning frequently, to brown on all sides.
  2. Add the tomatoes and potatoes.  Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and paprika.  Stir.
  3. Add the Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, browning sauce, and beef broth.  Mix well.  Cook about 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender.
  4. Add the frozen vegetables and cook another 10 minutes or so until the vegetables are cooked through.  Serve immediately.

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup

Tags

, ,

I have never been a fan of Mexican food.  Neither of my parents cooked Mexican food when I was a kid and we never went to Mexican restaurants as a family either.  So, it was something I never really ate.  When I was finally introduced to Mexican food, I wasn’t really crazy about it, and truthfully I’m still not.  There are a few things I like, but I keep it pretty simple.  My husband, on the other hand, grew up eating a lot of Mexican food and he loves it all!!

I was watching an episode of The Pioneer Woman on Food Network and she was making her Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Soup.  I was intrigued.  Most of the ingredients she used I liked so I thought this might be a good Mexican recipe to try! That was until she added black beans.  If there is one thing I really don’t like, it’s black beans.  Ugh.  So, as I normally do – I took the recipe and made my own version!  It was a huge hit in my family.  My husband really enjoyed it and my in-laws loved it too.  It wasn’t very spicy – which can be modified.  You can add more spice if you like things spicy.  It turned out to be a very hearty and robust soup.  A perfect meal for a cold, rainy day.

So, here is my version….

 

mexican-chicken-soup

mexican-chicken-soup-bowl2

mexican-chicken-soup-bowl

 

Mexican Chicken Soup

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 onion, chopped
1 each red, green, yellow, and orange bell peppers, chopped
1 can (28 oz.) whole or diced tomatoes, with juice
1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes with chipotles, with juice
1 can (6.5 oz) tomato paste
1 can (15 oz.) whole kernal corn, drained
1 lime, juiced
3 cups chicken broth

If you like it more on the spicy side, feel free to add a chipotle chili pepper in adobo (with stem and seeds removed).  You can also add some chipotle chili powder as well to increase the heat if you prefer.

Fixin’s:  Tortilla Strips, Guacamole, Sour Cream, Shredded Cheese, Diced Onion, Chopped Cilantro

1.)  In a large slow cooker, place the chicken breasts on the bottom.  Add chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.
2.)  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, corn, lime juice, and chicken broth.
3.)  Cover and cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours.
4.)  When timer is done, remove chicken breasts to a separate plate and shred using two forks.  Return shredded chicken to the soup and mix in.
5.)  Serve with various “fixin’s.”  Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman – Ree Drummond