Posted in Chicken, Crock pot, Food, Instant Pot, One Pot Meal, slow cooking, Soup

Seven Can Spicy Chicken Taco Soup

When planning an informal work lunch this week, I reached out to several catering companies to provide the meal. This became tricky because the luncheon was being held off-site, roughly three hours from my home, and my budget was tight. When I quickly added up costs related to preparing and delivering food for the group, I realized that ordering from a local caterer was going to be a far too expensive option. As I searched my mind for an alternative, I was reminded of this recipe for a hearty soup that would hit the spot as the weather forecast predicted rain and 45 degree temperatures for the day. Adding a few other lunch items to the menu would round out the meal.

I ended up ordering a 4-ft. long sub sandwich from the deli department of the area grocery store. I picked up a large vegetable tray and a case of bottled water. Finally, I headed to the store bakery and purchased a box of freshly made oatmeal cookies for the group. I paired this soup with all of the other items that I had purchased and covered the tables with seasonal table clothes. Returning to our meeting room, I quickly popped all of my purchased items in the fridge and plugged in my trusty, 6-quart crockpot. I opened all seven cans and popped them into the slow cooker. Lunch would be served in three hours, so I had plenty of time to warm the soup and meld the flavors. Last, but not least, I crumbled up a bag of Frito’s Corn Chips and opened a package of sharp cheddar cheese to sprinkle over the top of the individual bowls of soup. This step is the game changer; bringing this ridiculously simple soup over the top. The warm hearty soup, paired with a topping of slightly melted cheese and crunchy corn chips really makes for a mighty good, super quick and easy lunch idea.

Seven Can Spicy Chicken Taco Soup

1 can black beans, drained and well rinsed(15.5 oz)

1 can pinto beans, drained and well rinsed (15.25 oz)

1 can whole kernel corn, drained (15 oz)

1 can diced tomatoes, do not drain (15 oz)

1 can mild enchilada sauce (10 oz)

1 can chicken broth (15 oz)

1 can chicken breast, drained and flaked with a fork (12.5oz)

1 package low sodium taco seasoning mix

2 teaspoons garlic powder

Directions

Combine all ingredients and cook using preferred method below:

Crockpot – Cook on medium temperature for 3-5 hours

Stockpot – Cook on medium-high heat for 25-35 minutes

Instant Pot – Cook on “Manual” for 4 minutes with quick venting method

Serve topped with crushed Frito or Dorito Corn Chips and shredded cheese.

Note: Can sizes listed above are approximate; this is a very forgiving soup recipe. Add water or extra broth, if needed. Also, use lower sodium versions of the canned products, if your concerned about salt. If you’d prefer to use fresh chicken breasts for this recipe, use about 1 1/2 cups of cooked, diced chicken.

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Posted in Beef, Dinner, Food, Main Dish, One Pot Meal, slow cooking

Slow Cooker Corned Beef

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While St. Patrick’s Day is long past and Easter is just around the corner, I recently searched the freezer to see what kind of inventory I had available in the way of meat products for the coming holiday. (I often have a supply of ground beef, ham, pork, or prime rib roast left from thrifty bulk purchases when I find a great deal at the supermarket.) To my surprise, I had several corned beef roasts set on the top shelf. I quickly remembered that I had bought a boat load of corned beef around St. Patrick’s Day because the price was too good to pass up. Five roasted were neatly stacked in the freezer so I put one in the fridge to thaw for Monday’s dinner.
Before I headed to work on Monday morning, I lined the bottom of my crockpot with potatoes, carrots, and onions, then laid the roast among the vegetables.

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I sprinkled the seasoning packet over the corned beef and poured in some water and a half can of beer before shutting the lid and setting the dial to low.

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I arrived home to the delicious aroma of the complete dinner. There is nothing quite so wonderful as having dinner ready when walking in the door after a long day at work. I have quite a few recipes to successfully cook corned beef. I often bake it or boil it, but this is one of my favorites…very little time or effort produce a magnificent meal. If you like Reuben sandwiches, add thousand island dressing and sour kraut to some toasted rye bread and you have quite a sandwich.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef

2 1/2 cups baby carrots
3 potatoes, diced
1 onion, peeled and rough cut
4 cups water
1 (4-5 pound) corned beef brisket with spice packet
6 ounces beer

Place the carrots, potatoes, and onion into the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the brisket on top of the vegetables. Pour the water and beer over the brisket. Sprinkle on the spices packet, cover, and set the cooker on High.
Cook the brisket for about 8 hours. Cool slightly before cutting into thin slices.

Posted in Dinner, Food, Main Dish, One Pot Meal, Soup

Hearty Pepperoni Pizza Soup

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A couple of weeks ago, a friend mentioned that she had enjoyed a cup of pizza soup when visiting a local restaurant. It sparked a memory of a hearty soup that I had made years ago. So I headed to my trusty files to see if I could track down the recipe. I was quite pleased when I found what I was looking for.
As I began to assemble the ingredients for the recipe, I remembered that I had an interesting ingredient in the fridge that I hoped would be a flavorful addition to my soup recipe. You see, I have grown quite fond of a new item called basil paste, that I found in the produce section of the grocery store some time ago. It’s flavor is so similar to the wonderfully unique taste of fresh basil that we pick in abundance during the summer months, here in the states. A dollop of this paste stirred into a piping hot bowl of soup just transforms the flavor into something along the lines of a pizza margherita; one of my favorite pizza recipes.

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Like much of the country, we in the Midwest, are experiencing some mighty cold temperatures this winter. (I feel like I am cold all the time.). After making this soup this past weekend, I carefully packed it into serving sized containers so that I could carry it to work along with a salad for lunch. There’s something about the fresh hearty flavor and its piping hot state that just warms me to the core. I find myself counting the minutes until lunch time. When paired with a salad, and maybe a slice of crusty bread, this soup makes for a warm and comforting meal.

Hearty Pepperoni Pizza Soup

1/2 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 cups water
15 ounces pizza sauce
8 ounces sliced pepperoni, finely chopped
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon basil paste

In a large saucepan, sauté Italian sausage, green pepper and onion until onions are translucent and sausage is no longer pink; drain. Add water, pizza sauce, pepperoni, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; and simmer covered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Before serving, stir in basil paste and top with Parmesan cheese.

Posted in Chicken, Food, Main Dish, One Pot Meal, slow cooking

Easy Crockpot Chicken Tacos

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Oh, how I love when I find a time-saving trick to help me prepare a week-night meal! Last week, I started a new job that takes me into a different time zone in the wee hours of the day and back into my own time zone as I head home from a long day at the office. I am realizing that I will have to stock my fridge and freezer with lots of pre-made items and do lots of cooking on the weekends to keep up with things. The crock pot will probably continue to be my “go to” appliance when preparing easy meals for my clan..
Easy Crock-Pot Chicken Tacos can be popped into the slow cooker in the morning and be ready when the family is looking for something yummy for dinner. A good friend recently shared a variation of this recipe with me, I have added a few things to give the meal a little more kick. The first time I made the dish, I followed the recipe exactly as it was written. My children thought my initial attempt was too bland, so I changed a few ingredients to suit the family. This ooey-gooey meal tastes great packed into tortilla shells or it can be served with tortilla chips as a fun dip. Either way, it’s chocked with lots of vegetables and lean meat. Great for a light summer snack dip of served with beans and rice as a hearty cold weather meal.

East Crock-Pot Chicken Tacos

2 pounds chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 cup chunky salsa
1 cup Rotel diced canned tomatoes, drained
1 packet taco seasoning
1 cup onions, diced fine
1/2 cup celery, diced fine
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese
3 tablespoons sour cream (optional)

Place the chicken in a slow cooker. Sprinkle the taco seasoning over the meat then layer in the vegetables and the salsa. Pour a half cup water over the mixture, set on low and cook for 6-8 hours. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Pour shredded chicken back into the salsa mixture; mix we to incorporate. When ready to serve, sprinkle with cheese and top with a dollop of sour cream.

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Posted in Food, Main Dish, One Pot Meal, Skillet Meal

Kielbasa Skillet Meal

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This is a standby recipe that I have used for years. Three simple ingredients make for a quick and easy skillet meal.
My mother-in-law used to make a variation of this recipe by using kielbasa, sour kraut, apples, and canned potatoes. The flavors seemed a bit strong for me and I am really not a big fan of sour kraut. When J and I started our own family, I altered the recipe to suit our tastes. I buy kielbasa when it’s on sale and store it in the freezer until ready to use. The sausage is pre-cooked so it cooks up fast.
A helpful tip…when baking potatoes, always bake a few extra to add to skillet meals like this one. Having pre-baked potatoes on hand is a real time saver. This one pot meal makes clean up a snap!

1-2 Hillshire Farms Polska Kielbasa, precooked rope link-style
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 medium potatoes, baked and cubed
Canola oil to coat pan

Preheat a large skillet and add 2 tablespoon of canola oil to the pan. Cut kielbasa into 1/2″ slices; set aside. Add sliced onions to the skillet and sauté until caramelized. Add cubed baked potatoes to the skillet; sauté until golden brown. Mix in the sliced kielbasa and continue cooking until thoroughly cooked through; about 10 minutes.