It’s official. I’m back in school mode (or at least desperately trying to be).
I’ve been sick for the last week, a weird mix of symptoms that seems to change everyday. Every morning there’s a new surprise – mostly fairly unpleasant, really. Is it an ear infection? Strep? Common, lingering cold? I don’t know.
And I’m getting a little behind on the school stuff. The reading. The oncoming assignments. Grading. Lots and lots of grading.
I’m still not really settled into my house, but because I’ve made some progress, it looks worse than it has since moving day. This is normal, I know that. But it’s still a little overwhelming when I walk in the door at the end of the day.
And so there’s only two answers: laundry and the crockpot.
I figured out that I love using these two appliances because they make me feel extremely productive. Look, here I am just lying out the couch watching Parenthood….and yet, I’m also making dinner! I might be slogging through more pseudo-Foucauldian reading on the gaze, but…..ta da! I’m also making my stinky clothes smell good again! And then I’m going to fold them, when they’re still kinda warm and, most importantly, good smelling, and restore a little order to this small corner of my life. Or, in the case of the crockpot, I can smell this real meal, not just pasta or a salad or whatever, awaiting me at the end of this current article. (is there an end? I can’t help but wonder.)
This week, I went with an old standby. I’ve made this Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla soup quite a few times, and it’s always a crowd pleaser. (or, in this case, a me pleaser…) But since I make some tweaks to the original recipe, and I always forget what they are when I am wandering the grocery aisles, I thought I’d list my little spin here.
Word to the wise: don’t let the long list of ingredients freak you out. They are cheap (especially at Target for the canned goods) and readily available. If you have a can opener and a 4+ quart slow cooker, you can make this.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla soup (slightly adapted from this recipe)
Supposedly makes 8 servings, but I think it’s more like 4-6.
- 1 pound or so of uncooked boneless skinless chicken – breasts or thighs
- 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes (as I can never find a can this size of whole peeled..diced are fine)
- 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce (red or green…I’ve done both!)
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth (I generally use low sodium)
- 1 (15 ounce) can of black beans (seasoned or not…whatever is cheap)
- 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
- 1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (I love jarred garlic and have stopped buying anything else)
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (turns out if you accidentally use cayenne this gets really hot)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 bunch of cilantro (you can omit if you’re a hater)
- 1 avocado
- 1 lime
- small container sour cream (I generally use lite)
- shredded cheese
- 7 corn tortillas and vegetable oil OR tortilla chips (optional)
Place trimmed chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker. Then add everything through cilantro. For the cilantro, I generally just snip some from the bunch until there seems like a reasonable amount floating on top. Do as you will.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4. If you cook on high (which I never do, since I want to prolong the sense of accomplishment!) double check that the chicken is done.
(if you’re going to make your own chips, do that here. Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly oil both sides of tortillas. Cut into strips and place on a baking sheet. Bake until crisp – 10 to 15 minutes.)
Use two forks to shred the chicken at the bottom of the crock pot. I find this part really fun. I don’t know why.
Ladle into bowls. Add a dollop of sour cream and stir. Garnish with cilantro, juice from 1/8 of a lime (or a sixth! go nuts!), avocado chunks, shredded cheese, and chips if you’re feeling it.
Also good for lunches! All week long!