Blog, Household Blog, Recipes

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup

First I have to thank you if you are still reading my blog posts even if they’ve been sporadic these past few weeks.. I’ve had a lot going on and this year I’ve made a commitment to myself to take care of my mental health and help curb my anxiety by taking time to myself if that’s what I need, and taking a break from things that aren’t ‘serving me‘.

I do think this blog serves me in a great way — I get to share my love of cooking and the passion my family, truly my father, has for bringing people together with food. The same goes for my #traveltuesday posts and my love of traveling, and for some other exciting new additions (exciting for me at least) that I have coming to the blog in the new year.

Although I skipped blogging about food for a few weeks I certainly didn’t stop thinking about, cooking or consuming it! Last week my mom came to visit and she’s on the keto diet. She loves it and I wanted to help her stick to it at least a bit while she was out here visiting me. If you don’t know anything about the keto diet, it’s one that’s very, very low in sugar and carbohydrates. I don’t know the science behind all of it but I know it’s working for my mom so I thought I would find a recipe that was easy to make (once again employing the crockpot!) and that would stick to her diet, and I was craving taco soup, so I chose this recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup.

I was at least mildly skeptical of this soup. The main ingredient is cream cheese, and while I can get down with cream cheese piled high on my bagel I wasn’t sure about it being the main binding ingredient in my soup. This recipe checked every other box I was looking to fill, so I went for it.

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup: YUM!

I’ll be honest, when the soup was done cooking after 8 hours I was still a little concerned about the consistency. To make this one you just chuck all 6 ingredients in and hope for the best. I love all the flavors in it — taco, ranch, cream cheese, chicken — but again, the consistency had me worried. However, once I went ahead and shredded up the chicken everything turned around. The texture of the soup became much more palatable after the two pounds of chicken were mixed in consistently. I wanted something a bit thicker than the final product so I went ahead and mixed in two tablespoons of cornstarch to a bit of broth and mixed that in, letting it simmer until my mom got in from her snowy ride up the mountain from the airport. It was the perfect warm, hearty, tasty treat, with cheese and sour cream, cilantro, jalapeno and lime piled high on top. My mom was pretty mad that I ate the last bowl after our drunken shenanigans on Friday night. 

Our feast — I also made a Rotel/Velveeta/Cheese Dip, with Celery as a low-carb option.
This dip calls for a can of Rotel & Chiles, drained, a can of chili with beans, a package of cream cheese and a 16oz of velveeta. Heated all together on the stove with whatever dipping platform you choose!

I think you could easily modify this to be vegetarian — I would leave out the chicken, use veggie broth, and add black beans and corn at the end (to keep them from getting too soft in the crock pot), as well as some sliced up avocado on top for added protein.

Well that’s a wrap on this fantastic recipe. I’ll be making my own sort of recipe calendar for the next few months. My plan is to prep two-three batch meals on Monday that I can eat throughout the week. On top of running this blog/website and carrying out the jobs I’ve gotten as Christina Collaborates, I also work an office job and a hostessing job. The Vail Valley ain’t cheap and I’m hustlin’ hard. So on top of not having a lot of time, it’s important for me to stay well-fed to keep my blood sugar, and therefore my anxiety, well in check. I also want to be healthy and wouldn’t mind losing a pound or two. And apparently Obama did this kind of thing to eliminate menial choices to clear his brain for more important things. My best friend told me that, not sure if it’s true or not, but hey, it sounds good, and it’s certainly what I’m trying to do by freeing up some of my time and mental capacity. Keep following along for tips and tricks I learn along the way, as well as more tasty recipes each week.

Until next time, stay hungry my friends 🙂

Blog, Household Blog, Recipes

Thai Sweet Potato Soup

This week my food inspiration came from the New York Times. I’m an avid fan of the publication, particularly their puzzles, and while I’ve seen their recipes from time to time on Facebook I have never made one. While that still remains true — I have never tried a recipe recommended by the NY Times — I definitely gathered some good intel from them this week. The original recipe I looked at was for this Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Soup, however I have a stipulation that if I make something in the crockpot it should be a full meal. I’m cooking for myself, and to have a whole crockpot full of soup 20181112_103315.jpgbut to still need a sandwich or something on the side seems silly; a crockpot full of soup can easily feed me for four nights so instead of making this soup I took the thai/crockpot/sweet potato inspiration and headed in the direction of a more hearty soup that would be a full meal in a bowl.

What I came up with was this Thai Sweet Potato Soup, which left everything in chunks and added in more veggies to round things out for a more filling soup. I chose to add 20181112_103016.jpgmushrooms the the recipe also, because they’re delicious and why not? I did add those at the end so they would just cook a bit, not get soggy cooking over the course of a full day.

I have to be honest about this one — while it was tasty and filling it wasn’t as delicious as my soup last week, nor was it quite as tasty as I was hoping for. It was, however, warm and filling, and paired with an egg-roll on the side it was nourishing and got the job done.

In our household growing up we would say a recipe was “company food” if we really like a meal — meaning that the food was good enough to

20181112_194203.jpg
It sure looked like company food..

serve to friends at one of my parents many dinner parties growing up. Things on the list include cold sesame peanut noodles, artichoke chicken, my dad’s famous spaghetti sauce, among others. I would most definitely not qualify this soup as company food. It wouldn’t be bad for a family of four to finish up in a night or two, but it certainly wasn’t worth eating four days in a row. I did end up freezing half as I got called unexpectedly out of town this week, so I imagine by the time I eat it again it’ll be plenty tasty to enjoy for two more nights.

 

I’ll be back next week with some tips on how to re-purpose your Thanksgiving dinner leftovers. Until then, I’m wishing you a very happy holiday for you and yours, may your week, and your year, be filled with thanks, gratitude, peace and love. ❤

 

Blog, Household Blog, Recipes

Loaded Potato Soup + bonus recipe!

I promised to bring you another delicious recipe today, so I’m glad I’ve found the time to follow through. I realized over last weekend that it would be easy for me to talk about recipes I’m actually making during my own week. I have plenty of recipe ideas stored in my head, and in my family’s archival cook book, but they say “you write what you know.” and what better way to get to know the food I’m selling you than to prepare it myself?

For me food is very sensory. It’s not just the act of consuming a meal that delights, but also the smells that fill the house and the warmth of a bowl in your hands. Last week in Colorado it started to get cold! Folks, this was not a test run — it snowed a few feet and then dropped into the teens at night. And what goes better with a snowy evening than a hot bowl of soup, the smells of which have been filling the house for hours?

This week I decided to use that elusive ingredient that I talked about most of us lacking in our cooking repertoire: time. You can’t keep a bottle of it on the shelf to season your foods to perfection, you truly have to let things sit and simmer and unfold in their own beautiful way in a pot. For this reason, I love the crockpot. It is so easy to dump everything in and come back hours later to a complete meal. When the cold weather crept in I thought of an old family favorite — potato soup. I believe our family recipe for this one resides in my mom’s head, not written down anywhere, but I figured I could google a recipe and find nearly what I was looking for. It’s also always fun to make a new take on a tried and true recipe, and that is what I chose to do this time.

I’ll caution that the crockpot recipe I made this week did involve more than just dumping each ingredient in a pot, but each extra step was worth it to me, and there are easier ways to complete this meal than I did.

I loosely followed this recipe on Sweet & Savory Meals, with a few tweaks.

When I found this recipe and saw that it called for bacon, I was adamant I was going to get the deli-cut bacon from the meat department, rather than buy the pre-packaged stuff. It was my day off and I knew I had *time* so I wanted to spend the day in the kitchen like my dad used to do, chopping and simmering and sauteing until things were just Fotoram.io (2)right. I also knew that the deli counter is intimidating for me. Some of you may have heard of the “impossible task” for people who are anxious. Interactions like those that occur at a deli counter, or a bank teller, or any other place where I have to interact with strangers in ways that are new or unusual for me, can easily be classified as my “impossible task”. My dad would certainly scoff at this — he was a frequent meat counter user, always trying to get the freshest and the best cuts, or asking the manager at the counter to separate these porkchops from those, because he only need this many, etc. I grew up watching him do this as a child, spending lots of time grocery shopping, so it should be easier, but alas, it is not and I frequently avoid it despite the better quality. As stupid as it sounds, this time I walked right up and had a pleasant exchange with the man behind the counter, and he helped me grab 15 slices of this amazing Jalapeno Applewood Smoked Bacon, and that was it. It was that easy to avail myself of this service that’s always available to me. It was great!. And if you know me at all you’ll know that’s basically all the important food groups to me in one slice of heaven!

Fotoram.io (1)I bought my own cheddar cheese instead of the store bought stuff, I substituted greek yogurt for sour cream, and I also substituted fresh parsley for dry. After this last substitution was made I honestly thought the meal could have done without any parsley at all. I don’t know what flavor I believed parsley to have, but the smoky flavor it added to my dish was a bit deeper than I was looking for. That’s not to say it wasn’t for everyone, but I enjoyed the milder flavors before the parsley unleashed it’s flavors.

Fotoram.io (3)The happiest substitution I made was on the final night I ate my potato soup. I had run out of chopped bacon and I saw my jar of pickled onions sitting in the fridge. Their Fotoram.io (4)homemade and I love vinegar so I put them on a lot of things and the brightness seemed kind of necessary after the parsley added that smoky flavor. Let me tell you this was the best decision I made. I pickle my own onions (white vinegar, pinch of salt, pinch of sugar) and I think everyone should keep a jar around for times like this to brighten or lighten up a meal. They can go well on so many soups, salads, burgers, tacos.. just yum.

Overall, the soup was absolutely delicious. It satisfied the need I had for something warm and cozy to enjoy at the end of these frigid days, and as I was cooking only for myself it provided dinner for most of the week. I enjoyed it every night and would definitely make again, if I wasn’t trying out new recipes to bring to you each week!

Also see my bonus recipe below!

 

 

Microwave Scrambled Eggs

This is the easiest breakfast I have ever made, and I am certainly a happy camper when I eat this to start my day.

Fotoram.io (6)I prefer to use a silicone cup for ease of cleaning: crack two eggs into the cup, scramble with salt and pepper to taste. Microwave on high for 1:20 on edge of rotating microwave Fotoram.ioplate. After they are done, take them out and add toppings as you please, mix well — I like a tablespoon of bacon bits and a tablespoon of cheese, then microwave for another 30 seconds with the toppings, mix again and you’re all done! Pictured here is a tablespoon of cheese with a spoonful of my favorite bbq sauce from back home (thanks Mom, and Moonswiners).