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Wow. I actually managed to flake out on the entire month of September! But, barely. In fact, this post is going up so early on in October that I think we can let me slide. Working more hours than I did in Charleston has taken a significant chunk of time away from both cooking and blogging, but, if I’m being honest, I have to admit that getting back into reading has taken away from these activities, too. Also doing dance classes at the Y. And spending more time with friends (who live nearer than our friends did in Chucktown). And just generally enjoying Winston!

We ❤ Winston-Salem!  There is real autumn here, and lots of parks/nature-y stuff to enjoy.  We are so close to the mountains (our closest hiking location is only 40 minutes away) and everything is so close and fairly easy to get to (minus the confusing streets that go every which-way).  The people are great and everyone says it’s a great place to raise a family, which we will hopefully be doing some time in the near future 😉

OK, enough about Winston. On to the food! Today we will be reviewing one of my (and Dr. Matthews’s) favorite fall meals: Crock Pot Chicken Taco Soup. I heart this recipe for many reasons- it’s inexpensive, EASY to make, utilizes the slow-cooker AND kitchen aid (I especially love recipes that require I use my larger kitchen appliances, so I feel justified in having them around, taking up space) and is so warm and cozy to come home to on a chilly fall day. Best of all, there is NO chopping of vegetables! I LOATHE chopping onions- I cry my eyes out every time and always have to stop to blow my nose, then wash my hands, before I can continue. It is very annoying. And, while I don’t mind chopping other veggies, my knives are not very sharp and I have been too lazy busy to address this issue.

*Side note: I was recently asked what the difference is between a slow-cooker and a crock pot. They are the same exact thing. I usually call it a slow-cooker, unless the original recipe uses the term “crock pot.” I think “crock pot” is an older term, but I could just be making this up.

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Soup

Ingredients
3-4 frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used fresh)
2 cans cheddar cheese soup
1 can Mexican corn, drained
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed (I forgot these this time around, but added extra tomatoes to make up for it)
1 can spicy beans, I used Ranch Style with jalapeno peppers (these are sometimes hard to find, so I sub with chili beans when need be)
1 can diced tomatoes (I use 2-3 cans, draining out a little bit of the liquid. Otherwise the meal can be a bit one-dimensional)
1/2 can chicken broth
Generous dashes of taco seasoning, if using a packet the whole packet
Several dashes of cumin
Several dashes of garlic salt (or powder, if you don’t like it too salty)
Rice, sour cream, sriracha, shredded cheese and tortilla chips for serving

Directions
Dump all the canned ingredients into the crock pot. Stir and add the taco seasoning and cumin. Lay the chicken breasts on top of the soup mixture. Generously sprinkle the garlic salt (or powder) and again sprinkle the taco seasoning.

Cook on high 4-6 hours or low for 8 (I do low for 5). After cooking take the chicken out and cut up into small bite size pieces or shred (this is where I use my Kitchen Aid – just plop the chicken in and mix it at a low speed using the white, paddle-like attachment). Put chicken back into the crock pot and mix with the soup.

I was making this meal for a new mom and so went ahead and added the rice in, to avoid any extra steps. We liked it this way and will probably continue to prepare it like this in the future, as the rice gets more time to soak up flavor. We eat ours with sour cream, some shredded cheese, sriracha and tortilla chips, but you can do whatever you like to fit your tastes.

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Soup

Also freezes very well!

Lastly, I will leave you with a photo of our FINALLY finished kitchen! Poor Dr. Matthews had to take over after I just couldn’t take ANY more painting. With his busy work/exercise schedule and all of the social activities to which I’ve been dragging him, it has taken us him 2 months. I warn you all – do NOT take on the project of painting kitchen cabinets lightly! There are several steps and it takes a lot more time and effort than we anticipated (each door needed 3 coats of paint on each side- UGH!). That being said, we love how it’s turned out:

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

Now that’s done, we are ready for some visitors! Any takers? 🙂

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