Taco Soup

Snowy Day Taco Soup

I wish I could cook up clever and creative names for my recipes. I’m going to make that my foodie resolution for the new year. My names are so boring. I mean Taco Soup? Really? Does that pique your interest? It feels plain and uninspired. I could name it Reeni Soup; it worked for Ceaser and his salad! But that’s too easy. I need a system for invention. I guess the best place to start is at the beginning. It was a snowy, blustery day that woke up my craving for this hearty, stick-to-your ribs soup. I had a roasted chicken carcass destined for the soup pot and a taste for something on the spicy side. Hmmm. How about Snowy Day Soup? See it’s easier than I thought. All it takes is getting to the heart of it. Snowy Day Taco Soup. There. That’s a little better. Yes?

Anywhoo… this soup was everything I anticipated. The smell as it simmered was exactly that of a taco and it did not let me down in the flavor department. It tasted exactly like one too with its richly spiced broth, tender meat and juicy corn. Chunky potatoes add to its heartiness. I know potatoes aren’t typically associated with tacos but I’ve included them in a beef taco before and they really go well. On its own it was delicious but I felt like it was missing something. And it was. The toppings, especially the cheese and lettuce bring everything together and round out the flavors tremendously. Don’t skimp on them(!) and you’ll have all the familiar flavors of a taco plus some.

You don’t have to wait for a snowy day to make this soup. But if you find yourself snowed in amidst a storm this is precisely what is called for to warm your body as well as your soul; from the top of your head to your tummy to your cold little tippy toes!

Snowy Day Taco Soup

Snowy Day Taco Soup
(by Reeni)
1 pound ground beef
1 large yellow onion, diced
Vegetable oil for sauteing
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon Chile powder
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Oregano
1 teaspoon Salt
3/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
A dash (or more) of Cayenne Pepper
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Worcestshire Sauce
4 cups Chicken or Beef Broth
3-4 cups Potatoes, cubed
1 and 1/2 cups Corn, frozen or canned, drained
1/3 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
Essential Toppings:
Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Shredded Lettuce
Sour Cream
Optional Toppings:
Tomato, diced
Onion, diced
Salsa
Avocado/Guacamole
Tortilla Chips
1. In a large skillet brown the beef, breaking it apart as it cooks. At the same time in a large sauce pan or soup pot saute the onion in enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan, until soft and tender. In a small bowl measure out and combine all of the dry spice ingredients together. Add garlic, and all of the spices to the onion. Continue to saute for five minutes, adding a little more oil if the onion and spices start to stick to the bottom.
2. Drain the grease from the beef. Add the Worcestershire and beef crumbles to the pot. Combine well with the onion/spice mixture. Add the broth, potatoes, corn and parsley. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until potatoes are tender. Halfway through taste and adjust seasonings, adding more spices if needed.
4. Serve with generous amounts of fixin’s!

Snowy Day Taco Soup

Snowy Day Taco Soup on FoodistaSnowy Day Taco Soup

Shrimp and Green Chile Quiche

Shrimp & Green Chile Quiche

The moment I read the title of this recipe I knew I would be making it. The very same night. It’s so unique and unlike any quiche I’ve ever eaten. For those of you who have never eaten quiche they are French in origin and are essentially a savory egg pie. Eggs and cream along with the star ingredients of your choosing are baked in a buttery pastry. The cream adds a richness and the eggs a light and fluffy quality. I love the mild spicy kick the green Chiles give to this one and the succulent flavor and texture of the shrimp with the creamy, buttery eggs. I can see it on a brunch table as part of a relaxing weekend breakfast. And it was just perfect served with a fresh green salad for dinner. Any time is the right time to serve this delicious quiche!

Shrimp & Green Chile Quiche

Shrimp and Green Chile Quiche
(adapted from Step by Step Cookbook)

Pastry:
2/3 cup all-purpose Flour
1/3 cup Whole Wheat Flour
pinch of Salt
4 tablespoons Butter, cold, diced
2-4 tablespoons cold Water

Filling:
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 cup shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
3 Green Onions, chopped
1 can (4 oz.) diced Green Chiles
8 ounces medium sized shrimp* tails off
Salt

1. Sift the flour with a pinch of salt into a medium sized mixing bowl or in a food processor pulse once or twice.

2. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or in a food processor until mixture resembles fine crumbs.

3. Mix in the water gradually until the pastry comes together in a ball.

4. Wrap the pastry well and chill for 30 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the pastry on a well-floured surface with a floured rolling pin.

6. Fold the pastry in half and then in half again, transfer to a 9-inch pie or tart dish. Cut away any excess with kitchen shears or by rolling the rolling pin over the top of the dish.

7. Sprinkle the cheese, onion, Chiles, and shrimp over the pastry. In a large bowl beat the eggs, add the milk and cream and beat again just until well incorporated. Mix in the garlic. Pour into pastry.

8. Bake for 50-55 minutes until firm and golden brown. Let set for five minutes before slicing/serving.

*Use fresh shrimp. Frozen will render a soggy, water-laden quiche.

Printable Recipe

Shrimp & Green Chile Quiche

Chicken Chipotle Tacos with Guacamole

Chipotle Chicken Tacos & Cool Guacamole

This is a Tex-Mex style recipe for Chicken Tacos with Guacamole. The star of these tacos is the rich, smokiness of the Chipotle peppers. A flavor I love. It seemed only natural for me to combine them with chicken in a sort of reinvention of the standard taco. A little upgrade. 

I made a non-spicy guacamole to give it some serious cooling power, the tacos are spicy enough already. This is great addition to your taco night and super fast if you have leftover cooked chicken on hand.

Chicken Chipotle Tacos & Cool Guacamole

Chicken Chipotle Tacos
(by Reeni) Makes about 7-8 tacos, depending on size
1 Yellow Onion, diced
Vegetable oil, for sauting
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Chipotle Chiles in Adobo, seeds scraped out, minced, plus 1 tablespoon of the Sauce
3 cups cooked Chicken, rough chopped
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Chile Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt & fresh black pepper
1/4 cup water
Guacamole, recipe to follow
Flour or Corn tortillas
Your choice of fixin’s:
Sour cream
Shredded Cheddar or Mixed Mexican Blend Cheese
Shredded lettuce
Diced Tomato
Diced Onion
Salsa
Lime wedges
1. Saute the onion in oil until translucent, add garlic and saute until fragrant, add Chipotles and saute for a minute or two.
2. Add chicken, oregano, Chile powder, salt, pepper, and water. Mix well and heat over medium-low heat about 8 – 10 minutes, stirring often.
3. Serve in heated tortillas with fixin’s.

Cool Guacamole & Taco Fixin's

 Cool Guacamole
2 Avocados, halved, pitted, flesh removed
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Tomato, diced
1 tablespoon Yellow Onion, finely diced
2 teaspoon fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Use a food processor(or mash together in a bowl) to mix the avocado, sour cream, and lime together until smooth and creamy. Remove to a medium bowl and mix in the tomato, onion, and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill until serving.

Don’t you hate opening a whole can of Chipotles and only using one or two? I have the solution! Freeze them. Add each one to the corner of a sandwich baggie with a spoonful of sauce. Tie up the bag. Store them all in a ziploc bag in the freezer. Take out as needed – they thaw quickly. You can even put the bag right in a small bowl of hot water if you need them at the last moment.

Chicken Chipotle Tacos & Cool Guacamole



Zesty Chicken Burritos

Zesty Chicken Burritos

I debated with myself over whether to post these burritos. The fact that they were really, really outstanding won out. I under-estimated them. You know when you take that first bite of something and it’s not what you expected, but better, and you just have to say mmmm out loud? Or announce to everyone how good it is? When everyone else at the table does the same then you know their worth sharing.

This was my first time using Ro-tel tomato and green chile mix. But it won’t be my last! They were exceptionally tasty and added a lot of flavor. I mixed them with the shredded chicken and layered the burritos with cheesy rice, shredded cheddar and  refried beans. Then I pan-fried them to melt all the flavors together and make the tortilla all nice and toasty. I topped them with a sour cream sauce made by mixing in softened cream cheese, cilantro and fresh lime juice. The cream cheese enriched the sour cream and made it extra thick and creamy. The refreshing hint of lime and cilantro brightened up and mingled with the other flavors deliciously.  

What did I learn?

1. Burritos are overlooked in my diet!

2. Ro-Tel Tomatoes & Green Chiles are yummy.

3. Burritos are the perfect way to re-invent leftovers.

4. You can never have too much cheese in a burrito!

Zesty Chicken Burritos

Zesty Chicken Burritos
(by Reeni)
Cheesy Rice:
1/2 cup Brown Rice, uncooked
1 cup Sharp Cheddar or Pepper Jack
Burritos:
1/2 yellow onion, diced
Olive Oil for sauting
1 – 15 ounce can Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles
2-3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Chile powder
1 can Refried Beans, heated
Burrito size Tortillas
1-2 cups Sharp Cheddar, shredded, for serving
Optional Fixin’s: Lettuce, Tomato, Salsa, and Avocado for serving
Sour Cream Sauce:
4 ounces Cream Cheese
3/4 cup Sour Cream
1 tablespoon fresh Cilantro or Parsley, fresh, chopped
fresh squeezed lime juice
1. Cook the rice according to package directions. Add the cheese in at the very end. Put the lid on the pan and allow it to melt. Stir until combined well. If it gets too thick add a tablespoon of milk and stir.
2. Saute the onion in Olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet until soft and tender. Add the Ro-tel including the juices, the chicken, oregano and Chile Powder. Heat through.
3. To make the sauce soften the cream cheese in the microwave, whisk in the sour cream, a generous squeeze of lime juice and the cilantro or parsley.
4. Assemble the burritos: put a strip of beans down the center of the tortilla, top with cheese, rice, and chicken. Fold in the ends and roll up.
5. Wrap the tortillas and heat in a 325 degree oven until warm or pan-fry them in a greased skillet over medium heat on each side. Serve with sour cream sauce and fixin’s if desired.

Zesty Chicken Burritos

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Baked Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Baked Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

This is an unbelievably delicious recipe for Baked Chicken Enchiladas! The filling is made of tender pieces of chicken mixed with green chile sauce, sharp cheddar, sour cream and cilantro or parsley. The filling is then rolled up in flour tortillas, covered in more green chile sauce, lots of cheese and baked off. The spicy green chile sauce is made with sour cream, chicken broth, green chiles and chipotle peppers.

This is one of my family’s favorite comfort meals!

Baked Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Baked Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
(by Reeni)
4 cups Chicken, boneless, skinless, cooked and cut into bite-size hunks
2 + 1/2 cups Extra Sharp Cheddar, shredded
1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried
1/2 cup Sour Cream plus additional for serving
Salt and pepper
8-10 taco size flour Tortillas
Green Chile Sauce:
1/2 Yellow Onion, diced
1 tablespoon Canola oil
2 tablespoon Butter
2 tablespoon Flour
1 and 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
1 small can Green Chiles
1 – 2 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo, seeds scraped out, minced*
1 + 1/2 cups Sour Cream
1. In a medium saucepan saute the Onion in the oil over medium-low heat until soft. Push the Onions to one side and add the Butter and Flour. Whisk together and cook for three minutes. Slowly whisk in Broth. Add Green Chiles and Chipotle (adjust the amount according to your heat preference). Bring to a slow simmer and continue to simmer about five minutes, whisking occasionally. Add the Sour Cream, whisk until melted and incorporated. Remove from heat.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with baking spray and put a thin layer of Enchilada sauce in the bottom.
4. To a large mixing bowl add the Chicken, 1 cup Cheese, Cilantro, ½ cup Sour Cream, 1 cup Green Chile Sauce, dash of salt and pepper, and mix well.
5. In a skillet heat the Tortillas one at a time over medium heat about 30 seconds on each side.
6. Put a 1/2 – 2/3 cup of the Chicken mixture into the middle of each Tortilla, one at a time. Roll and place in pan. Repeat until all the Chicken mixture is used up. Pour the rest of the Green Chile sauce over the top. Sprinkle the remaining Cheese evenly over top.
7. Bake 20-25 minutes until bubbly throughout. Let set for five minutes before serving. Serve with Sour Cream and Avocado.
*Chipotles are optional.

The most delicious mess I ever ate!
Baked Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas on FoodistaCheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Saucy Salsa Verde Two Ways

Salsa Verde

How many times have you seen these little, green, husk-covered tomatillos at the market and turned the other way because you didn’t know what they were or how to use them? I know I have. These are tomatillos and are similar in taste to a green tomato. Tart but not tart like a lemon that makes you pucker up. They have a distinct flavor that you can’t get enough of once you start eating!

I have an easy and delicious use for them. You can turn them into a tangy sauce with a powerful flavor burst to brighten up your summer meals. Or a salsa to enjoy with chips. I love it on my chicken tacos, fajitas, grilled steaks and fish.

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde Two Ways
(by Reeni)

5 or 6 Tomatillos
1/2 cup fresh Cilantro
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1 jalapeno, seeded
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon Sea salt plus more for blanching
1/2 cup sour cream for the sauce, omit if making the salsa
Avocado(optional)

Blanch the tomatillos in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.

Sauce:
Rouch chop the tomatillos. Add the tomatillos, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, salt and sour cream to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until smooth for a creamy sauce. Serve immediately and store leftovers in refrigerator.

Salsa:
Rough chop the tomatillos. Add the tomatillos, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, salt to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse until smooth with some finely chopped pieces left. Refrigerate and serve with chips or as a condiment.

Printable Recipe

Fish Tacos with Pico De Gallo and Coconut Cole Slaw

Coconut-Almond Crusted Fish Tacos

I’ve only had fish tacos once before. It’s taken me awhile to warm up to the whole idea of fish in a taco. But I love them! They are nothing like the Tex-Mex tacos I’ve known my entire life. But they are every bit as delicious and that’s all that matters.

You can use these recipes to make tacos or you can deconstruct them and eat the fish as is with the pico de gallo on top. Each component works by itself.

The tacos are layered in corn tortillas with smoky, spicy coleslaw that gets a kick of flavor from cayenne, lime juice, fresh cilantro, and toasted coconut flakes. The slaw tastes even better the second day after the flavors have time to develop. The tilapia fillets are crusted with a mixture of chopped almonds, coconut flakes, Chile powder, and panko. I baked them but you could pan fry them in shallow oil. They are finished with a Pico de Gallo speckled with bits of avocado, tomatoes, onion and fresh corn right off the cob seasoned with cilantro.

I was shocked when after eating his first fish taco, ever, my Dad proclaimed it to be just as good as eating a burger. Being a dedicated burger lover it was the ultimate compliment.

Coconut-Almond Crusted Chicken w/ Pico de Gallo

The cold, juicy coleslaw is a nice contrast to the hot and crispy fish and the mild, buttery Pico de Gallo. Insanely good. Yes, there is a fish taco heaven.

Coconut-Almond Crusted Fish Tacos

Toasted Coconut Tilapia Tacos
(by Reeni)
Coconut-Almond Crusted Tilapia
1/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup panko crumbs
1 tablespoon Chile powder
Sea salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 pound tilapia fillets (or other whitefish)
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. If pan-frying use a large saute pan or iron skillet. Add a shallow layer of vegetable or canola oil.
2. Use a food processor to chop the almonds into crumbs.
3. In a shallow dish mix the almond crumbs with the coconut flakes, panko, and Chile powder. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Set up a dredging station with egg in a shallow dish with the crumb mixture next to it, then the baking pan.
5. If frying heat your oil over medium heat.
6. Season your fish with salt and pepper. Dredge each fillet in egg than in the crumb mixture. Press the mixture onto the fish to get a good crust.
7. Pan-fry on each side until cooked through and crispy. Or bake for about 15 minutes until cooked through.
Pico de Gallo
1 avocado, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup yellow or red onion, diced
1 ear of corn, cooked, kernels removed
1 jalepeno, diced, seeds and ribs removed(optional)
2 tablespoons cilantro, fresh, chopped
juice of one lime
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
Toss everything together, season with salt and pepper.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Toasted Coconut Cole Slaw
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
3 cups cabbage, shredded
1/3 carrot, shredded
1/4 cup Cilantro, fresh, chopped
3/4 cup Mayonnaise(like Hellmann’s or Best Foods)
1 lime
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Honey
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper or Peperoncino(adjust to your own heat preference)
Sea salt and fresh pepper
1. Toast the coconut in a small saute pan on medium heat just until it turns a light golden color. Remove from heat and let cool.
2. In a large bowl add the cabbage, carrots, coconut and cilantro.
3. In a medium bowl whisk together the mayo, the juice of the lime, mustard, honey, and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Pour over the cabbage mixture and toss well. Refrigerate until serving.
*To build your tacos use a heated corn tortilla, layer the slaw first then hunks of tilapia topped with the Pico de Gallo.

Coconut-Almond Crusted Fish Tacos

Avocado Chicken Chile de Arbol

Avocado Chicken Chile de Arbol

This is my entry for Gloria of Foods and Flavors of San Antonio’s monthly chili-cook off challenge. This month’s challenge was slated to be called “Return of the Chili Queens” after the infamous Chili Queens of the 1880’s. In San Antonio these “queens” gathered in their colorful wagons at the Military Plaza to sell their homemade chili. Back then a plate of chili and beans only cost a dime! Sadly the Return of the Chile Queens in San Antonio, the birthplace of chili, has been canceled. Some traditions should be kept alive, and I think this is one of them. It is such a cool part of San Antonio’s history, and is worth re-visiting. Mostly for the fun of it and for chili history’s sake!

Avocado Chicken Chile de Arbol

When I set out to make this chili I was feeling a lot better after being sick for a few days. Half-way through I realized I wasn’t as well as I thought. I was only able to eat little, to taste test a bit and to check the seasonings. It was every bit as good as the aroma permeating the house promised. The mmm and yum sounds from the kitchen table confirmed it was. And the nearly empty pan.

I took the idea of white chicken chili and ran with it. White chili is usually made with chicken broth instead of tomatoes. A little too soup-like for me. So I added pureed avocado to give it a thick and rich texture, and in case you miss the tomatoes I threw in some fresh diced ones at the end. This is super creamy and flavorful. It’s loaded with delicious textures from tender hunks of chicken, cannellini beans, corn, green pepper, tomatoes, and onions. I used toasty, spicy Chile de Arbol for heat, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Canned chipotles or jalapeños would work wonders, too. If you prefer a subtle spice a can of diced green chiles would do the trick too.

Avocado Chicken Chile de Arbol

Avocado Chicken Chile de Arbol
(by Reeni)
4 dried Arbol Chile pods*
vegetable oil, for sauteing
1 and 1/2 pounds chicken breast, boneless, skinless
1 onion, cut in 1″ strips
1 green pepper, cut in 1″ strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
2 cans Cannellini Beans, with juices
4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup corn
1 tablespoon Chile powder
1 tablespoon fresh Parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons Cumin
2 teaspoons Oregano
2 avocadoes
1 and 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime, plus more for serving
Shredded cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips for serving
Remove the stems and seeds from your chile pods. In a dry skillet over low heat toast the chile pods for about five minutes. Remove from heat to a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside.
Rough chop the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.
In a large soup pot or heavy-bottom sauce pan add three tablespoons vegetable oil, diced onion, pepper, garlic, and chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until chicken is cooked and vegetables are tender.
Mince your chile pods and add them to the chili.
Add the beans, chicken broth, corn and spices. Season with more salt and pepper.
Simmer for 30 minutes.
Puree the avocados in a food processor with about 1/2 cup of the chicken broth from the chili. Puree until smooth.
Add to chili along with the diced tomatoes and lime juice. Bring back to a simmer, mix well to incorporate the avocado.
Remove from heat and serve.
*adjust to you personal/family’s preference

Avocado Chicken Chile de Arbol