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
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

Drunk Chili and Cheddar Cornbread Dumplings

Sun-Dried Tomato Beer Chili & Cheddar Cornbread Dumplings

Chili and cornbread go together like bees and honey. A classic, comfort food combination that I love and naturally gravitate towards when the temps dip below freezing and snowflakes are falling past my window. They are both so versatile and can be flavored up so many different ways there is no reason to ever get tired of them.

I used my basic go-to chili recipe and spiced it up by adding sun-dried tomatoes, beer and Chipotle peppers. The tomatoes and peppers gave it a depth of flavor that was rich, spicy and delicious. I don’t know how much the beer added to the final outcome of the chili. It wasn’t discernible in the flavor. I used a pale ale, next time I will use a darker beer and more of it to see if that makes any difference.

I used beer in the cornbread dumplings too, and sharp cheddar cheese. The result is a moist and tender cornbread that you can easily spoon right up with your chili. What could be easier than to cook the cornbread right on top of the chili? The best part is less dirty pans! Well, no, I’m lying. The best part is the eating!

Sun-Dried Tomato Beer Chili & Cheddar Cornbread Dumplings

Sun-Dried Tomato Chili with Cornbread Dumplings
(by Reeni)
For the Chili:
Olive Oil for sautéing
1 large Yellow Onion, diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1-2 Chipotle peppers in Adobo, diced, seeds removed
1/2 cup Sun-dried Tomatoes, rehydrated in hot water, diced
1 tablespoon Chile powder
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Thyme
1 pound Ground Beef, 85% lean
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
14 and ½ ounce can Diced Tomatoes with juices
1 can Cannelini beans with juices
3/4 cup frozen or canned(drained) Corn
8 ounces Beer(save the rest for the cornbread)(Pale Ale)
For the Dumplings:
1/3 cup All-purpose flour
1/4 cup Corn Meal
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup Shredded Cheddar
1/2 cup Beer
1. Saute the onion in a tablespoon or two of oil in a large heavy-bottomed sauce pan or soup pot over medium-low heat. When the onion is tender and translucent add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
2. Add the Chipotle peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, Chile powder, cumin, oregano and thyme. Saute for three more minutes. Add the ground beef and Worcestershire, breaking it apart as it browns. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add the tomatoes, beans, corn, and beer. Simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and re-season if needed.
4. To make the dumplings combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add the cheddar and beer. Mix just until combined. Let sit for five minutes.
5. Drop the dumpling dough by tablespoonfuls onto the top of the chili. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until tops of the dumplings are firm.
6. Serve with sour cream and shredded cheese.

How to Freeze Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

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.

Sun-Dried Tomato Beer Chili & Cheddar Cornbread Dumplings

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)

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

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

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.

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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
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
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

Chipotle Meatball Chili

Chipotle Meatball Chili

The idea behind this recipe for Chipotle Meatball Chili was sparked by my Mom. She was busily making meatballs last week when I heard her say “I almost put Chile powder in the meatballs.” Chile powder in meatballs? I loved the sound of it! That’s how this Meatball Chili was born.

This was absolutely delicious! It was a complete and much-needed comfort meal paired with green tomato and Swiss cheese corn muffins. The meatballs are tender and very spicy with a crusty coating from pan-frying and are swimming in a sea of warm, zesty spices and sauteed aromatics surrounded by earthy white beans and crisp corn off the cob. So incredibly hearty and satisfying!

Chipotle Meatball Chili

Chipotle Meatball Chili
(by Reeni)

For the Meatballs:
1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Chipotle peppers in Adobo, minced, and mashed with a fork
1 tablespoon parsley
2 teaspoons Chile powder
1 teaspoon Worcestshire sauce
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Oil for sautéing

For the Chili:
Oil for sautéing
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, thinly sliced in 1-inch long pieces
1-2 jalepenos, diced, seeds and ribs removed(for extra heat add them in)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Chipotle peppers in Adobo, minced and mashed with a fork
1 tablespoon Chile powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
14 and ½ ounce can diced tomatoes with juices
1 can small white beans or cannelini beans with juices
1 ear of corn or ½ cup frozen or canned(drained) corn
1/2 cup water

In a large bowl combine all the meatball ingredients. Heat a large skillet/saute pan over medium-low heat. Add a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil. Form the meatballs into 1-inch or smaller size meatballs. Place in heated oil and brown on all sides in two batches.

While the meatballs are cooking saute the onion, green pepper, and jalepenos in a tablespoon or two of oil in a large heavy-bottomed sauce pan or soup pot. When the onion and pepper are softened add the garlic and chipotle pepper. Saute for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add the meatballs as they are browned along with the seasonings, tomatoes, undrained beans, corn, and water. The mixture will seem thick at first but the tomatoes will cook down and release their juices. Simmer for 25-30 minutes, taste and re-season if needed during the cooking and before serving. Serve with toppings like sour cream, shredded cheese, tortilla chips/strips, corn muffins, or crusty bread.

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I’m sending this over to Deb of Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday(soup, sammie, or salad) round-up!

Chipotle Meatball Chili

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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

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

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.

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.

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