Sunday, November 11, 2012

Yumminess in a Bowl

Fall finally decided to arrive here in Albuquerque (a little late this year). This weekend the temperatures dropped, we even got a light dusting of snow last night.  Last week it was in the 70s...crazy. With the cooler temperatures, I have been wanting more warm foods, and these are two of my favorites lately.

I have been making oatmeal for breakfast for Jack and me this week. It's healthy, inexpensive, and quick. I just buy the big canister of quick oats, no brand loyalty, just whatever is least expensive! Doesn't get much better than that, right? I enjoy eating oatmeal, but cannot take it plain. So I like to add a little brown sugar to sweeten it up (just a pinch, well a heavy pinch) and I use different fruit, depending on what I have around. The bowl above has dried cranberries. It was pretty tasty, and Jack loves it too!

Today with the snow and cold I was craving soup. One of my favorite soup recipes is one that my grandmother shared with me for tortilla soup. It's full of fresh flavor and perfect for warming up by the fire. In fact, it was so great, I had two bowls. I don't know where she originally got it (I guess I'll have to ask her if it's her personal recipe or one she was given by someone else). Anyway, all that to say, I am unsure of the original source, so for now I'll give credit to my sweet grandmother for this bowl of deliciousness. Here is the recipe:
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped (I used 2 because I prefer spicier food)
  • 2 tbs. oil (canola, vegetable, whatever you have around will do)
  • 2 cans (or one carton) beef broth
  • 2 cans (or one carton) chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice or sauce (I used our juicer to make fresh tomato juice with 3 tomatoes)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, chopped (I just used a store bought rotisserie chicken to make it easier)
  • 1 large tomato peeled and diced
  • tortilla strip, fried crisp
  • avocado slices
  • Monterrey jack cheese, grated
Heat oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and jalapenos (my grandmother adds the jalapenos later with the broth, but I prefer to saute them), and saute until onions are translucent. Add spices, broths, tomato juice, and worcestershire. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer one hour. Add chicken and tomato and cook for another 5 minutes (you can also let it sit longer if needed). Garnish with tortilla strips, avocado, and cheese.

If you have not fried tortillas before, you should definitely give it a try! It's easy, cheap, and so good! Cut corn tortillas into strips. Heat canola or vegetable oil in a pan on medium high heat. Make sure there is enough oil to cover a single layer of tortillas. Wait until the oil is very hot, then place strips in a single layer (you will most likely need to do a few batches, depending on how big your pan is and how much you want) in the oil. You'll know it's hot enough if you drop the strips in and the oil bubbles. The tortillas should be crisp after a couple of minutes, you can just watch them (or take one out to test). Once they are nice and crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate or tray. I sprinkled mine with salt and chili powder too for extra flavor. This is such an easy and tasty way to make a meal special. You can also do this to make your own tortilla chips. Instead of cutting the tortillas in strips, cut them into eighths, like you might a pie or pizza. I don't make chips that way often because it's a little more labor intensive, especially if you need a big batch, but every once in awhile it is nice to have fresh chips (or if you want chips and only have corn tortillas around).

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