I’ve been eating SO clean since the new year started; I really deserve a medal of some kind. Not only have I reduced my pizza, wine, and sugar consumption, I have done so while my kitchen is under construction, so you’ll understand if I need to brag about my healthy habits.
One of my favorite things to eat is a variation on chicken tortilla soup, made super easy with some brilliant shortcuts. However, my kids would never eat a soup with all those different lumpy ingredients swimming around in it, so this meal, which makes everyone happy, has become something of a cross between Taco Night and Mommy’s Healthy Soup Night. Everyone wins.
I don’t go by exact measurements, but this is a very forgiving recipe, so take off your rule-follower hat and go with the flow. You can do this all at once in a pot, or in two stages with a slow cooker. Here’s the crock pot method for busy families.
1 chicken breast for every two chicken eaters in the house (Cheater’s tip: use rotisserie chicken or other pre-cooked chicken from grocery store)
1/2 yellow or white onion (optional)
1 or 2 cans of black beans
jar of salsa
1 or 2 limes
1 carton of chicken broth
Bonus ingredient: Frozen roasted corn from Trader Joes
Bag of tortilla chips
Shredded cheddar or mexican cheese blend
In the morning, or mid-day, place into the slow cooker raw or cooked chicken breast, an onion sliced in half or quarters, and a carton of broth – or enough broth to cover ingredients.
Add a half-cup of salsa (this is a cheater’s way of getting some nice tomato and spice flavoring into your soup without measuring that stuff).
Add a healthy shake or two of cumin.
Squeeze the juice of one lime into the crock pot.
Now leave it alone.
That evening, once the pot is simmering and the chicken is cooked, use two forks to shred the chicken, and then remove the onion.
Add the black beans and corn, leaving some out to heat up separately for picky eaters.
If you want to remove some chicken for your soup haters, do so now.
Prepare small bowls of ingredients for family members to customize their soups: Chips; chicken; cheese; beans; avocado; corn
My husband and I layer our bowls this way:
– Smashed tortilla chips (skip if you are on a weird diet kick)
– Cheddar cheese (skip if you are on a weird diet kick)
– Diced avocado (skip if you are insane)
– Pour soup on top
My older child eats a bowl with chips, plain chicken, and cheese, heated in the microwave for 30 seconds. You may call this Nachos.
My younger child prefers chips, beans, and shredded cheese NOT MELTED. MELTED CHEESE IS GROSS, DON’T YOU KNOW?
I super duper wish my kids would just eat this delicious soup, just as I do and save me from prepping those little bowls of toppings. But they will not. and at least they’re willing to eat some of the same ingredients, which is a step in the right direction.
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