Sunday, November 24, 2013

Souper Saturday

so, for 2 weeks I've been wanting homemade soup.  I was all ready last weekend and the lazy bug kicked in so it didn't happen.  But the almost blizzard conditions (remember I'm from TX) that blew in on Friday left me freezing to my bones and fully committed to my Saturday adventure of multi-tasking - cleaning and cooking simultaneously. 
 
I'll admit, it was just about throwing a bunch of junk together and crossing my fingers that it worked.  I'd love to be cool like Mix n Match Mama, Dining with Debbie or Heather's Dish and actually make up a recipe that you could duplicate.  But, my style is more to tell you what I did and why I did it and let you figure out if its something you want to repeat.  You see I'm all about knowing tastes and learning what makes a great food marriage (at least a good party in your mouth) and then making that magic happen over and over.
 
At my house growing up, we ate lots of soup.  Dad liked to eat it, mama liked to make it and we didn't know any different.  So, along the way my mom (who is one heck of a cook!) taught us a lot about food flavors and when in doubt just experiment to see if it would work.  I can only remember 3 or 4 "we should probably not make this again" moments. 
 
A couple months ago, I made Green Chile Chicken Chili and I've been begging my mom to use this as a left over turkey recipe.  I guess I'll find out Friday if my pleading worked (it doesn't usually bc she has her own agenda...but its worth the try!)  Apparently my dad doesn't like white beans and since its just the two of them at home now, he gets his way!  WHATEVER!!!
 
But, as I was gathering the ingredients to make up that recipe, I noticed that Swanson had some new flavored chicken broths.  I was super curious and had been wanting to try one of them.  So, last weekend as I gathered ingredients for this soup of mine, I decided to make this the day to try the new broth.  Which, turned out to be a great idea since I forgot to get any seasoning packet.
 
So, what did I get and why?
 
Mexican Chicken and Roasted Tomato Soup
1 can Canellini Beans
1 can Great Northern Beans
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can chopped green chilies
1 c World Table verde salsa
1 box Swanson Mexican Tortilla chicken broth
1 pkg Tyson trimmed and ready chicken strips
seasoning for chicken
1 C finely chopped bell pepper (1/4th in)
frozen edamamme
fresh leafy spinach

Basically you cook the chicken cut it in pieces and then dump everything together in the crockpot except for the spinach which you chop and add 20-30 minutes before you each it.

I went with the combination of great northern beans and cannellini beans.  To me, the cannellini beans (basically white kidney beans) tend to be too tough so the great northern beans which are much softer (think white pork n beans) are a good balance to get the same proteins.  Also, to cut back on the spice, I went with fire roasted tomatoes instead of Rotel and because I like the tang of green chilies, I added a can of that. 
When I moved up here, I discovered the World Table Walmart brand (even made the Cooking Light's favorite store brands list) at a potluck I attended and have been loving their salsa ever since (I'm also a My Brothers Salsa fan!).  The verde salsa is roasted and has a yummy smoky flavor that brings the perfect punch.
 
I learned my lesson on the frozen chicken last time and went back to the Tyson brand (have you noticed moving to NWA has made me a local brand snob....eeeek!) this time cooking my own.  No picture, but I cooked it in the iron skillet with taco seasoning, garlic and some Lawry's Jambalaya seasoning.  I know all the flavors will come off once they hit the soup liquid, but I wanted what I could, cooked into the meat.

I had some extra chopped red bell pepper from my salad last weekend so I chopped it a little more finely and threw in 1 cup of that.

To round things off, I like to play mind games with myself and sneak in veggies and super foods any time I can.  Soup is always the perfect place to do that.  I don't have kids, but I'm fully expecting to be "that mom".  We are eating veggies....yes you can pull this up later!

So, I threw in some frozen edamamme and added spinach just 20 minutes or so before I ate it.  Spinach gets a little slimy like strings when it cooks down so I chopped it up to make it smaller and still get the same nutritional punch.  I know green is the thing that throws everyone off, but I'm good with all the color!
 
First flavor impression? - kinda smoky, little spicy I'm guessing from the roasted tomatoes, needed salt and something else....hmmmm
 
Additions - 1 T minced garlic, several shakes of ground salt, 3 tsp lime juice.
I'm loving it.  The lime juice cut some of the smoke and heat.  Garlic and salt were just needed flavors and the crunch of the edmamme is perfection! 

I think I'm gonna be happy with this one.  Of course homemade tortilla strips, cilantro and grated cheese would be the icing on top!

Variation - I do think you could go with stewed tomatoes to get the punch of flavor and less spice.  Chopped carrots and zucchini would be a good addition.  Heck even a slew of roasted veggies would be great.  Many people, my mom included, would probably add a can of corn.  I'm kind a on a no corn thing right now...I think its a waste since your body doesn't process it, but for the "usual types, corn and black beans would round it all out. 
Even better serve it with my friend Ree's corn and avocado salsa!  You didn't know we're friends?  We hung out last Saturday!
 
Let me know if you try it and what you think?  Anything you would add?
No worries, I still had leftovers of these for dessert...soup and cinnamon rolls....anybody?

No comments: