September 07, 2009

Hearty Chicken Taco Soup

This is again a variation of a recipe I found on allrecipes.com "Simple Taco Soup" and one similar to what Rachel Ray makes as well. (Story behind this recipe follows in Her Last Supper entry).

INGREDIENTS:
1 pkg. Chicken Tenders
(You can also use 2 lbs. ground beef or chopped/shredded chicken breast OR rotisserie chicken shredded)
1 pkg. Taco Seasoning
1 pkg. Ranch Dressing Mix (be sure to get dressing mix, not the dip)
1-1/2 cups Chicken Stock (you may use more depending how full your pot gets)
1 15 oz. can Mild Chili Beans
1 15 oz. can Whole Kernel Corn, drained
Your choice of 2-3 different 15 oz. cans of beans
(I usually use 1 can Black Beans, 1 can Red Kidney Beans and 1 can Pinto Beans - DRAIN AND RINSE ALL BEANS)
1 14.5 oz can of Stewed Tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can Diced Tomatoes with Green Chili Peppers
1 4 oz. can chopped green chilies
-- MY EXTRAS --
1 Red Bell Pepper (or any color you like, I sometimes use 2 different colors)
1 Hot Pepper of Choice (omit if you don't want it too spicy)
Dash of hot sauce to taste (again omit if you don't want it too hot)
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 red or yellow onion chopped
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or enough to cover the bottom of your pot lightly, a few turns of the pan)
salt/pepper to taste (I also add this on the veggies as they cook).
1 bag Tortilla Chips (your favorite brand is fine)
1 bag Fiesta Blend style Shredded Cheese

DIRECTIONS
  1. Pre-Heat broiler.
  2. Heat up olive oil in a dutch oven or pot over medium/high heat.
  3. Add chopped onion, pepper and garlic - stir mixture often to ensure the garlic doesn't burn.
  4. Once veggies have softened a little bit - you still want some bite to it. Add in your chopped up chicken tenders (if you are using ground beef, brown this first and then drain off excess and return to pot to cook veggies). If you are using shredded already cooked chicken - go ahead and add it now as well and toss together. Cook chicken until no longer pink/cooked fully.
  5. Add taco seasoning and ranch dressing packet and stir until meat and veggies are fully coated.
  6. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  7. Add enough chicken stock to cover all the ingredients. It's ok if some peeks through the top of the stock, but you want it well covered and enough to make this more like a soup and less like a chili bowl.
  8. Simmer uncovered, for 15 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally
  9. Add hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Once soup is hot and ready to go - laddle the soup into oven safe dishes, be sure not to fill the bowls to the top - you'll need room for the last bit of ingredients.
  11. Top soup with crushed tortilla chips and cover with shredded cheese.
  12. Place bowls on a baking sheet or in a baking pan and set under the broiler for a few minutes (BE SURE TO KEEP AN EYE ON THE BOWLS the chips will crisp up and burn, which you don't want, you just want a nice toasting of the chips and melting of the cheese).
  13. Place dishes on a plate to help with carrying to the table and enjoy - be careful they're very HOT!!!
FUN ADDITIONS: You may want to make a topping station. You can add great things to this - as if it isn't already tasty enough!
Sour cream, chives, cilantro, diced tomatoes - all of these additions would be great! So would a nice Margarita on the side but that's up to you!

Any questions - feel free to comment and ask, I'll try my best to answer them - this is my first time posting a recipe so I may have left some important information out.

Enjoy and remember - when you make food for the ones you love, they know it comes from your heart! ox
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