19 October, 2011

My Cousin, Tortilla Soup & Mushroom Quesadillas

Tortilla Soup & Mushroom Quesadillas are the new Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese.

Once upon a time I had a cousin. Well I still have her and actually I have like a gazillion cousins, but stay with me. My beautiful and talented cousin was amazing in the kitchen. She could cook anything and never needed a recipe. My favorite thing she made was a tortilla soup. She taught me how to make it which involved touching and boiling an entire hen. If you know something about me, you know how much I dislike dealing with poultry. But she assured me this was the best and only way to get such a flavorful broth. And while she was likely right (dang her for being beautiful and right), I had to find a shortcut. Let's just say my tortilla soup is not her tortilla soup but it sure cured a craving and spared me the dance with the chicken.

This recipe serves about 3-4 so double it if you want leftovers or have a big crew to feed.

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
1 small jalapeno, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts*
5 oz diced tomatoes
16 oz chicken broth**
2 cups water
1 can pinto beans (rinsed)
cilantro, chopped

Drizzle olive oil onto chicken breast, sprinkle with seasoning mixture and cook in the oven on 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cooked thoroughly. Remove from oven and shred with two forks and set aside. Add 1tbsp olive oil to a medium soup pot on medium-high heat. Add veggies and saute for a few minutes, add the remainder of the spice mixture and saute for a few minutes. You can use a packaged taco seasoning but making your own will eliminate excess salt and preservatives. Add shredded chicken, diced tomatoes, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer for 45 minutes. Top the soup with cilantro and serve with mushroom quesadillas.

*So I did have to handle some chicken but way different than boiling a whole one. You can also use leftover chicken. If the seasonings are not tortilla soup friendly, rinse the chicken under water before adding to the soup.
** Try to find a good quality, less salt, no preservatives chicken broth. It is worth paying more money for a better tasting broth.

11 October, 2011

Creative Leftovers: Five Guys Breakfast

Some of us happen to be more creative than others. Creative energy comes from many places. It can come from a picture, a smell, a time of year, a weather forecast; however, most of the time it comes from another person. We get our creative energy from others, we give off our creative energy to others and it becomes one big snowball of energy rolling down a hill. Our ideas are rarely original without some form of inspiration from someone else. And the more creative we are, the more creative we become.

While spending some time with a creative friend and feeding off of her energy (or maybe sucking it out of her), we came up with an idea for reusing leftover french fries. Now I don't know if this will work for every leftover fry but if you have a Five Guys Burgers and Fries in your area I can guarantee success. And if you have a FG in your area and have experienced it you know three things: 1) they are getting rave reviews; 2) their employees are super friendly; and 3) you will never finish the fries they serve you even if you share a small. If you do not have an FG in your area try using crispy-wedge-potatoes from your dinner the night before.
leftover FG fries (or crispy wedge potatoes)
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/4 onion,diced
3 eggs
Heat olive oil over medium heat and saute onions and green peppers for a couple minutes. Toss in fries and saute for a couple more minutes.
 In another skillet cook an egg to your preference
Throw the egg on top. Serve.