November 27, 2010

Rainy day lunch

There is nothing better than soup on a rainy day, especially chicken tortilla soup.  Add jalapeno cheddar corn muffins and a refreshing cucumber salad, and it becomes a meal worthy of compliment.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, boiled then shredded (save water for soup base if desired)
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 (14.5oz) cans chicken broth (or 1 can plus water from boiling the chicken breasts)
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 Tb lemon jc
1 cup chunky salsa (any brand will work)

for garnish: corn tortilla chips, sour cream, grated monterey jack cheese

Once the chicken breasts are boiled and shredded, add to pot with chicken broth (and/or water used for boiling), corn, salsa, chili powder, lemon juice and salsa.  Meanwhile, heat olive oil in saute pan.  Saute the onions until soft, then add garlic and cumin.  Mix and saute for another minute. Add to soup pot and simmer 10 minutes. 

Helpful Hints
Make your own tortilla strips by cutting corn tortillas into strips and baking in a 400 degree oven until crisp.  Store in a tupperware container for several weeks.
A dollop of sour cream goes a loooooong way.  It's okay to skip the cheese.
This recipe can be easily adapted for the crockpot.  Thaw chicken breasts over-night in the fridge.  Cut into large chunks and throw in the crockpot with the rest of the ingredients (except the sour cream, cheese, and tortilla chips).  Cook on low all day. 

Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Muffins
One box of Jiffy corn muffin mix.
1/8 cup chopped jalapeno
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Make mix as directed on back of box (with the egg and milk).  Stir in jalapeno and cheese.  Bake as directed

Helpful Hints
Some people are purists and insist on using real corn meal and making the muffins from scratch (which I often do), however, it's much easier to use the box mix, especially in a time crunch.
Many recipes call for jalapenos, but it's way too hard to roast them and chop them.  Keep a jar of sliced jalapeno rings in the fridge for every day use.  So much easier.
Be sure to spray the muffin tin before adding the mix, otherwise they won't come out easily (I use the small muffin tins).

Cucumber Salad
Peel and slice cucumbers (however many desired)
1/4 sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 tsp dill
1/4 tsp season salt
1 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
1/8 cup white sugar

Put the cucumbers in a colander and salt.  Leave in sink for 30 minutes, allowing the natural water inside the cucumber to drain out.  Rinse.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl add the rest of the ingredients.  Gently stir the cucumber slices into the dressing mix.  Refrigerate.

Helpful Hints
The cucumber slices can be as thick or thin as you like them.  Although, if they are very thick they should be cut in half, otherwise they are too difficult to eat.  Also, they don't have to be peeled, or they can be peeled in stripes.  Whatever you like.
The seasonings can be adjusted for personal taste.
If you don't have time to salt and drain the cucumbers that's okay.  It really only helps the dressing adhere better, but this step can be skipped.


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