I also confess to being supremely jealous of anyone who can throw a little of this and a little of that together and call it a meal. I love you, Alton Brown!
So, for all of you out there (surely to the Lord I am not the only one) who tend toward being culinarily handicapped, I give you…
The Lazy Mom’s Recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup.
* I start with three bell peppers diced up kind of chunky…one red, one yellow and one orange (I’m a quilter and love color!) If I so much as see a green bell pepper, it’ll be all over but poppin’ the Pepto. You could do a green one, but it’s your funeral. Or heartburn. Whatever.
* Add in 1/2 (or more if you’re so inclined) of a large sweet onion, also diced and about a teaspoon of minced garlic (mine comes from a jar–Spice World, if I’m not mistaken because if I buy it fresh, I’ll find it two years later in the back of a cabinet. Ask me how I know). I also threw in a handful of diced bacon. Hey, everything’s better with bacon!
Himself was amazed to learn that a dish I’d recently prepared had, horrors!, onions in it. ‘I don’t like onion’ he snivelled. ‘I do’ I retorted. He ate it. Smart man. Fifteen years of marriage with nary an onion in any dish? It was time to go postal or let ’em eat onion, y’all.
* Dump everything is a large pot and cook until just tender but with still enough body that you can tell it’s a veggie. If you have to fool the children (or the spouse), you can put the cooked veggies through the blender, but I don’t know any mother who would stoop to that all-time low (whistling softly here). As a side note, you can puree cooked carrots and mix them in with your taco meat. At least that’s the rumor I heard. (Still whistling.) Or put beets in your spaghetti sauce. (Still whistling.)
* In a separate pot, I start 8 cups of water to boil and then break out the secret weapon. No, it’s not Paula Deen.
The people at Bear Creek have my undying loyalty. I have done up their potato soup like a redneck mama decking out her toddler for a beauty pageant and, yummyyummyyummy, is it ever so good. I have it on good authority, however, that the broccoli cheese sucks road grit, so I think that one shall get a pass from me.
* Once the water’s boiling, you dump the pouch in, give it a stir and go on to phase three. Come back every once in a while for a stir and in 10 minutes, the liquid part of the soup’s done.
* Yes, phase three is a bag of pre-cooked, marinated cluckers. Dice these up like the veggies and then dump them and the veggies into the soup mixture. Stir again and simmer ’til you’re happy (10-15 minutes) and eat it. Top it with crushed tortilla chips or sour cream or cheese…or hair gel for all I care. Whatever floats your boat…
* If you find the mixture a little too chunky for your liking, pour in a cup or two more water.
* I also dumped in a can of rinsed black beans. Rotel’s good, too. If I’m feeling spunky, I add in a can of drained corn and if I’m feeling all Giada-ish, I’ll cut kernals from a real live ear of corn and dump those in. I figure if it involves knives, I must be a cook. Hannibal would be proud. I bet this soup would be great with a nice Chianti, too.
As luck would have it, Himself went out for the evening to a car cruise, leaving Captain Studly and The Diva home with moi. Do you think they’d eat it? That’s a negative, Ghost Rider. I had two bowls…heaven! I pawned half of the stuff on my parents who are always grateful for a meal they don’t have to prepare even if I was the one cooking it. I can’t wait ’til I’m their age, but the Co-Defendants will probably bring me a bag from McDonald’s.
Enjoy…and remember, if it’s made with love, that’s what counts!