SLOW-COOKER BLACK-BEAN AND LIME CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

Tortilla soup in all its various get ups is among my favorites, and this recipe is right up there with others that have found their way into a bowl with my name on it. In this instance, it’s the lime that stands out. In fact, next time I think I’ll add a wedge to the bowl rim for those who want to give it more punch. Sorry, no leftovers…

4 cups chicken broth

juice of one lime

2 tbsp taco seasoning

2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp dried cilantro (or 1 tbsp fresh minced)

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1-1/2 cups diced onion

1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1-15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1-15 oz can diced tomatoes, not drained

1/2 cup instant white rice

1-1/2 lbs chicken tenderloins, diced

Recommended toppings: sour cream, grated Monterey Jack cheese, diced avocado, broken tortilla chips

1) Turn slow cooker on low heat and add all ingredients (excepting toppings, of course); stir to combine, cover, and cook 6-8 hours

2) To serve, ladle into bowls and, to make it extra special, pile on those toppings

Now wasn’t that easy?

Serves: 6-8

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WHILE YOU’RE AWAY LASAGNA

Goodness, it’s been weeks since I posted a recipe–so unlike me. Not that my guys haven’t eaten well, it’s just that I’ve been so busy with the release of LADY AT ARMS that I haven’t had time to translate my scribbled and marked up recipes into legible type. However, during a gluttonous North & South viewing over the weekend (the Richard Armitage/Daniela Denby-Ashe one, of course), I tackled the pile of recipes–in between the really, really good (read: romantic) scenes. So here goes: Who doesn’t like lasagna? Who doesn’t like easy? This recipe cooks all day while you’re away and, despite the lack of real effort, is incredibly yum. Just toss together a salad after you come through the door and it’s dine time! Okay, that was short. But sweet 🙂

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1-16 oz container cottage cheese

2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

1-26 oz jar pasta sauce (I used Bertolli’s Marinara)

1-1/4 lb cooked ground beef (chicken and turkey good, too)

1-8 oz pkg lasagna noodles

4 thick slices fresh mozzarella

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1) Set slow cooker on low heat (Note: My slow cooker is one of the smaller ones that best serves 4 people)

2) In medium bowl, mix cottage and mozzarella cheeses

3) Layer lasagna ingredients in slow cooker as follows: pasta sauce, cooked ground beef, noodles, cheese mixture (you should have 4-5 layers when you’re done); cook on low 6-8 hours; top with mozzarella slices, scatter parsley over top, and cook additional 15 minutes (while you’re tossing together that salad); enjoy!

Servings: 4-6