Friday, March 19, 2010

Adding some chipotles in your cheerio life

Sorry if my posts are coming a bit slower lately. I started a maternity leave subbing job that goes for about a month. With that said, I have a confession...

My house smells like Cheerios. Yes, Cheerios. Well, Great Value Toasted Whole Gran Oat Cereal to be exact. I'm sitting right by the box. (Starting this subbing job has made me just about full time again, although I'm not going to use that as an excuse to not clean...just yet.) My son has starting eating quite a variety of foods. But we always seem to go back to the cheerios for a snack. Why? Those little baby puffs come a variety of flavors, but cut into our grocery budget quickly. I suppose I could have a house that smells like fruit loops...but honestly, cheerios are simple and easy. They don't spoil, they don't get crushed in his diaper bag, and he loves them. And on certain days, he eats a lot of them. A LOT.
When he was a baby I looked up baby food recipes/baby snacks and planned to be a mother who gave her son a variety of good, wholesome foods so he would grow up being a healthy, non-picky eater. Riiight, then I came out of the colic coma I was in for about 4 months. And for now, throwing out a handful of cheerios onto the floor for him to chase after and eat while I am giving a few hours of lessons each day works. Well. Very well. I justify it by saying that they have fiber, which he needs to keep So my apologies if you stop by and smell my cheerio-house. For my latest recipe I decided to choose one of my favorite spicy recipes: Chipotle Chicken Tortilla Soup. Because sometimes you have to add a little chipotle into your cheerio life :-)

Chipotle Chicken Tortilla Soup
3 cups chicken stock
1 pound chicken
1 tablespoon oil
4 slices thick bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 chipotles in adobo, chopped, plus 2 tablespoons sauce (these will be a can in the Latino aisle...use gloves when chopping)
1 28-ounce can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
4 cups corn tortilla chips, lightly crushed
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 red onion, chopped
Fresh cilantro

Bring broth to a simmer and add the chicken (cut if they are thick). Poach for 6-7 minutes.
While the chicken poaches, heat oil in a pot or deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook it until crisp then remove it with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain off the excess fat, leaving 2-3 tablespoons in the pan. Add the onions and garlic to the skillet and cook them for 5 minutes. Stir in chipotles and tomatoes.
Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid, dice it then add it to the tomatoes and chipotles. Pass the poaching liquid through a strainer then add it to the soup pot as well.
Place a pile of crushed tortilla chips in the bottom of each soup bowl. Cover it liberally with cheese then ladle the hot soup down over the top. Serve it with lime, raw onions and cilantro at the table.
*If you choose not to worry about poaching the chicken, you may cook and shred/cut it first and just bring the stock to a boil before adding it to the pot.
**This had the potential to be very spicy. If you'd rather have it less spicy, or edible :-), cut the peppers open and remove the seeds before adding them.
***I love adding things in this soup. I have added chili powder, taco seasoning, cumin, corn, green chili peppers, salsa, sour cream...whatever your family loves!

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