Southwestern Chicken Soup

For tonight’s dinner, it all depended on the weather.  For the entire week of my vacation (yay public schools) It was pretty descent everyday, probably never going below 50.  I mean, yesterday, Saturday, it was so nice Thu and I sat outside and painted our nails and tanned/sunburned, depending who you’re talking about.  Then came Sunday, and I woke up to my gerbils mucking about in their cage because to them, the sun wasn’t out yet.  It was raining.  Lame Sunday.  So on our drive to Target, we decided dinner was going to be soup.  And lucky for us, it’s supposed to rain tomorrow, so we won’t look to out of place with our leftovers.  I think I deserve a pat on the back, because for the most part I followed the directions.

to Prepare: 10
Minutes to Cook: 25
Number of Servings: 8
 Ingredients
1 lb (16 oz) chicken breasts, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 small onion, chopped I really like onion.  We used a big one.
3 cloves garlic, chopped We are a garlic-in-a-jar kind of household, and there’s already olive oil in there.  Boom. 2 for 1.
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped optional: leave in seeds for more heat.  More heat? Any one who who knows me, knows this did not happen. It was a miracle the jalapeno made it in to the soup in the first place.
1 green pepper, chopped
4 c fresh spinach or about 4 oz frozen spinach This is an estimate, you can add more or less.  Again with the knowing me, there was a lot of spinach in the soup.
1 T cumin By making this soup I found out what this spice was.  It smells like taco seasoning.
1 T olive oil 
1 14-oz can chopped tomatoes (preferably low-sodium)
2 avocados, chopped Avocados are gross. They have no place in my soup.  
1 quart chicken stock (preferably reduced-sodium) I used the reduce sodium, because who needs extra sodium in their diet?
1/4 c cilantro, torn
2 limes, juiced  Forgot to buy limes.  Therefore, not included in the recipe.
1 14-oz can pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed I like black beans.  
2 c cooked brown rice We used white minute rice instead of brown.  It’s what we had in the cupboard, and there’s nothing like clearing up some space.
1 bag of Ready Steam Corn.  This wasn’t in the recipe, and I decided it needed to be added, because who doesn’t love corn?  Plus, its so easy to make.

Directions

  • If you’re not using cooked rice, start making rice before you begin the soup. I missed this direction the first time around.  When I saw it the second time around, I panicked and started by making the minute rice wrong.  That’s right, minute rice.  
  • Heat oil in a large soup pot set over medium-high flame, and add garlic, onion and peppers.(Notice it says peppers plural.  I didn’t.  The jalapenos got put in later on because I missed this plural word.) 
  • Cook until soft and starting to get some color, about 5 minutes. Lower heat to medium.
  • Add chicken and cumin and cook another five minutes. I cooked it for longer because even though we let the chicken thaw a while, it was still a little frozen.
  •  Add chicken broth, beans, spinach and tomatoes. Raise heat to medium-high and simmer for 10 minutes. We had our heat on close to low, because I don’t see how Medium High = Simmering.  Especially on our heat-happy stove. So I put it on low, which is my definition of simmering.
  • Put corn into microwave to steam.  When done, add to soup.
  • Remove from heat and add lime juice, stirring well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve: place 1/2 c rice in bottom of each bowl. Sprinkle avocado andcilantro on top. Adding the rice afterwards allows the rice now to be all smushy.  I liked adding it after.

  • (For vegetarian version: Heat olive oil, add garlic, onion and peppers, cooking until fragrant. Add stock, tomatoes and beans, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Add lime juice. Remove from heat and add about 1/4 of an avocado and 1/2 T cilantro to each bowl.)

This was a very easy recipe to follow.  We had most of the ingredients, and it was a lot of chopping then dumping in the pot. I also made Pillsbury Crescent Rounds (oxymoron) to dip into the soup. I especially enjoyed it because it was raining outside, and I had just come home from refereeing an outdoor game, and was soaking wet and just wanted to feel warmth.  This was the perfect dish for a rainy Sunday night.

I got this recipe from Sparkpeople, a website which shows you how many calories you are eating and tends to slim down recipes.  I found a few of my favorite recipes from this site. I highly recommend it.

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