Teri’s Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup

25 May

Have I mentioned that I work with some phenomenal women who also happen to be wonderful cooks?  Teri is another work friend and she gave me this recipe for her Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup.  One cold afternoon she graciously brought leftovers to share and after one bowl of this I asked for the recipe, knowing I had to make this!  This recipe is easy, quick, frugal, healthy, and yields enough to feed a crowd.  Or just me for a week, and yes I ate it for a whole week and was sad when I saw the bottom of the last bowl!

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup


3 1/2   cups chicken broth
2  whole small chicken breasts (about 1-1/2 pounds total)**
1/2  cup chopped onion
1/2  teaspoon ground cumin
1  clove garlic, minced
1  tablespoon cooking oil
1  14-1/2-ounce can tomatoes, cut up***
1  8-ounce can tomato sauce
1  4-ounce can whole green chili peppers, rinsed, seeded, and cut into thin bite-size strips
1/4  cup snipped fresh cilantro or parsley
1  tablespoon snipped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1 can of black beans, drained                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 can of corn, or a package of frozen corn                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tositos Corn Chips
1  cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces)                                                                                                                                                                            Sour Cream (optional)

1. Place broth in large saucepan or Dutch oven; add chicken. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Remove chicken from broth. Let stand until cool enough to handle.
2. Skin, bone, and finely shred chicken; set aside. Discard skin and bones. Strain broth through large sieve or colander lined with two layers of 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth. Skim fat from broth; set broth aside.
3. In same saucepan cook onion, cumin, and garlic in 1 tablespoon hot oil until onion is tender but not brown. Stir in strained broth, undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili peppers, cilantro, and oregano. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in chicken; heat through.
4. Divide tortilla chips among 4 bowls. Ladle soup over tortilla chips. Sprinkle each serving with cheese. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.


** You can use leftover chicken versus cooking chicken breasts.  The chicken can be grilled, baked, however you feel the most comfortable preparing chicken.  You can also buy a rotisserie chicken and then use that for the soup.  Another option is to buy a whole chicken and put it in the crock pot, add some seasonings, and let it cook for a few hours.  Once cooked through, use the breast meat for this recipe, as well as the stock.  Then refrigerate or use the rest of the chicken.

*** I will use Rotel tomatoes with chili peppers if I am out of the chopped tomatoes and then omit the can of green chili peppers.


The story behind the ‘Cookie Licker’ subtitle

24 May

My subtitle “Confessions of a Cookie Licker” has, like everything else in my life, a story.  I’m known by all to be long winded and this story is no exception.  I come by my story telling honestly, as my Dad was one of the best story tellers ever.  Let me preface this story with saying that I was on my 40 day fast and can’t be held responsible for my actions during that dark time in my life.

Here’s what happened:

My husband had a death in the family and he was really sad and the man LOVES chocolate chip cookies, don’t even have to be fancy, and homemade or slice and bake, he loves them either way.  I didn’t have all the ingredients at home to make homemade cookies and truly didn’t want to, so I bought some awesome chocolate chunk cookies that you break and bake.  That night I baked them for him, and our baking stone that we love broke and we are getting it replaced (what a pain in the butt by the way!  Pampered Chef baking stones rock but it was really annoying to get through the process of having it approved for replacement with no cost to me) so I had to use this old junky cookie sheet and I prayed that they would come out okay.  I’m also dealing with an old, junky oven, so baking is a tad bit hard since I don’t think it’s calibrated correctly and burns a little hot.  So, I bake them and they. Smell. So. Good. OMG  I let them cool, and Husband isn’t home yet so I put them in a container for him so they won’t dry out.  And I’m having to be careful to not lick my fingers.  While I was placing them on the cookie sheet, little chocolate chunks would fall off and I wanted to eat them so badly, but resisted.  So I get them in the box, and I just stood there, smelling the box so hard I swear I could have inhaled a crumb or two!  And I think you see where this is heading.  The chocolate was all melty, but not runny, and they were perfection.  I pick one up, to just smell it better and for some crazy reason, I lick the bottom, the underside, of one.  That’s not cheating, right?  No calories consumed, I’m good.  Well, it was anti-climatic, didn’t taste like anything, so I put it back in the container.  I didn’t think that was weird, he’s my husband after all and it’s not like I got it all soggy with my tongue or anything.  So  a day or two later I’m telling two friends at work about the cookie licking and they laughed their butts off, at how crazy I am and how gross they thought that was.  So that night I tell Husband, “I have a confession to make.”  And he’s all engrossed in something on TV and barely even looks my way and I proceed, “You know the other night when I baked you those cookies?” 


“Well they smelled so good, I had to just stand there and smell them, like HARD.  And for some reason, I have no idea why, I picked one up, and I licked it.  The bottom I mean.” 

That gets his attention.  He looks over at me and starts cracking up!  And says “Wow.  Why does that not surprise me?” 

“I also put that one back in the container, which you later ate out of.  Is that gross?” 

He shrugs.  “No, I mean. . .” 

“Exactly!  We’re married, it’s not weird!  Exactly!” 

And he is still laughing. 

And I say “But you know what?  “I should have licked the TOP of it, I think that part is what tastes better.  Because the bottom tasted like the counter top.  Well what I imagine a counter top tastes like anyway, if you licked it.”

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you. . .

23 May

I have wanted to start a blog for a long time, if for nothing else but to archive all the funny and crazy things that happen in my life.  I tell my husband all the time, after reliving a particularly personal chat with a perfect stranger, “People tell me the craziest things all the time!  I don’t know why!” 

I’ve been seriously considering starting the blog for a long time, but what to write about?  Me?  That’s so narcissistic.  My family?  Intrusive maybe.  What’s a girl to do?  A few weeks ago my friend (and I will NOT say “work friend” because that assumes a certain level of intimacy that non-work friendships have hasn’t been reached. ) Melanie sent me some links to food blogs she likes to review for recipes.  Melanie often brings in treats to work and everything she has made has been awesome!  My favorite may be her Maple Scones, or her Sweet and Salty Cookies.  YUM.  So any blog she reviews and prepares recipes from is good in my book!  She’s the one that introduced me to Taste of Home, and that’s the coup de gras of recipe collections in my book.  So after perusing the sites and wiping the large pool of drool off my keyboard, I had an epiphany-write about food!  Yes!  That’s the answer.  Let me interject here for a second and mention that I was also on a 40 day fast from sugar, carbs, and most fats at the time and that possibly influenced my decision.  Let me further state that it was during this time, after a particularly epic meltdown (complete with tears and a hissy fit) over a cupcake that Melanie had made for Easter that had a tiny Cadbury Creme Egg in the center and homemade buttercream frosting that my husband had hidden from me (at my behest), that I came to the realization that I’m a food addict.  Moving right along.   Thus offthechaney was born.

Tomorrow I’ll share my story of the subtitle, “Confessions of a Cookie Licker.”

Hello world!

20 May

Welcome to Off The Chaney!  My name is Whitney and I love food and writing.  I have wanted to start a blog for a long time and finally got around to it.  After reading some of my favorite food blogs, I decided to use WordPress.com, and will now start customizing my blog.  Expect to see more messages from me soon, about food and my crazy life!