November 30, 2011

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

The holiday season is now in full force.  Our family celebrates Christmas and I love this time of year and all...but it always seem like a sprint between the end of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day!  All of the sudden I'm behind on decorating and gifts and booked solid on the weekends.  With all the big gatherings, big meals, and big cleanup, I feel like I'm twice as busy as before.  Are you feeling as tired as I am already?  :)

When I'm pressed for time, I love to prepare a meal in the slow cooker.  I recently put a favorite recipe for chicken tortilla soup to the test.  I had no more than 15 minutes to prepare the meal before rushing off for preschool pickup.  It came out delicious as always!
Taking this photo took 3 minutes of my prep time!

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup
Adapted from Betty's Chicken Tortilla Soup V submission to

1/2 cup dry black beans or 1 cup cooked black beans
2 fresh chicken breasts (optional)
1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup sugar plum tomatoes
1/2 tsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 jar (16 oz.) chunky salsa
32 ounces of vegetable broth or chicken broth
4 to 6 corn tortillas, torn into smaller pieces
  1. Lay black beans then chicken breasts on bottom of your slow cooker.
  2. Stir in all other ingredients except the corn tortillas which are best to add in an hour before serving if you have the chance.  If you must add that in the beginning because of time constraints, it's still going to be delicious but just a thick, stew-like soup.  I loved it this way!
  3. Turn on slow cooker to low heat if you have time to cook for 6-8 hours.  If you don't have that much cooking time to spare, heat on high for 4 hours.
  4. About 30-60 minutes before the end of cooking time, break down tomatoes with a fork or potato masher.  Also, add corn tortilla pieces.
  5. After another 30-60 minutes, check black beans for tenderness.  If they are not tender enough, cook an additional hour and recheck.
  6. Garnish soup with extra cilantro, strips of corn tortillas, crumbled tortilla chips, shredded cheese (or Daiya Vegan Shreds), or avocado slices.
The soup was simple to make and hits the spot on a cold evening.  It can also be cooked in a saucepan in you don't have a slow cooker.  (Check out the above link to the original recipe for cooking directions.)  This made for a perfect meal in a week so crazy busy that I forgot to take a picture of the final product!

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