1/14/12

Chipotle Chicken Tortilla Soup


My good friend, Katie shared the original recipe with me.  I added a few things and this has turned into a much-loved family favorite dinner.  Hubs went from being a "Please NEVER feed me soup for dinner!" kinda guy to a "Hey, do you think you could make that chicken tortilla soup for dinner tonight?" kinda guy.  The secret is in the chipotle.  




It's SO good.  It's very filling.  ...and It's perfect for warming your belly in January.  


Chipotle Chicken Tortilla Soup


1 T canola oil
1 lb Bone-In, Skin on Chicken Breast and Thighs
8 cups Water
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves
2 (14 oz) cans fire roasted tomatoes
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1-2 chipotle peppers
1-2 tsp adobo sauce (chipotle peppers usually are canned in adobo sauce)
1 cup frozen corn (optional)
1 can black beans (optional)


Topping:
Tortilla Chips
Shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese
Sour Cream
Cilantro


There are two ways to make the broth.  The alternative, time-saving method is listed below the recipe instructions.


In a large soup pot, brown the chicken on both sides in oil on medium-high heat.  Once chicken is deep brown, pour water in the pot, covering the chicken completely.  Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat back to medium-high and let the chicken boil for about 20 minutes (semi covered), or until the meat falls off of the bone easily.  Transfer chicken to a plate.  Remove skin and discard.  Shred the remaining chicken meat and set aside.  


In blender, combine the onion, garlic, cilantro, and ONE can of the tomatoes.  




Also, ladle into the blender enough (semi-cooled) soup broth to help the ingredients blend.  Pour blended mixture into soup pot containing chicken broth.  




Add the remaining can of tomatoes, shredded chicken, chipotle pepper(s) and adobo sauce to the pot.
  
Chipotle


If you like, also add corn and beans.  Let soup simmer on medium heat for about 20 minutes and serve with toppings.  



An alternative method for preparing the chicken broth is to simply use a store-bought broth or bouillon concentrate and already-cooked chicken.  


(Chicken Stock Concentrate - 'Better Than Bouillon' Brand)

Thank you thank you thank you to Katie for this delicious recipe!




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1/5/12

Brownie Accessories

I'm a brownie junkie.  I can eat 'em raw, cooked, frozen, ...whatever.  They're my favorite.  
This brownie habit just got worse when I found the recipe for the best fudgy brownies I've ever tasted.  Sometimes I even frost them with Martha's super shiny frosting.  



So, this afternoon, I checked out all-things brownie on amazon.  I've always baked them the old fashioned way...in a glass 9x12 dish.  Nothing fancy.  Who knew there were so many options for baking brownies?


Brownie Baking:

You may have seen these before.  I'm enticed by the chewy edges and I'm really wanting to try this pan, given it's 5 star status on Amazon.


Chewy Brownie Pan

Same outcome as the previous pan...just a different design.

Perfect Brownie Pan Set
It apparently bakes each brownie in a separate divider, creating evenly cooked and perfectly cut brownies.


Wilton Brownie Squares Baking Mold
This is a great idea for making brownie pops or covering brownies in chocolate.  This reminds me of the brownie bites at The Melting Pot.  


I had no idea they made brownie lifters.  I'm sure a fork or other utensil would work fine.  This just looks all fancy and brownie-ready.

Brownie Appliances:


Ultimate Brownie Maker

This is a quick and easy-to-use brownie baker.  I like that I can make brownies in the summer without heating my kitchen.


Brownie Bite Maker

It can crank out 7 mini brownie bites in 5-8 minutes!


Brownie Bar Maker

If you need a little more substance than a small brownie bite, here's what you need!  A full brownie bar is more my speed.


Storing and Gifting:


Wilton Brownie Treat Box

It comes with the inserts and a sticker sheet.


Brownie Liners

Just place on a cookie sheet and fill with brownie batter.  The paper peels away like a cupcake liner.  Or, use to hold already cut brownies.


Brownie Heart Cutters

Perfect for Valentine's Day treats.  The two hearts interlock into one large square to reduce brownie waste.  (Is there such a thing as brownie waste?)


Brownie Heart Plunger

This sounds like something you'd find in an OR.  Nonetheless, it's a heart-shaped cutter if you're ok with brownie waste :)


Cookies and Cream Brownie Crunch

Brownie-flavored brownie topping.


Brownies Everywhere:


Essie's "Brownie Points" Nail Polish



Brownie Cologne

To smell like rich, chocolatey brownies.  This cracks me up.

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11/2/11

Please Clean Deep Inside Your Dryer Vent NOW!


Clogged dryer vents can cause a fire.  It's the perfect combination of heat and lint.  Even though I swipe the lint trap clean after each drying cycle, there is still a lot left inside the unit.  Removing it is such an easy process, given you have the right tools.  It takes me less than five minutes to clear out a month's worth of lint.


Here's what happens if a dryer vent is NEVER vacuumed...





Here's how it goes.


Purchase a dryer vent cleaning kit.  I've seen them in hardware stores, Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Amazon, etc.  I happened to find mine on Fly Lady's website:




They cost $10 - $25 dollars.  Money WELL spent!  I think they should be sold along with any dryer.  Here's a link to a dryer cleaning kit on Amazon.  It's almost identical to mine.


Before I start, I empty my vacuum canister - I love to see how much I've collected when I'm done.


I also have to clear away the large objects (Like Jack, the train).



Next, I remove the lint trap and look down inside to see how much lint is left behind.


The purple arrows above are where I took the next picture...




What a fire hazard!

Next, I use the long brush to loosen the lint.

I then fit the hose onto the top of my vacuum.

And go to town!


The RESULTS:

Out of here...


...and into here...


It's amazing how much lint can build up after just one month.

Such a simple process that could save your family and home.


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