Welcome to the first ever
Crockpot/Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
Wingin’ It Wednesday is a series where I plan to post something that I have just thrown together, winged it, bs’d it… Whatever you wanna call’d it, on Wednesdays. I can’t promise I will have something every Wednesday for you, but I will surely try my darndest. 😊
‘Cause that’s just how I roll…
You might be wondering, “isn’t the point of the whole blog that you just wing it all the time?” Well, yes and no. Yes, because that’s typically how I do things (lol). I am pretty laid back, sometimes lazy, always adventurous. I don’t always want to look up a recipe, or sometimes I can’t find a recipe I like for what I want to make.
On occasion, I research recipes to try. Looking at some of those recipes out there though, I say to myself, “WHO would have that ingredient??” The same goes for those TV shows and celebrity chef’s cookbooks. Why?! No one wants to go out of their way to buy ingredients they wouldn’t normally be buying anyway, especially me! A) I don’t have the money for that… I have to stick to a pretty strict budget. B) I am not going to go out of my way for something, or to five different stores. Unless I absolutely CAN’T go without an ingredient, or I REALLY want to make that particular recipe – no…
Usually, those types of obscure ingredients end up costing quite a bit, and you may or may not use them for anything else. Then that expensive ingredient could go to waste if you don’t use it all in the one dish. If I can’t make a dish using things I will buy normally, and use for multiple things, I will change the ingredient or recipe to fit my lifestyle and budget.
Creating/altering a recipe:
When dealing with recipes and inconvenient ingredients, I will often just make something up instead. I start by taking several similar recipes that I have seen, or by trying to go by what I remember about a dish, or what looks good to me. It’s a good idea to know the tastes of yourself and the people you cook for. Know what foods that you like and do not like in terms of flavor. Self-awareness is key in deciding what is worth it or not when cooking. Also, I DO measure ingredients… but I don’t always measure… Gawd, I am so complicated sometimes.
You also said no to the previous question though…
Why would I say no to the previous question? Because sometimes I have actually honed a recipe over multiple times making it. Sometimes I figure my sh*t out. On the other hand, though, there are some recipes that you just HAVE to be precise with (usually baking). I do create recipes that I have nailed down exactly what to do, how much to measure, etc These recipes will typically be followed exactly the same way every time(unless I am feeling adventurous). Some recipes were acquired by either someone telling me what to do, or I was able to find a recipe that was exactly what I wanted to a “T”. I go with those kinds of recipes because, why would I fix something that isn’t broken? I got other stuff to do.
First Time For Everything…
Like I mentioned before… I plan to post on Wednesdays a recipe that is particularly indicative of the theme of this blog (i.e. BS’ed together, thrown together, made up). I may or may not give you something that came out good though. I actually think it will be fun to share the dishes that maybe didn’t turn out so great, and then perhaps reflect on why. If I do post something like this, I will give suggestions for how to fix it the next time. I may then come back later for an update. Also, it would be super fun if people try these out and let me know how the recipes go for THEM. Experimenting is fun sometimes, plus growing our skills together and learning about food together. I would very much enjoy an interactive experience here.
Soup is a good place to start:
I really hate seeing things go to waste when I know I paid good money for it, and I also sometimes just want to make something that will last awhile. The best way to do this… is soup. For the first ever Wingin’ It Wednesday I present: a bs’d together crock-pot or instant pot chicken tortilla soup.
Every now and again, I will have a bunch of stuff in my fridge/freezer/pantry that I need to use before it goes bad. Or, sometimes I just don’t know what to make so I throw a bunch of stuff in the pot and make soup. Pretty much every time I make soup though it turns into a spicy taco/tortilla style soup. I guess that speaks to the type of things I keep in my fridge, and the type of food I like to eat lol.
Last week Derrick was out of town on his yearly Louisiana Hunting Trip. I didn’t really have anything easy/quick in the fridge, and I had been getting cheap take out for lunches the last few days before this. As most people know, the words cheap and takeout really don’t make sense in a sentence together if you want the food to taste good, right?
Why Tortilla Soup?
I think tortilla soup became one of my favorite soups while I was working at Max and Erma’s. They have THE BEST tortilla soup. Though, Max and Erma’s tortilla soup is pretty much just mildly spicy cheese soup with some chunks of chicken. I think they have like, two tiny pieces of bell pepper per cup. Their soup is nostalgic in a way that I feel like a teenager again. The taste is fabulous and I love it.
For years I tried to emulate the M&E tortilla soup and always failed. Sorta like the time I tried to re-create sugar cookies like the Betty Crocker ones… that taste I was looking for was called FAKE, and you can’t buy the chemical that causes that flavor in the spice aisle.
Trying something else…
I actually have a really great recipe for tortilla soup I have been working with for years. I came up with it myself after searching a few different recipes online. Taking parts and pieces of them that I liked, meshing them together, dashed in a little trial and error. Viola… soup!
Tortilla soup is my favorite of all the soups that I make, but unfortunately, the recipe I had been using took quite a bit of prep and time. I don’t mind spending the time to cook; I actually don’t typically do “easy”, “quick” recipes, but I also don’t make the recipe that often because of that.
After doing this easy, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink version of tortilla soup, I plan to take what I like best from both and meld THOSE together. This’ll be a perfectly satisfying recipe in both taste and time.
The main time saver I have learned is actually cooking the chicken in the soup. Slow cooking is the best because you don’t have to do anything special. The long cook time makes the chicken shred on its own, it cooks out all the fatty parts of the chicken so I don’t have to trim it either. I just plop it straight in there from the package and let it go… SO. EASY!
On cooking the chicken:
There was some chicken in the freezer; I get my chicken in bulk from Costco and then freeze it for easy use. Their chicken breasts come pre-packaged in twos and Costco brand gets you 6-8 packs. I usually pay around $25ish dollars for chicken ad Costco depending (I may buy organic sometimes but it’s so much more expensive and you get less). Bulk freezing works for me because I can cook it off as needed and save some money. Plus, their chicken is actually pretty good quality (I think – it at least looks like it is).
The plan was to cook up my last two packs like I usually do in the crock pot – shred it and have it for different things here and there. But, that’s when I decided to just make soup instead. My reasoning: Soup will go a long way, I have a bunch of stuff in the fridge that needs to be used up, and it will be easy to take for lunches and to eat when I am not wanting to cook or buy something.
Making soup is easy as… well…. making soup:
Doing something like this is actually pretty straightforward. Just pull out a bunch of stuff that needs(or you want) to use up. Of course, make sure that the ingredients are relevant to the overall flavor that we are looking to achieve. I am not gonna put carrots or potatoes in a tortilla soup generally… One, I don’t like carrots very much and they also have a sweet flavor. Two, I think potatoes are more for stew. That’s just MY opinion though, if you want potatoes in there go ahead and put potatoes in there. There is NOTHING wrong with that.
Will it be good though?
As always when throwing something together, I go through a period of questioning if the food will taste good: “Did I put too many seasonings or not enough?” “Did I put too much liquid or not enough?” “Did I put enough onion, maybe I need more onion?”
After I let myself have these mini doubtful moments, I tend to think to myself, and ask the question: “did I make it?” I know that sounds a bit cocky but it’s the truth. Now, I can’t say my food is always good but in general, most of the time… sometimes… even if something I threw together doesn’t come out the BEST it could be… it’s still relatively tasty. If it is tasty enough, I will expand on that “recipe” and try to hone it down.
Now to the good part…
Crock-pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
That’s all folks!
Thanks for being a part of my first ever Wingin’ It Wednesday! I look forward to more fun Wednesday’s to come and I hope you do too. Let me know if you wing it this week and tell me what YOU made. Suggestions and comments are always welcome in this community so PLEASE, do share!
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