In the Rotation…

Typical weekday dinners.

Chicken Tortilla Soup – Amy’s Version

I’ve been making Chicken Tortilla Soup for nearly twenty years. I don’t think it ever comes out exactly the same every time and there’s a few reasons for that. First, this is an easy recipe to change up the produce or use what you have on hand. Second, the toppings can vary depending on what you like or have on hand, fresh pico de gallo, salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, or plain yogurt – all good on this. Cheese is great too! But, you can change that around as well, cheddar, jack, mozzarella, or queso fresco – all excellent choices. But, it’s good plain, just as pictured, garnished with some fresh cilantro and maybe a nice lime or lemon wedge.

Amy's Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

As a kid in the late 70s and 80s I grew up with those taco seasoning packages. You know, brown the ground beef, dump in the package content, add water, etc. I’m ashamed to admit, for the first few years I was married I even cooked with them myself. It’s a love/hate relationship with those packages. Convenience with a heavy side of salt. I haven’t used them in years and the reason is pretty simple, it’s too easy and much more healthy to recreate that flavor in your own kitchen.

With summer on the way, soup might not be a natural “go to” for dinner when it’s hot outside, but we’ve been known to make it in the dead heat of summer simply because it’s easy and it tastes so good. It’s even better the next day for lunch! Honestly, we’ve had it for breakfast with a fried egg on top… our oldest daughter likes to joke that we’ll throw a fried egg on anything and call it breakfast. There might be some truth to that!

Chicken tortilla soup is a simple, hearty recipe with the flavor of chicken tacos, the cheesiness of good nachos, and the crunch of tortilla chips. It’s ridiculously easy.

And, again, this is one of those recipes that you can play with and change up as you need. You can use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or leftover grilled chicken breasts. It’s a great way to use up leftovers. This is my favorite way to make it, but you can throw in some potatoes, chorizo, use different squash or different vegetables altogether. But, this recipe is probably my favorite version:

Amy’s Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken breasts - diced
  • 1 medium onion - diced
  • 4-5 stalks of celery - chopped
  • 4-5 carrots - sliced
  • 1 bell pepper - diced
  • 1 jalepeno - diced (optional)
  • 4 Mexican squash (or 3 zucchini) diced
  • 1 lime
  • 1 can fresh diced tomatoes (Rotel work as well)
  • 48 oz of chicken stock
  • 1 small package of shredded cabbage
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Cumin
  • Seasoning Salt
  • Fresh cilantro - chopped (optional) (garnish)
  • Sour cream or plain yogurt (garnish)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (garnish)

Instructions

  1. Grab your favorite soup pot, add a splash of olive oil, over medium to medium-high heat add your chicken, as you lightly brown the chicken add 1 tablespoon of chili powder, 2 heavy teaspoons of cumin, 2 heavy teaspoons of garlic powder, and seasoning salt to taste. Feel free to add more of any of the seasonings. Truthfully I probably use 2 tablespoons+ of chili powder, and a solid tablespoon of cumin and garlic.
  2. Once your chicken looks lightly browned (but not cooked through!) add your onion, celery, carrot, and peppers. Juice the lime over the top and let everyone get a little friendly, then dump in your tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, add your zucchini and cabbage. At this point, you can add a cup or so of water if it seems too thick. Continue to let it simmer until the vegetables (mainly the carrot and zucchini) are tender. After it has simmered give it a taste and add additional seasoning if it needs it.
  3. Prepare your garnish. Serve soup over tortilla chips or with chips on the side.Garnish with sour cream, cilantro, cheddar cheese, and salsa or hot sauce. I recommend Chalula or Tapatio hot sauces.
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Meatloaf Burgers aka Don’t Let Your “Meat Loaf” Burgers

Meatloaf Burgers, or as Mike likes to call them, “Don’t Let Your Meat Loaf Burgers” have almost become the only acceptable burger around our place. I’m going to be perfectly honest, we go through so many phases that this definitely will not always be the case. Actually, lately the trend has been Mike’s ridiculous French burgers… but, I digress. Although not an original concept, meatloaf burgers were something that we had never actually considered until maybe a year or so ago.

The family absolutely loves my meatloaf. My meatloaf is a recipe I’ve worked on since I was a newlywed, it’s been tweaked a number of times over the years. Somehow, through trial and error, I finally arrived at a meatloaf recipe that is requested around here for dinner quite often. The only trouble is making it during the warmer months when we try not to run the oven to avoid heating up the house. Meatloaf burgers solves that dilemma nicely.

Meatloaf burgers

Don’t Let Your MeatLoaf Burgers

And, a friendly reminder, we are not photographers, but my hamburger connoisseur husband assures me that this photo says it all. Yes, he added fresh jalapeños and he mashed down his bun because it’s a weird thing he does.

This recipe will give you about 9 6oz patties. We like having the extra for lunch the next day. But, the recipe can easily be split in half for a smaller group. During the winter this makes a great meatloaf that slices cleanly and leaves a little extra for sandwiches the next day as well. My husband has even been known to have a slice with a couple of eggs on the side for breakfast.

We have served these on regular burger buns and brioche buns. Believe it or not, we’ve even used english muffins. We are always on the lookout for creative burger buns from ciabatta rolls to bagels. If you have any suggestions or burger bun recipes, please leave a comment!

On a sidenote – today is also our anniversary and marks the day of our first recipe posted to ChocolateBurgers.com – Happy Anniversary, Mike!!! xoxo!

Don't Let Your "Meat Loaf" Burgers

Ingredients

  • 2lbs lean ground beef (we prefer organic ground beef from Costco)
  • 2 eggs (one egg per pound, if you decide to split the recipe)
  • 1 small - medium onion (white, yellow, sweet, or brown - your choice)
  • 1 5oz package of croutons (your choice, we prefer garlic cheese)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup (or a bit more)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of mustard
  • Garlic Salt to taste
  • Seasoning salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste (but, I usually go fairly heavy with this)

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl throw in your ground beef. If you have a food processor run the croutons through it until you get a sand-like consistency. Add them to the large mixing bowl with the ground beef. Don't bother rinsing the processor, it's all going to the same bowl. Peel the onion, quarter it and run it through the food processor as well. I really can't impress upon you the importance of absolutely reducing the onion to a pulp. If you don't have a processor, try the blender. Add the onion, eggs, ketchup, mustard, and seasoning to the bowl. Mix it with your hands. Really get in there and make sure everything is thoroughly combined. You want it to all look very consistent when you are finished, no streaks of croutons, chunks of onion, etc.
  2. If you have a burger press, whip that bad boy out. If not, and you are very particular (like my husband) grab your food scale out and measure out 6 oz balls. Form the meat into patties and grill.
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