Tasty Tuesday–Slow Cooker Taco Chicken Three Ways

Last month, I took a look at how I used one pork roast three ways; today I’m taking a look at how I can use one batch of slow cooker taco chicken three ways, as well!

As its name suggests, it’s an excellent taco (or taco salad) filling:

I also like to use it in quesadillas:

And my southwestern soup isn’t just for turkey or pork leftovers…chicken goes great in it, too!

I’m all about stretching leftovers in creative ways these days…how about you?

Tasty Tuesday–One Pork Roast Three Ways

Today I’m taking a look at how I used one pork shoulder roast to make three consecutive dinners. I’ve shared all three recipes before, but let’s look at the series.

First up was crock-pot pork carnitas served on tostadas with a variety of toppings:

Using the leftovers of the shredded pork, I then made a southwestern soup (which is also really good with turkey!):

Finally, the soup leftovers served over rice, in a dinner inspired by Qdoba’s Mexican Gumbo:

I love these meals because they make really good use of a pork shoulder, and because there are so many options for how you can serve them. I always try to make sure we have a wide variety of toppings, so everyone can add to their meal as they choose (especially missing this time was avocado, which was unfortunate, but you can’t always find everything), and you don’t really feel like you’re just eating the same thing over and over again, which is super important when serving leftovers!

Tasty Tuesday–Potato-Parsnip Soup

I’m always on the lookout for a new soup recipe, and when I saw one for a potato-parsnip variety, I was intrigued, because I both really like potato soup and the flavor of parsnips. I made a few changes so it would suit us a little better, and in the end, it was a huge hit (and also a very pretty meal!)!

  • 2 lbs. baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 lb. parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 32 oz. chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Crème fraîche or Mexican crema, bacon bits, and chopped chives for garnish

Preheat oven to 425.

Toss potatoes, parsnips, onion, and garlic with olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast in oven for about 40 minutes.

Combine vegetables with broth in large stock pot. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Puree in blender or with immersion blender until smooth.

Return to pot and combine with milk and cream and add salt and pepper to taste; heat though without boiling.

Garnish as desired.

Tasty Tuesday–Lime-Chicken Soup

I tried a new soup recipe last week, but being me, I had to tinker with it the first time I made it. The end result was delicious, and it was a pretty popular dinner, so I know I’ll be making it again!

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or a combination of the two)
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped, plus extra for garnish
  • 4 jalapeños, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 4 avocados, cut in cubes
  • Queso fresco, crumbled

Place chicken in stock pot and cover with water. Heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer, about 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Cool enough to chop.

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add cumin and stir well, heating for about a minute. Add onion, 1 cup cilantro, jalapeños, garlic, and lime juice; sprinkle with salt. Sauté until tender, about five minutes.

Stir in chicken broth and chicken; heat through.

Serve with remaining cilantro, avocado, and queso fresco.

Tasty Tuesday–Soup!

One of my favorite things about the cool weather that arrives with fall is the addition of soups to our dinner menus. Sure, you can make soup during the summer, but it’s just not the same when it’s hot outside, right? There’s something really comforting about a warm bowl of soup on a chilly day! Here’s a look at some of our favorite soup recipes:

Tasty Tuesday–Beef Barley Soup

Our family loves pot roast, and we also love using leftover pot roast to make beef barley soup. It’s such a hearty, filling meal, especially on a cold winter night!

  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 10 cups beef broth (if you don’t have enough, make up the rest with water)
  • Approx. 2 cups chopped leftover pot roast
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 11 oz. box quick-cooking barley
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

In a large saucepan, saute carrot, celery & onion with salt in butter until translucent.

Add the broth, beef, tomatoes, barley, pepper, rosemary, basil, and oregano; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until barley is tender, stirring occasionally.

Tasty Tuesday–Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli (from Giordano’s!) was one of my favorite soups when I was a child. I decided to try to replicate it at home. Maybe it’s just because it’s been so long since I had it, but I think I did a pretty good job, and all of the children loved it!

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 29 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 15 oz. can cannellini or Great Northern beans
  • 1 15 oz. can navy beans
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound ditalini (or other small) pasta

In a large pot over medium heat, cook onion in olive oil until translucent. Stir in garlic and cook until tender. Add wine and reduce. Reduce heat, and stir in tomato sauce, water, parsley, basil, oregano, salt, cannelini beans, navy or Great Northern beans and parmesan cheese. Simmer 1 hour.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Stir into soup and heat through..

Tasty Tuesday–Minestrone

I made minestrone for the first time last week, and it was delicious! I improvised a lot on the recipe I was using, and ended up changing it so much that it’s no longer recognizable. I don’t know what the original was supposed to taste like, but I really like what I came up with!

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 14.5 oz. can chicken broth
  • 1 14.5 oz. can beef broth
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 4 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 16 oz. can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 15 oz. can green beans, undrained
  • 1 6 oz. bag baby spinach
  • 5 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup seashell pasta
  • Extra virgin olive oil and grated parmesan cheese to taste

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onions, celery, and carrots, and salt. Saute until soft. Add garlic and continue to saute for 2 to 3 minutes. And wine and reduce.
Add chicken and beef broth, water, and tomato sauce, and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and add kidney beans, green beans, spinach leaves, zucchini, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 45-60 minutes..the longer the better.
While soup is simmering, fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.
Add pasta to soup and heat through. To serve, ladle into bowls and top with olive oil and parmesan cheese, as desired.

Tasty Tuesday–Replica Qdoba Mexican Gumbo

After making Southwestern Turkey Soup in January, but substituting leftover Pork Carnitas for the turkey in the recipe, I realized that I had the basis for replicating the “Mexican Gumbo” that Qdoba serves. I have to say, I think I’ve come up with a pretty good approximation! Bunny seems to agree with that assessment, as it has quickly become one of her favorites, as well. It even works with leftovers from the original turkey soup variation, if you’re not in the mood for pork!

  • Leftover Southwestern Soup, (with the majority of the broth drained off)
  • Cooked Rice, (flavored with lime juice, to taste)
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Shredded Jack Cheese
  • Tortilla Strips
  • Sour Cream
  • Salsa

Place cooked rice in the bottom of a bowl. Top with leftover soup, using only enough broth to keep the rice moist. Garnish with toppings as desired…my favorites are cilantro and shredded jack cheese.

Tasty Tuesday–Stale Bread Soup

The actual name of this soup is Ribollita con Verdure, which directly translated means “reboiled [soup] with greens” but in practicality means “stale bread soup with vegetables.” I’d rather just cut to the chase and call it what it is! This is a Tuscan recipe, and if you don’t try it with the raw onions on olive oil on top, you’re really missing out. It’s delicious, and the vegetables make it reasonably healthy, too. The original recipe calls for kale in place of the spinach, but we’re not big kale fans here, so I made a substitution. I must confess, though, that I’ve never been able to make it so thick that the spoon will stand up in it!

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
  • 4 thick slices pancetta (not smoked) or bacon (smoked), or ham, chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (plus extra for serving)
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into thin slices
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 4 cups, (about 1/2 pound), chopped or torn stale bread
  • 2 15-ounce cans Great Northern beans
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add oil and the pancetta, (or bacon or ham), and render 4 minutes. Add rosemary, garlic, onions, carrots, and zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Saute the veggies 7 to 8 minutes, then add wine and deglaze the pot. Stir in the tomatoes and broth and bring up the heat. When soup boils, reduce to a simmer and stir in bread and beans. Pile the spinach into the pot and wilt into the soup. Simmer the ribollita 5 to 10 minutes, stirring soup as it simmers until it thickens to a dense stew-like consistency. A wooden spoon should be able to stand upright in the pot. Turn off heat, adjust seasonings and ladle into shallow bowls. Top with grated cheese, an additional drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and a spoonful of chopped raw onions.