Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

I’m always trying and usually failing to make my life more functional, which is why the slow cooker has always appealed to me. There’s only one problem: Most of the meals I attempt are bland or just kind of meh. When you have 8-10 servings, “meh” does not cut it. So I’m always on the look out for tasty slow cooker recipes that don’t use can after can of condensed soup or other highly processed ingredients. Enter this slow cooker chicken tortilla soup recipe.

When I found a high-rated slow cooker chicken tortilla soup recipe at Allrecipes, I had high hopes. Generally, I’m not a fan of Allrecipes because it’s information overload. Too many people go a bit crazy changing everything about a recipe then post a review saying they loved the recipe after changing a dozen things and suddenly the only thing that has stayed the same is the fact that they made something in the kitchen. But the tortilla soup recipe seemed to get a lot of “made the recipe as is and it was great,” reviews, so I took the plunge. Easy and Flavorful Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe | Crockpot recipe

My first attempt was OK, but as usual the favors were bland and the consistency was not soup-ish enough for me. So I became “that guy” and went ahead and changed the entire recipe. This adds a few steps to the slow cooker process, but I think it’s worth it.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 4-ounce can chopped green chile peppers
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP of olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
2 cups water
2 cups of chicken broth or stock
1 pound shredded, cooked chicken
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 10-ounce package frozen corn
1 14-ounce can black beans (optional)

  • In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and chopped green chili peppers. Once the onion has softened and is translucent, add spices. Cook one more minute.
  • Add tomatoes, enchilada sauce to a food processor or blender. If you prefer your soup to be less chunky, add the sauteed onions, garlic and chopped green chilies to the blender as well.Blend until smooth.
  • Add the blended mixture and the onion, garlic, and chilies to your crockpot (if kept separate). Add water, broth, salt, pepper, bay leaf, frozen corn, and black beans.
  • Set it on low for eight hours.

To serve: Add tortilla chips, avocado, cheese, and/or sour cream to your slow cooker chicken tortilla soup. Then add more avocado.

Enjoy!

Pasta with Kale, Fennel, and Chicken Sausage

What can I say? I have a thing for pasta.

First of all, let it be known that I love carbs. Second, pasta is so simple to make, even I can’t screw it up. And finally, it’s a quick meal. This easy dinner recipe adds in a lot of veggies and the sausage makes it more filling than your typical pasta + bottled sauce combination. Goat cheese is my favorite everything and adding it to pasta creates a creamy sauce.

Pasta with Kale, Fennel, and Chicken Sausage. Goat cheese makes this creamy, tangy pasta.

Pasta with Kale, Fennel, and Chicken Sausage

Adapted from a Door to Door Organics Recipe
Servings: 4
8 oz. whole wheat pasta
1 TBSP butter
Fennel bulb, sliced thin
Yellow onion, sliced thin
1 cup kale, chopped
1 TBSP orange zest
Juice of an orange
3 links Trader Joe’s chicken sausage (any variety), chopped
4 oz. goat cheese
8 TBSP Parmesan cheese

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving approximately 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  2. In a saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and fennel and saute for 7-10 minutes until soft. Add kale after 2-3 minutes. Add chicken sausage after 3 minutes. Note: Trader Joe’s chicken sausage is already cooked and therefore needs only a few minutes to heat through. If you’re using uncooked sausage, you’ll want to remove it from the casing, saute it first, then remove it with a slotted spoon before adding the vegetables to the pan.
  3. Add orange zest and the juice of half of an orange. Saute for one additional minute.
  4. Add  4 TBSP of pasta water, goat cheese, Parmesan cheese, and pasta to the saute pan and mix with sausage and vegetables.

Easy Autumn Salad Recipe with Kale & Brussels Sprouts

Alternative Title: Awesome autumn salad recipe made entirely from ingredients you buy at Trader Joe’s and chop nothing. Perhaps a little long winded?

Before we dive into this easy-to-make, legit-healthy-for-you, and still-yummy-to-eat salad, let me tell you how I found it. This autumn salad was served at one of the gazillion baby showers I went to in 2012, and I didn’t even try it. But one of my closest friends did, and she would not stop talking about it. I was also pregnant at the time, and I seriously had no idea what amazing salad she kept going on about, much less which shower it was served at. In my head, I was all, “OK. I get it. You ate a salad. How good could it possibly be?”

Take this easy autumn salad recipe to your next potluck -- seriously, everyone will be asking you for the recipe. And, if you're near a Trader Joe's make this recipe even easier by buying all of your ingredients there -- no chopping required! Super healthy salad and tastes amazing. A family favorite!

Because you know, it’s a salad.

But it’s true. This autumn salad recipe is amazing. And it isn’t even one of those “salads” that’s piled with dried fruit, cheese, croutons, tortilla chips, bacon bits, and a creamy dressing, nor is it a salad of the pasta or mayonnaise variety. The main ingredients in the autumn salad are kale and Brussels sprouts. If I had seen it on a menu, I would have thought, “Nope,” and moved on with my life.

But it didn’t happen that way.

Let’s be real, kale is basically the healthiest thing a person can eat, so I’ve always been pretty sure I hated it. Then, post-giving birth, my friend made the autumn salad for a playdate, and I learned that I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

What makes the autumn salad even better? You can make it entirely from ingredients you buy at Trader Joe’s and skip all that time-consuming chopping nonsense.

With the exception of one ingredient: safflower oil. But once you have the safflower oil, it’s in your pantry (maybe it’s already in your pantry?), and ta da! You can buy all of the other ingredients at Trader Joe’s.

But seriously, this autumn salad recipe is so easy, it is literally the only thing I make now when asked to contribute to a potluck situation.

Autumn Salad with Kale and Brussels Sprouts

2 cups Brussels sprouts, very thinly sliced or about half of a bag of Trader Joe’s Shaved Brussels Sprouts
3-4 cups kale, chopped or about 3/4 of a bag of Trader Joe’s pre-chopped Kale
1/3 cup sunflower seeds

Autumn Salad Dressing
1 TBSP Trader Joe’s Whole Grain Dijon mustard or any other whole grain mustard
Juice of one lemon
½ tsp coarse salt
1 TBSP + 1 tsp pure maple syrup
2 TBSP safflower oil

Directions:
Toast the sunflower seeds. You can do this in the oven: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toast sunflower seeds on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. OR you can do this on the stovetop, which I think is easier. Just toss the seeds in a saute pan over low heat and flip them around every so often for a few minutes (2-4 minutes). You have to watch them so they won’t burn. I regularly walk away and burn sunflower seeds. Learn from my mistakes people.

Toss Brussels sprouts, kale, and sunflowers in a big bowl. I actually like to do this while the sunflower seeds still are warm. Kale is a hardy green and the heat from the sunflower seeds causes it to wilt just slightly.

Combine mustard, lemon juice, salt, and maple syrup in a small bowl, whisk in oil until emulsified.

Pour dressing over kale mixture and toss to coat.

Final Note: The autumn salad will keep in the refrigerator with the dressing already on it for up to three days. I’m not kidding. I’ve had no problem with soggy or browning greens in this salad and will often make it ahead for a healthy side dish to go along with dinner.