I apologize for being off the radar for a while. I have been traveling, battling the flu, and getting back into the swing of school. I have a very tough quarter ahead of me preparing for student teaching, but I am so incredibly excited! For those of you that don’t know, I am a full-time Graduate student working towards my M.Ed in Elementary Education. When I graduate, I will also have endorsements in English Language Arts, Social Studies, and (hopefully) Art. Since my school does not have a film program, I have to work with the state of Illinois to see if they will count my film and photography undergraduate classes towards and art endorsement. When I graduate, I hope to be a middle school English/Social Studies teacher. I love middle school aged kids, I can’t wait to work with them.
For my student teaching, I have been placed in a Kindergarten classroom, which I am really excited about. When I am observing in upper grade classrooms, I tend to see the following pattern a lot. The teacher teaches a lesson, students to an activity, students are told if they finish early they can read silently at their desks or work on an unfinished assignment. Now there is nothing necessarily wrong with this pattern, but this type of structure wouldn’t work in a kindergarten classroom because not all kindergarteners can read. Many kindergarteners can’t work independently either. Many still need a ton of guided instruction. Therefore, I will have to design lessons and activities that take the entire lesson time. It is both intimidating and exciting. I honestly feel like I am going to learn so much about classroom management and lesson planning in this classroom!
Wait. Isn’t this post called Chunky Chicken Soup? You’re right. It is!
It seems like everyone I know came down with or is coming down with the flu. The most popular home remedy for the flu is chicken soup. I love soup! It’s quick to make, easy, inexpensive, and comforting.
I have to be honest with you. The recipe below is my best guess as to how I made this. I rarely tend to measure when I am making soup. I will be better about that in 2013!
Chunky Chicken Soup
This can be made with or without gluten-free pasta. Oyster crackers are not gluten-free so do not serve with them if you are avoiding gluten.
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free, brown rice pasta (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
- 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded*
- 3-4 stalks of celery, sliced
- 3-4 carrots, sliced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 scant tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 packet chicken bullion
- Olive oil
- 6-8 cups water (use and adjust according to how chunky you want your end product to be)
*You can cook and shred the chicken yourself or buy pre-cooked chicken and shred it yourself. You can also buy pre-cooked chicken and cube it. Either way, make sure your chicken is pre-cooked as this saves a ton of time.
- In a large pot over medium heat, cook onions and carrots until onions are translucent.
- Add garlic and celery, stir, and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Add water (start with 6 cups and add more if you think you need it), bullion packet, and oregano and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and add chicken and pasta. Cook for about 6-8 minutes or until pasta is cooked through.
You can serve with bread or oyster crackers if you are not gluten-free or enjoy as is!
I hope everyone is having a happy 2013 so far! We will return to our regularly scheduled blogging next week.
It’s soup season! I love soup for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I love it because you can make a ton of it for practically nothing. Second, I love it because it is quick and easy to throw together, very filling, and low in fat and calories. My favorite soup on the planet is tortilla soup. I make it with shredded chicken because my husband acts like I am trying to kill him every time I serve him something without meat, but you can make this vegetarian easily by omitting the chicken and substituting vegetable broth. This soup is so chunky and packed with flavor that you will not miss the absence of meat if you opt to omit the chicken. Sometimes I make the vegetarian version and lie to my husband; telling him there is meat in it. He is usually on his second bowl before he even realizes it!
If you are using chicken, I find it is best in this soup when it is shredded. If I have planned ahead, I cook the chicken breasts in a slow cooker overnight. Then, I let them cool in the fridge all day and shred right before making the soup. When you cook the breasts in a slow cooker, they practically fall apart in your hands. It takes almost no effort to shred them. I have a little slow cooker that I got at Target for $12 that fits 2 chicken breasts perfectly. It is similar to this one. If you do not have a slow cooker, you can boil the chicken breasts for about 25 minutes (or until cooked through), let them cool, and shred them. You can also buy a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, shred the breasts, and eat the legs and wings another night.
Easy Chunky Chicken Tortilla Soup
Note: I didn’t have black beans the night
I shot this photo, but I usually use them
- 2 chicken breasts, shredded
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 15-ounce can hominy, not drained
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained & rinsed
- 1/2 package of frozen corn
- 1 15-ounce can chopped tomatoes
- 2 chicken or vegetable bullion cubes
- 2 tablespoons oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- Handful of cilantro, minced
- Juice of fresh lime – at least 1 or to taste. I usually use 2 because I like lime
- 1 tablespoon chili paste (optional)
- 6-8 cups of water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sliced radish
- Sour cream
- Chopped lettuce
- Shredded cheese
- Sliced green onion
- Baked tortilla chips (recipe to follow)
- In a large pot, cook onions and garlic in olive oil for 3-5 minutes.
- Add one 15-ounce can of hominy, liquid and all. Add black beans, corn, tomatoes, bullion cubes, chicken, oregano, and bay leaf. Add as much water as needed to get the desired soup thickness and consistency.
- Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes to let flavors meld together.
- Just before serving, stir in cilantro and squeeze the juice of one lime into the soup.
- If using, add 1 tablespoon of chili paste and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve as is or garnish with any or all of the toppings above. Don’t forget to remove the bay leaf!
Baked Tortilla Chips:
I use El Milagro corn tortillas exclusively. You can use whatever brand you like, but I would suggest only using tortillas that contain stone ground corn, water and lime. That’s it. Three ingredients. Nothing else. Trust me!
- Cut tortillas into wedges. I usually get six wedges out of each tortilla.
- Line tortillas on a baking sheet.
- Bake in a 350˚ oven for 12-15 minutes.
I do not flavor the chips at all because I like them in their natural state. If you’d like to add salt or seasoning to them, do so before baking them. Simply spray them with olive oil and sprinkle desired seasonings.
I have an oil mister. If you do not have one of these, you can put a little bit of olive oil into a dish and lightly spread onto the chips with your finger. You might be able to use cooking spray; however, I have not tried this. If you use cooking spray a lot, I highly recommend getting an oil mister! I picked mine up at TJ Max for $5. It’s a great way to control the amount of oil you are putting into things without all of the additives that are present in cooking spray.
Corn tortilla chips about to hit the oven!
These chips are gluten-free and there are only 50 calories for every six chips. These are so easy and better for you than any store-bought brand. I can’t remember the last time I bought chips at the store.