Repurposing Leftovers: Chicken Tacos into Chicken Tortilla Soup

I love my Crockpot.  In fact, I love the slow cooker so much that I wore out my first one (but it WAS just a cheap one from Big Lots).  We got a nicer one as a wedding gift  – bigger and with a timer. But here’s what I really like about it:  dinner is ready when I get home from work.

Last week, I made one of my favorite Crockpot recipes:  Martha Stewart’s Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos.  I use a few chicken breasts rather than the thighs that she suggests, and we always have lots of leftover meat – more than we need for lunch the next day.  So what to do with the leftover cooked chicken?

Well, last night, I turned the leftover chicken into Chicken Tortilla Soup, using the Pioneer Woman’s recipe.  We topped it with sour cream, avocado, and black olives (and cheddar cheese on the huband’s).  YUM!

Now we have leftover soup to eat for a few meals.

I love repurposing leftovers almost as much as I love my Crockpot.  I dream of creating a cookbook that incorporates how to use the leftovers, among other things.

The Perfect Day for Chili

Nasty weather + cold office = the perfect evening to make something warm.

I stumbled across a great chili recipe in December when the husband and I were trying the Zone Diet (which I will probably talk more about later), and then I modified it to make it even better.   Last night, we added sour cream and corn chips and had Frito pie.  Probably not the best thing to eat while you’re trying to lose weight, but it was DELICIOUS.

The Best Chili Recipe
Makes 9 servings; 1 serving = 2 cups

1 onion, chopped
3 green peppers, chopped,
3 cloves garlic, minced
31 oz ground beef (or turkey, venison, whatever your prefer)
1 large can tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste, mixed w/ about 8 oz of water
2 cans canned tomatoes (can use flavored)
cumin (start with 2 tsp)
chili powder (start with 2 Tbsp)
crushed red peppers (start with 2 tsp)
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
50 black olives, chopped
Add fresh cilantro to taste
Serve each helping with 1 oz cheese, grated

In a large pot, saute onion, peppers, and garlic; at the same time, in a separate skillet, brown ground meat.
Cook veggies until onions are transparent.
When meat is cooked thoroughly, add it to the veggies, along with the tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste mixed with water, and spices.
Bring mixture to a simmer, and add beans and olives.
Reduce heat, cover, and cook for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally; taste test to see if more spices are needed after 15 minutes; wash dishes while chili is simmering 🙂

Garnish with cilantro and top with 1 oz cheese (if preferred) – or add Frito’s and sour cream for Frito pie!