I have a terrible cold right now, which means I will be a terrible person for at least three more days. I’ve also given it to Brian because I’m just generous like that – and who wants to wallow in feverish self-pity alone?
Of course all I want to eat is chicken noodle soup, because it’s the only thing that will make me feel better (It’s science.) And none of that salt-bomb canned stuff with soggy noodles. I want homemade chicken noodle soup.
Well, you can see the conundrum.
So I made a big pot of this soup to last us a few days. It tastes way better than canned – but doesn’t expect miracles from a cook who can barely get out of bed. I’m filled with rage when I see ingredients like “finely chopped parsley” in a chicken soup recipe (It’s 5 p.m., and I just managed to shower. You seriously expect me to have parsley right now?).
Adjust the following “recipe” (if you can call it that) to your circumstances. Send the healthiest person in your house to the grocery store to pick up a rotisserie chicken and all of the NyQuil. Skip all the vegetables if you don’t have any, or throw in a bag of frozen veggies right before the noodles are done. Whatever it takes to get this soup in your belly.
- Vegetable or olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 carrots, cut into chunks
- 2 celery stalks, cut into chunks
- 1 rotisserie chicken, meat pulled off and shredded into pieces
- 8 cups (2 quarts/ almost 2 liters) chicken broth
- Dry pasta (I used 1 cup corkscrew noodles)
- Salt and pepper
- Dried oregano, crushed red pepper and/or poultry seasoning (optional)
- In a large pot, cook the onion in oil for a few minutes until it starts to soften. Add the carrots and celery; cook for another 5 minutes, until they are slightly more tender. Add garlic and cook for a minute.
- Add chicken broth; simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are starting to get tender. Season with salt and pepper (and other herbs and spices, if using).
- Add noodles and chicken pieces, and cook till noodles are al dente.
I make enchiladas at least once a month, usually when I have a random assortment of leftovers and vegetables I need to use, and I am craving something a little spicy. What I like best about enchiladas is that you can make them a thousand different ways, and they’re almost guaranteed to be delicious no matter what you put in them. My commitment to creating authentic Mexican cuisine is minimal, so it frees me up to try a lot of possible combinations.
My basic formula is:
- Put a few cups of cooked beans or leftover chicken, pork or beef into a mixing bowl. (This is an excellent use for slow-cooker pulled pork or dried beans that you soak overnight, then cook on low all day in the slow cooker.)
- Mix beans or meat with sour cream (or Greek yogurt), a few generous handfuls of shredded or crumbled cheese, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper.
- Lightly sauté some veggies in olive oil.
- Take flour tortillas (or corn tortillas that have been softened by microwaving them briefly or sautéing them in a little oil) and add generous dollops of beans or meat and veggies in the center.
- Roll the filled tortillas up, and nestle them in a casserole dish, seam down.
- Cover with enchilada sauce and bake, adding more cheese on top for the last few minutes.
A few recipe ideas:
- Pork, spinach and pepper jack cheese
- Chicken, red peppers and cheddar cheese
- Pinto beans, zucchini and goat cheese
- Black beans, squash and cotija or feta cheese
Any variations you would add to the list?
Bean, Mushroom, Red Pepper & Cheese Enchiladas
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked pinto beans (about 1 16-ounce can)
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- 1 cup wild or white button mushrooms, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 - 1 ½ cups sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- 1 bag shredded cheese (about 200 g or 8 oz)
- 10-12 small flour tortillas
- Salsa or hot sauce (optional)
- Pickled jalapeños (optional)
- Avocado (optional)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 large can whole peeled tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Olive oil
- Spices to taste (chili pepper, cumin, salt, pepper, oregano, cayenne, etc.)
- Heat a small amount of olive oil in a pan and sauté pepper, onions and mushrooms for 5-8 minutes, until vegetables start to soften. Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Make the sauce in a separate saucepan: sauté garlic in olive oil for 1-2 minutes, then add the tomatoes and their juices, crushing them well with your hands as you go and breaking them up more with a spoon or spatula. Season with spices and let simmer uncovered for about 15-20 minutes. Blend with an immersion blender if you want a smoother sauce.
- In a large bowl, mix pinto beans, cilantro, sour cream and half the bag of cheese. Add a few good shakes of salt and pepper, and mix well.
- Grease a 9 x 13 casserole pan with a bit of olive oil to keep enchiladas from sticking. Place heaping portions of bean mixture and veggie mixture on a tortilla, roll it up and place it seam side down in the pan. Repeat until the pan is full and you use up all the filling.
- Pour the sauce over the enchiladas. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for about 40 minutes.
- Take the enchiladas out of the oven, remove the foil and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Return to the oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are starting to get crisp on the edges.
- Serve with extra toppings: sour cream, jalapeños, salsa, hot sauce, avocado, lime, cilantro, etc.