Leftovers can be a blessing – or totally evil!
They are terrific when you are inspired – there’s so many yummy things you can make. Mexican chicken soup is a prime example of that – I will get to that in just a second.
But, leftovers can be so bad! If they are unhealthy – like leftover cake or some other dessert – you can find yourself feeling obliged to eat these things so they don’t go to waste.
I have had that exact issue over the past week. I don’t want to see food go to waste – but my waistline doesn’t need it either, especially after the indulgence of my birthday weekend. If you missed that post – you can read up here. I ranted about the importance of this sort of food being consumed in “moderation” – I’m not doing well with that right now!
So, while I need to get on a better track with my eating – and give the leftovers away – I am proud to say that my exercise has been going well since making my departure from personal training two weeks ago. It was a big move, and I wasn’t sure how I’d go – but I have managed to walk to, from – or both ways – to work at least three times a week. It’s a good 35-minute power walk each way. I have also been walking on weekends as well. My back has been treated and is also feeling much, much better. This weekend I am heading back to the gym and I’m really looking forward to it.
I feel focused and happy with what I am doing … now to tighten up on the food intake! Why can’t things just be perfect!
Anyway, speaking of perfect – that is a word I would use to describe this soup. It’s a cross between Mexican tortilla soup – and chicken soup. It’s spicy, sour and creamy all at the same time and while the ingredients may seem a little strange – I can promise you – it’s a taste and texture sensation and your taste buds are going to LOVE it! I’m giving you the recipe for chicken – but I actually used leftover turkey on this occasion. It was really nice. This is a meal in a bowl. Nothing else is required.
Mexican Chicken Soup
- 4 large ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 2 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1 brown onion, peeled and cut into quarters
- olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 kashmiri chillies (available from Asian and Indian stores), seeds removed
- 4 cups of good quality chicken stock, plus more water, if needed
- 1 avocado – cut onto chunks
- 4 heaped tbs of soft, creamy fetta cheese
- 4 heaped teaspoons of light sour cream
- 3 small tortillas (flour or corn), cut into strips
- 1 store-brought roast chicken (or you can cook one yourself) removed from the bone and shredded
- 1 good-sized lime, cut into quarters
Heat a non-stock frypan to a high heat and add a little olive oil. Add the tomatoes, onion and garlic to the pan and allow to cook until everything has some good colour. The bits of brown and black add wonderful depth of flavour.
Place in a food processor along with the kashmiri chillies – or use a stick blender and whiz everything until it’s lovely and smooth. Transfer the tomatoey paste to an oiled, medium-sized saucepan. Bring it to the boil and simmer gently for about five minutes. This enhances and improves the flavours.
Add the stock, bring to the boil again and simmer for 10 minutes on a gentle boil.
Meanwhile – heat your grill. Place the tortilla strips onto a non-stick baking tray (so you don’t need to use any oil). Cook under the grill until they are lovely and golden and crispy. This will only take a few minutes – so please make sure you keep an eye on them!
Once your soup has been simmering, add the shredded chicken.
Stir well and bring back to the boil. You just want to reheat the chicken. Taste the soup at this point and season with salt and pepper. Don’t be afraid if you feel like the soup is a little bland. The accompaniments will make it just right. Promise!
Now it’s time to assemble!
Ladel the soup into four large bowls, making sure each person gets their share of chicken. Add a small amount of tortillas to each bowl, leaving some for garnish. Divide the avocado and fetta between the bowls. Add a teaspoon of sour cream to each bowl and finally garnish with the leftover tortillas. Drizzle a little lime juice over each bowl and garnish with the wedge, just in case your guests would like a little more sourness.
Finally – put your head over the bowl and start scooping!!
Weird ingredients, I know – but for me, this soup was a revelation! I had never tasted anything like it before. Traditionally, a Mexican cheese is used, which I haven’t been able to source. But, fetta is recommended instead and works wonderfully. They also traditionally call for passilla chillies. I have never been able to find them, so I use kashmiri instead and they are wonderful. Not too spicy – but just enough! Normally cream is used with this soup – but I use light sour cream to cut back on fat and the tortillas are generally deep-fried. Once again, I have baked to cut back on fat – and I think it works just as well. I didn’t like the oily texture from the deep-frying.
I really hope you give this one a try. It’s wonderful for lunch – and a bowl for dinner certainly won’t leave anyone hungry.
Recent delights from Uforic Food:
- Fancy Some Tea? By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi
- Gnocchi di Patate con Bolognese (potato gnocchi) Nanna’s way – By Laura Luvara
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When I was growing up I thought Mexican food was all about tacos out of an Old El Paso box.
Now, I’m not going to say I never use the packet option – I do, cos I really think it’s yummy – but fajitas made from scratch would have to be my favourite!
That, and they’re pretty healthy – which is always a criteria for me these days, unless it’s a special treat – and there’s always room for those!
I love it because the chicken mixture is full of flavour, but fat-free and with this one, I added minimal cheese to mine, and we had it with Greek yogurt – rather than sour cream. It’s one of these things you love to make when you have lots of family over and you want to pop a whole bunch of dishes in the middle of the table and everyone can build their own. It looks colourful, generous and utterly yummy!
1 red capsicum, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 large chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ a tsp of ground cumin
The juice of two limes
1 glug of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
6 small four tortillas
½ cup plain yogurt
a handful of grated tasty cheese
½–1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
15 ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
A few tbs of chopped coriander (I substituted with Parsley because I had run out)
Salt and pepper to taste
The juice of 1 lime
a small handful of cherry tomatoes
1/2 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbs of chopped coriander (once again, I used parsley, but not as good)
1 ripe avocado
The juice of 1 lime
Combine the chicken, capsicum, onion paprika and cumin in a large bowl. Squeeze over the juice of half a lime, drizzle over a lug of olive oil, season with the salt and pepper and mix well.
Put to one side to marinate for 5 minutes while you make your salsa.
At this point, turn on your frypan to heart up.
To make the salsa, chop all ingredients, combine and set aside.
Once the pan is hot, add the chicken mix and stir regularly until cooked through – this should take no more than 10 minutes.
While the chicken cooks, assemble all the ingredients for the guacamole. Smash everything with a fork, give it a good stir, and set aside.
Place everything into serving bowls, including the grated cheese and the yogurt. Heat the tortillas in the microwave for 20 seconds and place everything on the table.
This makes enough to serve 3 to 4 people. I ate two fajitas, and that was plenty for me. If you over indulged – it wouldn’t be a very healthy dish – but everything is good in moderation!
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