by Tammy Taylor~
I’ve written before about how I love the Cook-Once, Eat-Twice method of cooking and of course its close relative the Planned Leftovers method too. With Cook-Once Eat-Twice cooking you might cook several meatloaves or stuffed peppers so you can freeze it for the same entree later. With Planned Leftovers you cook much more than you’ll eat at one meal so you can remake the leftovers into something completely new and delicious. I wrote recently about cooking mucho quantities of pork roast to use for planned leftovers. But today I’ll share the planned leftovers I enjoyed from a recent Slow Cooker Sticky Chicken I made.
Planning Your Planned Leftovers Meal
You see, we had company coming for a visit so I plopped a whole chicken and some spices into the slow cooker to make my sticky chicken. Heck if you’re gonna have company you might as well make something delicious that requires precious little time in the kitchen #amiright??
After that chicken was enjoyed that night I pulled the remaining meat from the bones & then turned that carcass into plenty of Homemade Chicken Stock. (I add a secret ingredient to leach more calcium out of those bones!) Some of that leftover chicken & broth will come in handy for today’s soup.
Now I typically have lots of options for using these chicken leftovers. I’ve written about 6 ways I’m able to make meals from a single chicken. But today’s cold and rainy, a perfect day for a Spicy Chicken Tortilla SOUP!
Assembling The Chicken Tortilla Soup
So I take that leftover chicken & shred it up, plopping it into my slow cooker. Then I added about a cup and a half of my homemade broth & 2 cans of diced tomatoes – juice & all. Finally I drained a can of black beans and a quart jar of Home-Canned Corn and dumped them in as well. I tossed in some minced garlic & chopped onions, a little cumin, salt & pepper & gave it all a quick stir.
When the top was replaced onto the slow cooker I set the dial to low and let the flavors all marry for about 3-4 hours. I used this Homestead Hack to keep the slow cooker at a nice heat level during its cooking time. Then right before serving I took the last 2 dried-out corn tortillas that were left in the fridge from our Homemade Taco Shells a few nights ago. I sliced those tortillas into about 1/4″ strips that were 2-3″ long and stirred them into the hot soup.
But what should I make to go with it? I decided to bake up a skillet of Spicy Jalapeno Cornbread, what a perfect accompaniment! Finally our meal was ready to be served. I ladled out hearty bowls of soup, sprinkling a little cheese on top. Aaaahhhh – sure hits the spot on a cold rainy day! And there’s enough left over for us to enjoy for lunch tomorrow too!
Planned Leftovers Reduces Food Waste
As you can see, I’m able to incorporate leftovers from several different meals into this one delicious soup. Oh yeah, reducing food waste is my secret super power! The corn tortillas were leftover from our carnitas tacos the other night, leftover chicken & broth from my slow cooker sticky chicken and using up some homemade broth from the freezer & home-canned corn from the pantry. The beauty of this soup is that you can use whatever you’ve got. Want your soup meatier? Feel free to add more chicken. Don’t like black beans? Add canned pintos or leave them out completely. The world is your oyster, make it the way you & your family like it.
But by cooking this way I’m able to make sure no leftover food is left to go bad, and our grocery budget stays tiny – yet we eat very well. Leftovers can be delicious!
Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 1-2 cups leftover cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
- 2 cans (15 oz each) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained
- 1 can (15 oz) corn, drained (I used a home-canned pint)
- 1.5 cups chicken broth (I used homemade broth)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 2-4 corn tortillas, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
- 1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
- Place shredded or chopped leftover cooked chicken into a slow cooker. Add all other ingredients and stir gently.
- Next cover; cook on low heat for 3 hours to allow flavors to marry.
- Just before serving, add tortilla strips to slow cooker. Stir to blend. Serve soup in soup bowls, topping each serving with cheese.
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