Super Soup Series: Southwestern Chicken Soup

Super Soup Series: Southwestern Chicken Soup

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J
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Cooler Weather = Soup Weather

One of the great things about the cooler weather is that it lends itself perfectly to soup! What could be easier than soup? Not only does the warmth feel good as it’s devoured but it’s easy to prepare and often yields plenty of leftovers–perfect for our extra full calendars this time of year!

Our Family’s Favorite Soup

Southwestern Chicken Soup is a favorite in our house. This recipe comes from my dear mother-in-law who adapted it from an old Taste of Home magazine. Over the years I have adapted it to what works for me and my style of cooking and it still tastes just as wonderful! My biggest change to the recipe: the slow cooker. I am very picky with slow cooker recipes so you can trust me that this recipe will lend itself to a delicious and flavorful soup! It’s great to have on hand because it freezes well. When my parents come to visit and I don’t want to spend the whole time cooking, I can pull some Southwestern Chicken Soup out of the freezer, mix up a batch of cornbread and we have the easiest meal ever! Easy soup dinners leave more time for enjoying the people we love!

I hope you enjoy Southwestern Chicken Soup as much as we do!

 

Southwestern Chicken Soup

2 onions, chopped

2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped

3 large chicken breasts

2 Tbsp cumin

1 Tbsp chili powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 (15 oz) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 (10 oz) can original Rotel

32 oz. no-sodium chicken broth (I recommend Kitchen Basics for a noticeably better taste.)

1 bag frozen corn

 

  1. Place chopped onions and jalapeños in the bottom of the slow cooker and top with chicken.
  2. Cover chicken with the spices and salt.
  3. Add beans, Rotel, and broth to the mixture.
  4. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours.
  5. Toward the end of the cooking time, remove chicken and shred with 2 forks. Return to the slow cooker and stir in the frozen corn. Cover and cook on low for 20-30 minutes to get it nice and hot.

Enjoy with shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, and corn chips or cornbread.

This recipe can be easily customized to your liking!

  • As is, it has a little kick, but to make it mild simply use mild Rotel and replace the jalapenos with finely diced green pepper. If you prefer more heat (like my husband!) use spicy Rotel and leave the white ribs on the jalapenos before dicing.
  • This recipe is great with leftover chicken or Thanksgiving turkey as well, just cook it for 3-4 hours on low instead of high.

Southwestern Chicken Soup

 

 

 

soup-series-pinterst
Inconvenient Hospitality AND Easy Feed-a-Crowd Meatballs and Cheater Tomato Sauce with Pasta

Inconvenient Hospitality AND Easy Feed-a-Crowd Meatballs and Cheater Tomato Sauce with Pasta

I am a recovering Army brat who loves to travel and start new adventures. My handsome husband and I met at Oklahoma Christian University and he whisked me away to Kansas. So, I bought some ruby red high heels and made Topeka my home. I have a rough and rowdy Princess 4-year-old girl, amazing twin boys (almost 3) and a newborn baby girl who all make every day an adventure. We are grateful to be part of an amazing church in Topeka who regularly challenges and encourages our whole family. I have been both a full-time working mom and a stay-at-home-mom and/or both at the same time at one point or another. I am constantly seeking God’s wisdom on “balancing it all” and following His plan for my life, not mine.
Elizabeth P
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I grew up in a home where my parents entertained pretty frequently. We always had people in our house for my dad’s job, or church fellowship, or just because my mom, who is a natural hostess, invited someone over that night.  My mom has always impressed me with how she can entertain in a pinch and everything was always wonderful. Someday I will grow up to be like my mom. She was a Pinterest mom before that was a “thing” and she came by it naturally from my grandmother. It also might be an Army wife thing. One of my mom’s many gifts is hospitality and generosity.

Thankfully, this has all resulted in tons of impressive but quick dinners, appetizers, and sides that never fail.  Go Mom!

I love to cook and I love to entertain, although I am not as good as my mom at hosting and my “skills” in hospitality have progressively worsened after I had kids… oh well. I’m working on it.

Hospitality

Hospitality is a spiritual gift for some and for others, it seems like a nightmare.  Even if you enjoy it, sometimes hospitality is inconvenient.  A dear friend and mentor of mine once challenged me to allow myself to be inconvenienced. She urged me to intentionally change my attitude about serving others when it seemed to push me outside my comfort bubble. She challenged me to open my heart to opportunities that seemed to cause more work or interruption in my day and see how the Lord worked through it to minister not only to me, but to allow myself to be used in those situations to serve others and be hospitable.

Here are a few verses to meditate on:

  • 1 Peter 4:9 (ESV) – “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
  • Romans 12:13 (ESV) – “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”
  • Hebrews 13:2 (ESV) – “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

Some of these are talking about the serving the body of Christ as a whole, but the idea here is serving others and having a right heart about showing love even in the midst of inconvenience in your day, or all the stress or the hours of clean up.

Hospitality Challenge

I want to encourage you to look for ways to serve not only other fellow members of the church, but your community as well. This might even look like being helpful or “hospitable” to a fellow mom at a park you usually go to (anyone ever forget the diaper bag?!), maybe it looks like offering to run an errand for someone, or taking a meal.  Truly, I think our challenge here is looking for opportunities to serve with a willing heart outside of our comfort bubble or our plan for the day, however that may look in your life.

You never know when serving someone, even in a seemingly small way, is “entertaining angels” or helping to further God’s Kingdom.

All that being said, every once in awhile we just need to make a meal that tastes good but doesn’t require an all-day production. Sometimes family pops over for dinner unexpectedly, or maybe you decided to invite that new person at church over, or bring something to the family down the street going through a rough time. Usually, (or if I really plan ahead) I go to the crock pot for some of my favorite feed-a-crowd deliciousness but sometimes I don’t have time for a crock pot meal to cook.

Here is a great meal that strikes a nice chord between homemade and super convenient.

yummy! (1)

Behold:  Homemade meatballs, tomato sauce and pasta.

This can be easily doubled or tripled for either a big group or to freeze. My kids love these so I usually have a bag in the freezer that I can use for a quick lunch (or to feed an impromptu dinner guest).

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef

1 lb ground Italian Sausage – any kind you like, I use sweet or mild for the kids

¾ cup Italian breadcrumbs (In a pinch I’ve also used panko, but increase seasonings by at least a tsp each if you use unseasoned crumbs.)

2 cloves minced garlic

¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 tsp each of the following:

  • Dried oregano
  • Dried thyme
  • Dried basil

OR

1 Tbsp of your favorite Italian seasoning

Optional: fresh snipped basil

1 box of penne or spaghetti pasta

Tomato Sauce:

What’s more cheater and delicious than a good jarred sauce? Buy two, or get one jar of your favorite sauce and one can of diced Italian tomatoes.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.                                                           .

Dump all the ingredients  (except the sauce and pasta) into a bowl and mix with your hands just until well-combined. Don’t over-mix or your meatballs will get tough. Tip: mix using your fingers, don’t “knead” the meat.

If the meat mixture seems too dry (if it’s really crumbly and not coming together into balls), add about 1 tsp of olive oil at a time to gain the right consistency.

Grease a large cookie sheet or two depending on the size of your meatballs.  Roll them into anywhere from about 1-inch to 2-inch balls. Make smaller ones for it to stretch further; big ones are fun for meatball sandwiches.

yummy!

Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes on the middle rack.

Use it all now or freeze it for later

If you are using them right away, dump the whole tray (drippings and all) into a pot of your favorite jarred spaghetti sauce.  I recommend two standard jars for this, or one jar and one 14 oz can of Italian diced tomatoes. If you are feeling fancy, you can even make your own sauce, you know, with all your free time ;).

Let it simmer together for at least 20 minutes, or up to an hour on low. Season to taste and serve with cooked pasta!

I like to use a box of penne with this. Toss it in the sauce and meatballs and throw a handful of shredded mozzarella or some fresh chopped Italian parsley on top for a quick delicious meal that feeds a large group.

Serve with some crusty bread and a salad (even a bag-o-salad). It’s a wonderful hearty meal everyone will love.

Again, these meatballs freeze great and they are pretty forgiving on measurements. If you make them ahead, then just add them cold to the sauce and heat together on medium until it’s all heated through.

Easy Homemade Meatballs

It’s Hot and I’m Tired: Summer Frittata Recipe

It’s Hot and I’m Tired: Summer Frittata Recipe

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D
Latest posts by Toni D (see all)

Well, it’s late at night and I’m up against my deadline to submit my blog post.  This summer has been crazy and hectic.  Just today I spent the day at the doctor’s office and emergency room with my husband.  I had ideas for writing and I actually have one that is almost finished.  But, it’s hot out and I’m too tired!  I don’t have anything left in me…nothing inspirational, nothing profound, nothing!

I’m not the only one who feels this way from time to time (please tell me I’m not).  As moms, we can get overwhelmed by all of our responsibilities.  We care for our children, work (I’m self-employed), and have numerous outside responsibilities.

God is there!

He is always there.  No matter how tired and overwhelmed we feel.  He tells us in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” KJV

Healthy Tip #8

Rest!  I know that is easier said than done, but if we do not take care of ourselves, then how can we take care of others?  Remember, God rested on the seventh day, the Sabbath, as an example to us.  So REST!

Now, if your family is like mine, they like hot meals.  But who wants to cook a hot meal during the heat of summer?  As I said earlier, “It’s hot, and I’m tired.”  Here is a great, easy recipe that is hot but takes only a few minutes to prepare.  It’s perfect for using so many of the fresh veggies that are available this time of year.

Recipe

Summer Frittata

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I took this frittata to church one night. Everyone loved it!

6 eggs

1/4 c. milk

Salt and pepper to taste

10 okra pods, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 onions, diced

1 small potato, diced

1/2 c. shredded cheese  (I use cheddar but you can use your favorite.)

Mix eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a bowl.  Set aside.  Heat a broiler-safe skillet (I prefer cast iron).  Add a small amount of oil and and the veggies.  Cook about 5-7 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Add the egg mixture.  Stir just enough to incorporate the veggies but not enough to scramble the eggs.  Top with cheese, and then place in the broiler until the egg is set.  Serve in wedges with a salad and some fresh cantaloupe or watermelon.

"Okra!

 

Looking for more Real Food Recipes and Health Tips?

Check out these posts. 

Healthy Eating Real Food Stressed Grief

It's Hot and I'm Tired! pinterest
Thou Shalt Not Eat…

Thou Shalt Not Eat…

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D
Latest posts by Toni D (see all)

Bacon.  Okay, I know that is not one of the Ten Commandments.  But it is in the Bible, kind of.

Before we get into that, I will give you some background.  Yes, I do understand that we are no longer under the Law and that Jesus came to fulfill the Law.  We are not saved by the Law but by faith.  Galatians 2:19-20 states,  

For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

My Background

I’ll start with a little background information on why I believe the way I do.  I was raised in a denomination that followed Old Testament dietary laws.  Even though I am no longer a part of that denomination, those teachings have stayed with me.  So, the Bible does tell us not to eat pork.  Leviticus 11:1-8 (NASB) states,

“The Lord spoke again to Moses and to Aaron, saying to them, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, “These are the creatures which you may eat from all the animals that are on the earth. Whatever divides a hoof, thus making split hoofs, and chews the cud, among the animals, that you may eat. Nevertheless, you are not to eat of these, among those which chew the cud, or among those which divide the hoof: the camel, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you. Likewise, the shaphan, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you; the rabbit also, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you; and the pig, for though it divides the hoof, thus making a split hoof, it does not chew cud, it is unclean to you. You shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.”

Verse seven specifically states that we are not to eat pig.  It is in the Bible.  It then goes on to list all the foods that are considered “unclean.”

We really need to be aware of what we put in our bodies.  Not only do these animals carry disease but the way much of it is processed is not good for us.  Just look at the additives  for bacon, hot dogs, and ham.  Many of these additives are not good for us.

NO Condemnation

I am not condemning anyone who chooses to eat these animals.  I do not make a big deal about it when I’m with people who do not know me well.  I can usually make adjustments if I’m in a situation where there are not many food options for me and I never try to make anyone feel bad about what they try to serve me.

I love the story about my grandmother while she was visiting her in-laws.  They served a ham for dinner one night and then realized that she did not eat pork.  When she did not take any, they realized their mistake and went and fixed her fish.  The only problem with the fish was that it was catfish!  Catfish is also considered unclean.  She never said a word and proceeded to eat it.  I too have been in that situation and never said a word.  I know that I am not condemned because of those meals.

This is something of which I feel convicted and as such feel that I will have to answer before God.  I know many will not understand this and not agree with it.  I do understand that this is a result of my upbringing, but we are all a result of our bringing and have different thoughts and beliefs because of it.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
-Paul, 1 Corinthians 10:31

Health Tip #7

Do not eat “unclean” animals.  This does not just mean pork.  God laid out an entire list of animals that we must not eat.

Like I stated earlier, I understand that we are no longer under the Law, but we have to remember that God gave us the Law for a reason.  These animals were considered unclean because they carried disease and/or were scavengers that ate any and everything.  God did not make up the Law arbitrarily.  He did it for our own protection.  The animals that are unclean are not healthy for us.

 

Recipe – Green Beans with Mushrooms

1 lb fresh green beans, ends snapped

1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced

1/2 onion, slivered

1 garlic, minced

2 T oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil, then remaining ingredients.  Stir until green beans turn bright green, about 5 minutes.  Serve.

By the way, I do eat bacon.  I eat turkey bacon!  You can sprinkle cooked, crumbled nitrate-free bacon over the top of the green bean dish.

Thou Shall Not Eat...pinterest (2)

Is It Real?

Is It Real?

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D
Latest posts by Toni D (see all)

 

Last summer one of my beautiful, angelic children thought it would be funny to get my phone and post on my Facebook page, “I love Twinkies.”  No one commented on it until I did.  You see, most people that know me know that I do not eat Twinkies.  I try to eat REAL food.

Real food is food that is as close to it occurs in nature.  These are whole, unadulterated foods.  These are foods like fresh fruits and vegetables and meats.  I do not like prepared foods like canned soups and frozen chicken nuggets.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are times that I do reach for prepared because I am not SuperMom, but when I do, I read the labels and try to buy things with the fewest ingredients and with only ingredients that I can read or know what they are.

I have prepared real food for a long time but when my husband developed a food allergy a few years ago, it became a must. I have to do this or it is a trip to the hospital.  This forced me to really watch what we eat because of the chance of cross contamination.  This has even affected the way we eat out, though I have a tendency to indulge when I go out with friends because there are just some things a girl just has to have (real chocolate cake).

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Eating real food is healthier.  So many prepared foods have preservatives and chemical compounds in them to “enhance the flavor.”  These things are not natural and can cause digestive problems.  Real foods do not unless you have an allergy or intolerance.

Devo Thought

Like the food we eat, are we REAL?  Are we real Christians or are we fake?  Do we do and say the things that we are supposed to because of what others might think?  We all do it.  We put on a facade and let people think we are the “perfect” Christian.  Well, there are none of us that are perfect.  We all have issues and can only make it through with God.

God does not want us to be “perfect.”  He wants us to share not just our triumphs but our trials with others.  If others do not see our struggles, they cannot see how God is working in our lives.  God wants us to be REAL. 

Healthy Tip #6

Eat REAL food.  Cook whole foods.  It’s not that hard.  Just start with a couple of meals a week and go from there.

Recipe

Chicken Chard Taco

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite size pieces

1 Onion, slivered

1 bunch Chard  (or other greens like kale or collards) cut into 1 inch ribbons.

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 C chicken broth

3 T. Sour Cream

Salt and Pepper to taste

Saute chicken and onions.  When cooked, add greens. When greens start to wilt, add garlic, then broth.  Stir well, remove from heat and add sour cream and salt and pepper.  Serve on tortillas and add toppings of your choice:  tomatoes, avocados, jalapeños, etc.

Do you eat REAL food?

Do you show your real self?

 

Looking for more Real Food Recipes and Health Tips?

Check out these posts. 

Healthy Eating Stressed Grief

Is it Real- pinterest
Stressed Out

Stressed Out

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D
Latest posts by Toni D (see all)

Stress!  We live in such a fast-paced society.  We always have so much to do.  Our to-do list gets longer each day, and it seems as though we will never get it done.  So many of us are caring for children, or parents, or even both.  We worry about if we are good parents or good children.  We worry about our spouses.  Women, especially, are told to be the Proverbs 31 Women.  I have to be honest here.  I tried getting up earlier to get everything done.  I was so tired by 8:00 a.m., all I wanted to do was go back to bed.  All these demands on us just stress us out.

Stress can have negative effects on our bodies.  It can cause high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.  Those are a few of the “biggies”.  It can also lead to weight gain and an increase in viral and bacterial infections due to a weakened immune system.  Have you ever felt like you have been sick forever?  That can be stress.   Stress can wreak havoc on us.


How do we deal with this stress?

Healthy Tip #5

As I’ve stated before, give it to God! Philippians 4:6-7 (NASB) states, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Give it to God and do not take it back.  He can handle it; we can’t!

Meditate.  I’m not talking about New Age meditation or yoga or anything else.  I’m talking about meditating on the Word of God.

Philippians 4:8-9 (NASB) goes on to say, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

We should memorize scripture related to what we are dealing with and then meditate on it.  If we learn to refocus our thoughts on these things, that will lower our stress.

Stress accomplishes nothing.  Really, it doesn’t.  When was the last time we felt great when we were stressed out?  It’s time for us to give it to God.

We should memorize scripture


Recipe

Asparagus Salad Recipe Print Out

Asparagus Salad

1 lb asparagus

1/2 red onion, slivered

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

3 T. balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cut asparagus into three-inch pieces and blanch in salted, boiling water for about one minute.  Pour into colander and let drain for a few minutes.  Do not rinse with cold water.  Pour asparagus into bowl and add all other ingredients and stir.  Let sit to absorb dressing.  Serve at room temperature.



This is the fifth installment in my living healthy series.

Check out the rest of the Healthy Living Series:

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A Temple of the Holy Spirit

 

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