Spicy Soup and Lots of Packing

You never realize just how much you have until you try and pack it all up to move. Over the past month, I’ve learned that both my fiancé and I have A LOT of stuff. We thought we’d be proactive and start packing as soon as we signed our new lease, but here it was the weekend before the big move, and we spent all day Saturday and Sunday packing… and we’re not done.

Aside from going out for sushi on Friday night, a brief run on Saturday morning (I made it through 1.5 miles pain free! Going for two today!), and going out for a few drinks for a friend’s birthday Saturday night, the rest of our weekend was consumed by packing. We had to go box hunting two more times (we now have 100+ boxes stacked in our front room) and have been doing laundry non-stop. Thankfully, though, I think we’ll be able to safely say we’re done mid-week.

It would probably be smart to completely pack up the kitchen and just do easy dinners for the week, but not me! I’ve decided to make two involved recipes this week, and then keep the rest simple. Sure, the open half-full boxes strewn across the kitchen floor and dining room are difficult to maneuver in the dark and are rather ugly to look at, but they’ll be packed up soon enough. I did, however, pack up our nice dinnerware, so pardon the plastic plates and bowls in any posts this week!

After not getting to cook too much last week due to my company’s conference, I knew I needed to get back in the kitchen Sunday night. I found this recipe on YumSugar a few weeks ago, and since it had the word spicy in the title, I knew it was for me. Recently jalapenos at the grocery store have been HUGE, so when this recipe called for two, I knew it would really be more like 3+. I left out the chicken, and substituted the créme fraiche with plain low-fat Greek yogurt. Other than that, I kept everything else the same. And let me tell you – YUM! This packed serious heat and was really filling. Making homemade tortilla crisps was fun too! This is the type of soup that will definitely warm you up in the winter.

Spicy Broth with Chicken and Avocado
– Serves 4 –

Extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 medium-size ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 jalapeños, minced
1 quart chicken stock, homemade or store bought
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
canola oil, for frying
4 corn tortillas, cut into 1/8 inch wide strips
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
3 avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, cut in wedges
4 dollops of sour cream or crème fraiche (optional)

1. Put a stockpot over medium heat and coat with a 2 count of olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, tomatoes, and jalapeños and cook for 15 minutes or until the vegetables get pulpy. Pour in the stock, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 inch of canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the tortilla strips in batches and fry until they are crisp on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoons to a paper towel-lined platter and sprinkle with salt while they are hot.
3. Divide the shredded chicken among 4 soup bowls. Ladle the hot soup over the meat. Top with diced avocado and fried tortilla strips. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.

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