Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Chicken (tortilla soup) Dance

I really don’t know why I try these “creative” titles…

First off, I want to thank everyone for their great tips about packing lunch for work!!

My thoughts:

  • Most of you mentioned packing things up the night before.  For some reason that has ALWAYS been a struggle for me.  Between commuting, working out, any other after-work activities, eating dinner, blogging…sometimes the last thing I want to do it thing about my food for the next day.  However I agree it’s the ideal solution…so I’m working on it ;) 
    • If it’s dinner leftovers I always pack it up for the next day, but otherwise I leave it til the morning.  Goal #1!
  • Brining in extra food to keep at the office!  I may start doing this more now.  I used to at my old job, but when I started the new one the fridge was PACKED and GROSS!!  I seriously wonder how adults can let a fridge go for so long without cleaning it!  However, a few weeks ago our network was down one morning so 4 of us decided to tackle it…nasty, but SO much better now. 
    • I especially liked the suggestion about bringing in some Trader Joes food.  I love their frozen foods for quick dinners, why not quick lunches!?
  • Another goal is to limit lunch out once a week, for me this will most likely be Fridays :)
  • A lot of people mention cooking lots of food for the week on Sundays.  I agree, and love doing this WHEN I HAVE TIME, but so many weekend it’s just go-go-go until Sunday night and I’m exhausted.  Some days I really do wish it was 50 years ago when NOTHING was open on Sunday’s…then I’d have to stay home ;)
    • Still I need to work on whipping up some quick bulky meals to have for lunches. 
  • Um, Yelena works 5 min from the Ferry Building in SF…talk about will power!!  Fun fact: we got married on the same day!

What’s the key to having leftovers for lunch the next day…actually making dinner!

I’ve been wanting to make Chicken Tortilla Soup for a long time now.  It was one of those soups that I’d heard of but never actually had until earlier this spring at a cafe near my old office…I was hooked.

I found a couple s(o)uper easy recipes online, and was excited to use the Crockpot for it.  That is until it got to be Tuesday night and we still hadn’t made the soup.

Luckily this soup is so easy it can be made in the Crockpot or just regular stovetop.IMG_2262

Chicken Tortilla Soup (slow cooker or not!)
adapted from here and here

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or regular)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 10oz can enchilada sauce
  • 1 4oz can green chili peppers
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup white hominy (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, (cooked or raw if using slow cooker)
  • Garnishes:
    • chopped fresh cilantro
    • avocado
    • sour cream
    • shredded cheese
    • crushed tortilla chips

If you need to cook the chicken, cut the breasts into 4 pieces and season with salt, pepper, and any other spices of your choice (I used garlic powder, cumin, and paprika).  Sauté in some olive oil spray for about 4 min per side until cooked through.  Set aside and chop or shred for the soup. 

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, onion, and bell peppers and sauté for 5-6 minutes. 

Add spices, broth, and tomatoes.  Stir and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add enchilada sauce and green chilies.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-7 minutes.

Add hominy, corn, beans and chicken.  Stir and simmer for 10 minutes. 

Slow Cooker Method: My original plan was to just combine all ingredients (including raw chicken) in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Shred chicken with forks before serving. 

Serve with toppings of your choice!


This was my first time cooking with hominy, and actually first time knowingly eating it! 



This soup was SO flavorful!  Loved it, and made for a great lunch the next day!


Wondering why I had “Dance” in the title??

Someone FINALLY uploaded some pieces from the show I was in back in September!!   

Now I’m by no means a professional dancer, but this was an awesome chance for me to dance in a real “company” show!  My friend was the artistic director and she just has one of the most creative minds I’ve ever encountered.  I’d call it modern/contemporary…and it was really my first time dancing this style.  I’ve always been used to jazz and dance team styles. 

The show was called White Earth and the general theme started with “Resource Depletion” (the first piece) with the plastic eating away at the earth.

I was a “Plastic” (one of the ones in red)…it’s a long piece but it’s fast paced and keeps your attention.  Of course I notice mistakes but I still want to share!

The next one I have is called “Scraps”.  The theme here was that we were picking up the “scraps” of the former earth.  I really loved this one and it was so fun dancing with the “scraps” (shredded paper)

In the beginning I’m second from the right (as you see it) in the orange top.

The last one here was the final number called “Stripped to Love”.  The “couple” in this piece is my friend (the director) and her professional dancer friend from California…he is amazing.  So they represent love and the rest of us don’t like it :)

Unfortunately the lighting in the beginning is dark on the video but it’s only for the first minute…unfortunate too since the beginning is pretty cool.  Not that you can find me easily but I’m one of the ones wearing a black shiny one shoulder dress.

Well hope you enjoyed them :)  I promised to shared them!

It’s most definitely bed time and I’m thrilled that tomorrow is Friday!!  Also have a fun blog event after work :)

Sweet Dreams!


  1. That soup looks so yummy! Comfrting in the chilly weather! The dance numbers. You guys are good!

  2. Love the videos! That's so fantastic that you're able to do so much dance.

  3. Definitely stick with packing lunches the night will help!

  4. the soup sounds yummy! thanks for posting a pic of hominy- was wondering what that was, haah!

  5. I've been at my new job almost 3 months now and I have the same lunch issues as you! Except I get so busy at work that if I don't bring lunch, I end up not eating or snacking hardcore and then pigging out when I get home. I TRY to pack my lunch the night before, but I agree; when I get home at 7 p.m. it's the last thing I want to do. What helps me is that I make Chris's lunch too and make mine at the same time. For some reason, I feel more guilty not making his lunch than I do mine!

    Oh, and that soup looks perfect :)


  6. That soup sounds perfect for a chilly night! Great videos!

  7. I';m making tortilla soup this week... you should try this one next time...

    Also, you're an amazing dancer!!! Awesome videos.

  8. Your soup looks delicious! I've had a chicken tortilla soup recipe saved on Pinterest for ages and need to try it ASAP after seeing your photos.

  9. I made a taco soup a long time ago and really enjoyed it. This one looks awesome!
    Also, I really liked the videos. You look professional :)

  10. The soup looks great :) I have a huge mental block against making soup.

    And you are so cute for mentioning me. Yay for wedding twins! Thank you! I'm just too lazy to go over there most days but I can't say I have will power!

  11. bringing in extra food for the office is a big help for me! especially for breakfast.

    also - my company has mandatory fridge cleaning once a month (scheduled) so if you don't take out your food, it gets trashed. (it really helps keep things sane in the fridges!)