Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Mexican" Soup & Salad

Every summer when we're in Montreal, I visit my friend Isabelle (we've known each other since we were 5 years old!) Our annual visits are usually celebrated over a pitcher (or two) of sangria at a nice Mexican restaurant. When she came to visit me this week, I thought it would be fitting for our first supper to have a Mexican theme. I also thought it would be fitting if supper was already in the crockpot when she got here, so I wouldn't have to waste time cooking, so I knew the perfect meal: Chicken Salsa Soup and Southwest 5-Minute Layer Salad.
I've had this recipe for a long time, and I think it originally came from A Year of Slow Cooking. It's so easy to make, and it's delicious.
2-3 chicken breasts, cubed
1 tbsp. Cuban Seasoning (or Fajita seasoning, or chili powder, cumin, etc)
1 jar salsa
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
4 c. chicken or vegetable broth
1 c. frozen corn
1/2 c. sour cream (add at the end)
cilantro, avocado, limes, green onions, grated cheese, tortilla chips (to garnish)
Put chicken in the crockpot and coat with seasoning. Add salsa, beans, broth, and corn. Cook on low for 8 hours. Stir in sour cream, and purée with an immersible blender until smooth. Pour into bowls and squeeze in some lime juice. Top with cheese, cilantro, avocado, and/or green onions, and serve with tortilla chips.
This soup is so good, especially with the lime juice and all the other little extras you put in it. I scooped out some chicken and corn from the crockpot for my son before I puréed it, and he ate it just fine. My daughter and all my daycare kids ate it the next day and loved it.
Then came the salad. I loved this salad last time I made it, however, I put it in my recipe book underneath another layered salad. Both salads start out with lettuce in the bottom, but then they start to differ. Unfortunately, I ignored my gut instict that told me, "I'm sure I didn't put peas in the salad last time. And I'm sure I didn't put mayo and parmesan cheese in it - I thought there was Ranch dressing and salsa instead. Hmm, this is odd." Then it dawned on me that I was making the wrong salad. There was really nothing Mexican about this salad, but I realized it too late, so here's what I ended up with:
1 head of iceberg lettuce, chopped
2 c. frozen peas, thawed
1/2 c. mayonnaise
3 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
Tex-Mex grated cheese
1 tomato, diced
tortilla chips, crumbled
In a clear glass bowl, put lettuce and then peas. Mix together mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese and spread overtop. Top with grated cheese, diced tomato, and tortilla chips.

The only thing Mexican about this salad is the tortilla chips. I wish I would have made the other salad; it's so much better. Although Isabelle and I did agree that perhaps 3 cans of black beans in one meal would be a less-than-wise decision.
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