If you are anything like me, you’re not intimidated at all by the fact that spring is just around the corner! In fact, I welcome March with open arms, despite its cold temperatures. That does not, however, mean that I am any less busy than I was in the winter. On the contrary, I seem to be even busier this season. Between being a wife and mom, working on my Not the Perfect Cook cooking segments for Nashville’s NBC affiliate (WSMV), and being a food and travel writer, recipe developer and motivational speaker, I keep a packed schedule. Of course, I don’t want to use my active lifestyle as an excuse for cheating myself – and my family – out of a healthy meal. In fact, preparing and eating healthy meals at home is imperative to both my family and me as we strive to keep healthy this winter, amidst our growing list of tasks and activities.
While March is supposed to signal the start of spring, it’s hard to remember that when faced with the record low temperatures many cities (including Nashville) continue to see. When it comes to colder weather, I find myself craving comfort foods. My slow cooker becomes a very dear “friend” during these cold and crazy days, because I will do just about anything to avoid the fast food drive-thru. Throwing the ingredients for this Spicy Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup in the slow cooker makes not only a delicious, but also a crazy-easy meal! By pureeing the canned tomatoes with the onion and garlic in the blender, you get a smoother consistency (without having to stand at the stove for hours, or rush out to buy an immersion blender that not all of us have!).Slow Cooker Spicy Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup Serves: 10-12 Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 6-7 hours Product: Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Light INGREDIENTS: 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each, cubed 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon dried oregano ½ cup hot sauce (reduce by half if you don’t like spice) 2 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes with chiles 1 small white onion, quartered 3 cloves garlic 2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed 1 cup Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Light dressing 1 lb. bag frozen corn 2 corn tortillas, torn into pieces Tortilla chips, for garnish Chopped cilantro, for garnish Sliced avocado, for garnish Lime wedges, for garnish Queso fresco, for garnish INSTRUCTIONS: Place the cubed chicken at the bottom of a 6 quart slow cooker. Add cumin, oregano and hot sauce, and stir well to coat the chicken with the seasonings. Place the 2 cans of diced tomatoes with chiles, along with the onion and garlic in a blender. Puree this mixture, and add to the slow cooker. Next, add the chicken broth and black beans. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. During the last 30 minutes, mix the ranch dressing and the bag of frozen corn together in a bowl, then pour into the slow cooker and stir. Add the shredded corn tortillas, and stir again. When ready to serve, ladle into bowls, and top with tortilla chips, cilantro, avocado, lime wedges and queso fresco. For more easy recipes catering to your busy nights, visit Aimee at Not the Perfect Cook.