Chicken Tortilla Soup and Bountiful baskets

So now that I’m back in Houston and this is an option, I decided to try out Bountiful Baskets. I definitely recommend it if you are in an area that they service. It’s very inexpensive and the stuff you get – well it’s good quality and quite “bountiful” if you will:

chicken tortilla soup recipe

It’s bi-weekly so I needed to think of a way to cook something good for me and get a lot of the veggies out of the house, especially since I bought the juicing pack and the herb pack too! Celery overload for sure! I had chicken thawed out so I decided soup was it. NOTE: I have seen commercials out for these new Swanson infused broths, and I’d been meaning to maybe try them. However that would’ve meant going to the store and I had regular chicken broth on hand. If you do use the swanson chicken tortilla broth, then of course omit the cumin, cayenne and chili powder. Unless you just like concentrated tastes.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 green pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
5 mushrooms, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 box of chicken broth
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
tortilla strips – either self made or bought

chicken tortilla soup recipe
A power shot of all the ingredients ready to go!

In a large pot or small stock pot, warm the oil on medium high and then add in the chicken, cooking and stirring frequently for a few minutes, until it’s all white on the outside. It’s going to cook more so if it’s not 100% done yet it’s fine. Add the cumin, cayenne and chili powder and stir well. Add the onions, celery, and peppers and cook for a couple more minutes, then add the remaining vegetables. Cook for another minute or two then add liquid and the rosemary. Turn to high and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Once it’s boiled for a few minutes, reduce the heat and let it simmer for a half hour (even longer is fine … all it does is mesh out the flavors). If it’s not as liquid-y as you’d like, then all you need to do is add a little water in. It was fine for me though. Serve immediately with tortilla strips!

chicken tortilla soup
This was like the second bowl, sans strips!

Nick Tahou’s Legendary Garbage Plate – Thank God I’m Free!

I have been wanting a garbage plate for a good long while now. The problem with that? The Garbage Plate is a special item that is made at one restaurant in the world: Nick Tahou’s in Rochester, NY. The thing is a damn institution and if you have been to Rochester and never had one? Shame on you. the good thing is that now that I’ve cracked the secret you don’t have to travel just for your delicious fix. I’m glad I don’t since I live in Texas now!

There are a few ways to customize the plate to your liking so this recipe may seem a bit more complicated. It also technically calls for triple ground beef but using an immersion blender works just as well. Might as well get right into it since there’s a lot of explaining and step by step to do! Fair warning: Some of these pictures are meh because I lazied it up with my camera phone.

Nick Tahou’s Legendary Garbage Plate
Macaroni Salad or Baked Beans *
Home Fries **
Prepared Meat x2 ***

1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, diced or pressed through a garlic press
1 teaspoon oil
1 pound ground beef
1 cup water
6 oz can tomato paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
salt to taste

* The macaroni salad is best prepared the day before (or a few days, depending). You could get store bought but it’s easy just to boil some shells, rinse them in cold water and add equal parts mayo and mustard to your liking. If you don’t like macaroni salad at all any canned baked beans can be used in place of it. Warm them up first!

nick tahou's garbage plate recipe

** Home fries are best made while the sauce is simmering and the meat is cooking. Just chop up some potatoes and fry in oil. I have a deep fryer so I used that. Don’t forget to season your fries! (I forgot and wished I hadn’t).

nick tahou's garbage plate recipe

*** There are different types of meat you can order with this: hamburger patty, white hot, red hot, or chicken piece. Use two of whichever your preferred one is. I used hamburger patties for this.

We will start with the sauce first because that is what takes the longest. Start off by heating up oil on medium high heat and cooking the onions and garlic.

nick tahou's garbage plate recipe

Secondly, add the ground beef and all the spices. Increase the heat to high and cook the meat all the way through.

nick tahou's garbage plate recipe

Add the tomato paste and water and stir well. A trick for the tomato paste is to cut around the entire circle on both the top and bottom lids, then take the bottom off and use the top lid to push it all down. It comes right out with no muss and no need for an extra utensil to help get the paste. Stir well and simmer for 10 minutes on medium.

nick tahou's garbage plate recipe

Immersion Blender time! Get it in there on the highest setting (mine has two) and grind up that meat! You can see the part in the photo below here that was being blended and how it looked different than the outer edges.

nick tahou's garbage plate recipe

When you’re done it should look like this. Let it simmer on medium low for an hour, adding extra water if needed to keep it not super thick.

nick tahou's garbage plate recipe

Time to layer! Oh god the best time. On your plate put half and half home fries and either macaroni salad or baked beans, then add your meat of choice, then slather this delicious meat sauce on top and eat. It was ranked the top fattiest unhealthiest food in New York for good reason but that won’t stop me from having a good time.

nick tahou's garbage plate recipe