For months my sister has been raving about the recipes from The Pioneer Women.  I knew she had a huge blog, lived on a ranch, home schooled and called a cowboy her husband.  In my mind, none of that equated to good cooking.

 

Finally, after yet another rave review about her recipes, I put my boots on and jumped into her recipes with both feet.

Right now I am eating cow pie because, yes, her recipes are amazing.  The Pioneer Women understands that women are crazy busy and don’t have time to cook,  so most of her recipes take under 30 minutes to prepare.  But unlike the multitude of  30 minute meals out there, the Pioneer Woman’s recipes have a complexity that separates them from other quick meals.  After preparing three of her recipes, I finally got it–she adds a couple of ingredients to enhance the flavor and texture.   I made the following three recipes:  chicken tortilla soup, chicken stir fry and shrimp scampi.   Not only are these “family friendly” meals, each is worthy of being served at your next casual dinner party.  With the exception of the chicken stir fry, all of these can be made ahead so you can enjoy your guests.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Secret Ingredients:  Rotel Tomatoes and Corn Meal

This is all the chopping that is required!

A medley of spices and Rotel tomatoes enhance the flavors

 

Don’t hold back on the garnishes! I add avocado, tortilla chips and sour cream

Chicken Tortilla Soup

The Pioneer Woman
Adding a can of Rotel tomatoes and chilis and corn meal makes this soup is delicious. By simply roasting two chicken breasts in assorted spices, the recipe is super easy.
5 from 1 vote
Course Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 2 whole Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Diced Onion
  • 1/4 cup Diced Green Bell Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper
  • 3 cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 can 10 Oz. Can Rotel Tomatoes And Green Chilies
  • 32 ounces Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 4 cups Hot Water
  • 2 cans 15 Oz. Can Black Beans, Drained
  • 3 Tablespoons Cornmeal Or Masa
  • 5 whole Corn Tortillas Cut Into Uniform Strips Around 2 To 3 Inches
  • _____
  • FOR THE GARNISHES:
  • Sour Cream
  • Diced Avocado
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Salsa Or Pico De Gallo
  • Grated Monterey Jack Cheese

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix.
  • Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.
  • Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.
  • Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed---add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to under salt. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips.
  • Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, and grated cheese, if you have it. (The garnishes really make the soup delicious.)
Tried this recipe?Rate it above to let us know how it was!

Once you’ve made that soup, you’ll be hooked and anglin’ for more of The Pioneer Woman’s recipes. And since I know you’ll be hooked after trying the soup, here are two of my other favorites.

Sixteen Minute Shrimp Scampi

Click here for the recipe.

Secret Ingredients:  hot sauce and white wine ( buying good shrimp doesn’t hurt either, try the Tiger Shrimp from Costco)

Monday Night Stir Fry

Click here for recipe.

Secret Ingredient:  A tad of sugar and arrowroot for thickening

Photo compliments of The Pioneer Women

When it comes to style, you gotta’ love Ina.  And you must admit, Rachel is pretty darn perky. But when it comes to cookin’ up a meal that will make your favorite cowboy melt, the Pioneer Woman wins it in spades.

Enjoy!