Monday, November 23, 2020

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Soup

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Soup

November is here and it is soup weather.  Yesterday was so gloomy - so it was the perfect day to try this recipe.  SO glad I did! I had found several recipes for a chicken taco soup on the blogs I follow.  Some called for using leftover cooked ( or rotisserie ) chicken, some made on the stove top, and many for the crock pot.   I made this one  that I found on and made a few adjustments with ingredients I had on hand and our tastes.   It was delicious and will be in the regular soup rotation here at Our New Vista!

Here is the recipe  -
1 cup mild salsa
15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
15 ounce can of corn, drained
14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning ( mild ) or store-bought
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Toppings - Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, grated cheese, avocado, green onion, tortilla chips.
* I made several changes to the original recipe and you will see that below - 

First, I sprayed the crock pot with non-stick cooking spray.  Then I added an entire jar (about 15 ounces) of MEDIUM salsa to the crock pot.  I figured we were not going to eat the leftover salsa and it would just make more soup...and the medium would be a bit more flavorful.

I did not have any pinto beans in the pantry, so I used two cans of black beans...

Once they were rinsed I added the beans to the pot...
And, I did not have a can of I measure out 15 ounces of frozen corn.

I used one 15 ounce can of vegetable broth instead of chicken...I also used a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes and added water to the can and poured in the pot to get all the little bits of tomato out.

I used store bought taco seasoning...reduced sodium version.
Stir all the ingredients together well.
I also used a little more chicken....about 1 1/2 pounds...
Place the chicken breasts into the soup mixture and submerge them...
Chicken should be fully covered by the soup mixture...

Set the crock pot to low and cook for 6 hours.  While cooking you can watch the Philadelphia Eagles lose another Sunday afternoon game, or talk on the phone with friends, or make a nice cup of coffee and read a good book...all the while you can start to smell a delicious soup cooking for supper.
Once time is up, remove chicken from the soup and shred  -
An easy way to shred chicken is to put in in a mixer while it is still warm...
Using a regular beater it takes less than a minute to shred the chicken perfectly.
Add the chicken back into the soup...
Stir well...

And supper is ready !   It was the first time I made this, but it turned out wonderfully.  

I topped it with some plain, fat free Greek yogurt, a little shredded cheddar cheese, and some crumbled up tortilla chips.   It was a huge hit - and made enough to freeze for two more meals.  If you try this , please let me know how you liked it, and if you made any adjustments to make the recipe your own.

Thanksgiving week...what a year - and yet, SO much for which to be thankful.  My heart is full of gratitude for my husband and that he survived a heart attack this year.  I am so thankful for all the doctors, nurses, therapists, ambulance EMTs, and everyone who participated in helping him recover.  Thankful for my family and all the support they gave this year, thankful for our wonderful friends - near and far - who gave love, prayers, food, and laughs.  Thankful for being safe, sound, and able to share a quiet Thanksgiving for just the two of us.  And thankful for my trust in God helped me through this year and continues to make everyday a Thanksgiving.

Thank you so much for stopping by Our New Vista today!  How are you celebrating Thanksgiving ?  Cooking a big turkey or like us, a tiny little 3 pound breast?  I would love if you would leave a comment below - and wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving! 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Easy Apple Crisp

Easy Apple Crisp

Hard to believe that soon Thanksgiving will be here...and won't it be a different holiday this time around!  A few days after Halloween I switched out the ghosts/witches/jack o'lantern decor and added more pumpkins, corn, turkeys, and a pilgrim.  Even though the weather has been so not November like, I am ready for comfort food and cozy nights.  

I made this Apple Crisp and have had the recipe for years. ( It seems to me I have had MOST of my recipes for years...but honest, I do like to try new things!!!)  This comes from the Bisquick company.  My mom was a big Bisquick user.  Maybe because it was invented in the 1930's and when she married in 1939 it was probably a new and exciting product.  You can read about the history of Bisquick here - BISQUICK HISTORY  Back in the early 1980's Bisquick featured an ad on boxes for you to subscribe to a recipe club.  Every few months you would receive a few recipe cards along with some coupons in the mail.    Here is the recipe card I received - 

The recipe is called Apple Crumble...but we always refer to it as Apple Crisp.  You can see how beat up the card is...stains show how many times it has been used.  It is SUPER easy, fast, delicious, and can be served warm or cold.  
Apple Crisp
5-6 cups sliced, pared apples ( 6 medium)
1-1/4 cup Bisquick baking mix
2/3 cup of sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

And here is how easy it is to make - 
I make the recipe my own...first, by not peeling the apples.   I like the way the peels are in the finished dish.

Place the apples in a 8x8 baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
( I use my Temptations 8x8 dish.  I love these any of you have them?  They sell them in lots of patterns and sets on QVC.  I found mine at the QVC outlet in Lancaster, PA...a real bargain.  You will see all the pieces in many of my posts!  This pattern is called Floral Lace.)
You can see here that I sprinkle some cinnamon on the apples before I put the other ingredients on because we love LOTS of cinnamon.  You can also see my "vintage" Tupperware Bisquick container...that was probably purchased around the same time I got this recipe...early 1980's!
Measure Bisquick into the bowl - I now use the "Heart Healthy" Bisquick and see no difference in the taste of the finished dish.
I experimented using this no calorie sweetener from Costco and it worked just fine...
Add the sugar,
Then add the egg,
And mix together until crumbly.
Spread mixture over the apples,
Sprinkle with such thing as TOO much cinnamon,
And top with melted butter - or just squirt some Squeeze Parkay over the top.
Read to pop in a 350 degree preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.  Enjoy the fabulous apple cinnamon scent filling up your kitchen...
Remove from oven, let cool slightly...
Spoon into dishes and top with some whipped cream...or ice cream! ( saved some of my old Pfaltzgraff Yorktowne cups - perfect for this!)
Refrigerate any leftovers.  We enjoy it cold just as much.   I have even put leftovers into the freezer and then just defrost and warm up in the microwave.   
Hope you try it and enjoy this is one of my go-to favorites.
Here is a peek at our Thanksgiving decor...

So thankful for SO many blessings...wanted it on our wreath so the world know how grateful we are!
A little Thanksgiving in the foyer...thanks to Ann at On Sutton Place for the lovely printable,
Aunt Mamie's ghost has been replaced by the turkey she made for us,
Count Your Blessings plate from Ross,
A little Pilgrim for the mantel,
John's mother's cornucopia...think of her every year when we put this out...
Tiny turkey keeps watch in the kitchen, 
Another little Pilgrim,
And a turkey salt and pepper shaker re-purposed to add some Thanksgiving to the table top!

Thank you SO much for stopping by Our New Vista today - hope you enjoy this recipe.  How are you celebrating Thanksgiving this year ? Be safe and take care...and leave a comment below - I would love to hear from you !

Monday, November 9, 2020

My Best Brownies


My Favorite Brownies

First off, apologies for no photo of the finished brownies...something happened to my camera and by the time I realized the photo of the plated brownies had disappeared, so had the brownies!!!   

I have been making this recipe since about 1980.  I found it in the book pictured below -

I was working in a public library - one of my first BIG jobs as Children's Librarian in a large library.  The Children's Room was in the basement and near the Cataloging Department.  I would often browse through the new books coming into the library and found this.  I copied several recipes from the book, but this is the one that has stuck with me until today.   Beverly Nye also had a short lived television program in the 1980's....I used to enjoy watching her.  This recipe has been made MANY times.  It is my go-to recipe for family functions, gifts, and to enjoy with a cold glass of milk.  I really like this recipe and think it is easier than a purchased brownie mix...and with the cocoa you don't have to melt any chocolate. makes a 13x9 pan of brownies...not 8x8 like some recipes.  So there are always enough brownies to share!

Brownie Recipe

2 sticks of butter or margarine ( I often used Smart Balance to make them "healthy")

10 Tablespoons Cocoa

2 cups sugar

4 eggs, well beaten

1 1/2 cups flour ( you can use whole wheat)

Dash of salt

You can melt the butter in a sauce pan, but I always use a microwave safe bowl to melt and then mix the batter. Once the butter is melted stir and make sure there are no cold spots.

Then add the 10 Tablespoons of cocoa...

Mix well until a smooth, chocolate mixture is ready for the sugar...

Add the sugar and beat by hand until the sugar is incorporated into the mixture.  I can remember Beverly on her television show saying to not skimp on this step...make sure the sugar is dissolved in the batter...

I use large eggs in this recipe....and, in a pinch I have used egg beaters.

Beat the eggs until you have a smooth mixture...

Then add the eggs to the chocolate mixture and stir well until all is combined.

Next add the flour....I add 1/2 cup at a time until it is all mixed in...then a pinch of salt...mix well!

Be sure that the batter is mixed well by pockets of flour on the bottom.

Spray a 13x9 pan with a nonstick cooking spray...I like the baking variety with flour in the mix.

Spread the brownie mixture evenly in the pan..

Then, before with your favorite topping.  I usually use m&m candy.   I use whatever seasonal variety I can find...or just regular m&m's.   These "Ghoul's Mix" colors work for Halloween, but the colors are also great for Fall and Thanksgiving.  You can also use chopped nuts, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips...whatever.  

Pop the pan in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.   Cool , then cut in squares.  These freeze very well, if you have any left over...which is rare.   I made this batch for my local public library.  They are so friendly and helpful - and opening up in this crazy Covid time is not easy for them.   I wish I had the photo of the plate I took into the staff....just a Dollar Tree plate and a handmade note that said "Coming to the library is always a treat...thanks for all you do".  Simple little gesture, but they were so happy to get a treat!

I hope you try this has served me well for many years and I hope it becomes a favorite for your family and friends, too.
Thank you so much for stopping by Our New Vista today - please leave a comment below and let me know if you have a favorite brownie recipe.  Or if you have another idea for a great topping for the brownies.   I look forward to hearing from you.   Until then....keep positive and test negative!

Trip !

  TRIP !!! And not the trip we were looking forward to...out for a walk and waiting for the crosswalk to say WALK.  A tractor trailer turned...