Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

By Stacie Morgan, September 8, 2016, Recipes

Welcome to Cooking with Less Kilowatts! There is nothing better than sitting down in the evening to enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal. But did you know that changing what you do in the kitchen can make an impact on your monthly electricity bill? Each week, I will help you find ways to cook using less energy while still getting a satisfying, flavorful meal. Trust me – I won’t just tell you to do everything in the microwave. I’ll help you cut down on your energy consumption.

One of my favorite fall soups to make is a loaded chicken tortilla soup. But when I make this dish on the stove, it takes a couple of hours, and it’s pretty labor intensive because I can’t leave it unattended on the stove.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup | Bounce Energy Blog

Fall is the perfect time for a warming, flavorful bowl of soup!

Lucky for you, I’ve adjusted the recipe to deliver an easy and flavor-packed slow cooker version that is just as creamy, filling, and delicious as the original.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the ingredients list – it’s really a bevy of seasonings that mix together combined with some much needed fresh ingredients that really liven up this recipe. And while I like the sweetness of the yellow bell pepper for this soup, any colored bell pepper will work.

The key adjustment for this recipe is that you don’t need to sauté the vegetables before you add them to the slow cooker. Also, you can either follow the instructions in Step 8 below or skip this step – it depends upon your preference for the texture of the soup. It will taste delicious either way, though skipping Step 8 technically uses even less energy.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup | Bounce Energy Blog

Corn tortillas give this soup the right consistency.

The soup gets its thick, creamy texture by using canned cream of chicken soup and adding the tortillas (hence, tortilla soup!). These break down and help thicken up the soup without adding extra fat.

If you accidentally buy flour tortillas instead of corn tortillas, fear not! You can skip adding them to the slow cooker to speed up the cooking time and just eat them along side the soup. The consistency will be thinner, but still absolutely delightful!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup | Bounce Energy Blog

Fresh AND colorful ingredients!

  • 2 lb. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2/3 c. Yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 2/3 c. White onion, diced
  • ¼ c. Green onions, sliced
  • 1 Jalapeno, finely diced
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh oregano leaves
  • ¼ c. Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ Lime’s juice
  • 1 ½ c. Petite diced tomatoes, drained from can
  • 2 c. Black beans, drained from can
  • 1 ½ tsp. Sea salt
  • ½ tsp. Black pepper
  • ½ tsp. Celery salt
  • ¾ tsp. Cumin
  • ½ tsp. Chili powder
  • ½ tsp. Smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp. Ground coriander
  • 1 10-½ oz. can Cream of Chicken soup
  • 4 c. Chicken stock
  • 4 c. Fresh baby spinach
  • 6 Corn tortillas, cut into small squares
  • ¼ c. Cream
  • 1 c. Shredded cheese (This recipe uses a Mexican blend.)

Directions:

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup | Bounce Energy Blog

I’m a big fan of herbaceous qualities delivered by this recipe.

1) Prep the produce as directed in the ingredients list. Make sure to rain and measure the tomatoes and black beans. Wash spinach, if needed, and set aside for later.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup | Bounce Energy Blog

Who needs a prepackaged seasoning packet when you can combine spices you should already have in your pantry?!

2) Combine the sea salt, celery salt, black pepper, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, and ground coriander.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup | Bounce Energy Blog

Cut yourself and your prep time some slack by purchasing boneless and skinless chicken thighs.

3) Remove bones and/or skin from chicken thighs, if needed (or just purchase boneless, skinless thighs for ease). Place the chicken thighs in the slow cooker.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup | Bounce Energy Blog

Layering the ingredients as directed allows the flavors to meld thoroughly in the slow cooker.

4) Evenly spread out the bell pepper, white onion, green onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, and oregano leaves over the chicken.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup | Bounce Energy Blog

The juice from half a lime imparts a very important citrus component.

5) Evenly spread the seasoning mixture over the veggies and chicken. Then squeeze in the lime juice.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup | Bounce Energy Blog

The chicken stock is a fairly important ingredient.

6) Add the beans, tomatoes, and can of cream of chicken soup. Pour in the chicken stock around the other ingredients.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup | Bounce Energy Blog

That’s the beauty of a slow cooker: you can just put everything in one pot and leave it alone for hours at a time.

7) Let this cook on “Low” for 4 hours (or skip Step 8 and cook for 5 hours).

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup | Bounce Energy Blog

If you prefer chunky veggies in your soup, just skip this step entirely.

8) OPTIONAL STEP: After 4 hours, the chicken and beans will be on the bottom of the slow cooker with the vegetables floating on top. Using a slotted ladle, scoop out ¾ of the vegetables and place them in a food processor. Blend the vegetables until it reaches a salsa-like consistency. Add them back to the slow cooker, and let everything cook for 1 more hour.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup | Bounce Energy Blog

While you could wait until the end of the cooking process to shred your chicken, doing so with an hour left helps the flavor profile.

9) Remove the chicken thighs and carefully pull or chop them into small chunks. Please use caution, as they will be hot! Add them back into the slow cooker along with the cut-up tortillas and spinach. Cook on low for 2 more hours or until all tortillas are disintegrated.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup | Bounce Energy Blog

Cheese makes almost everything better.

10) Turn off the slow cooker. After stirring the soup thoroughly, add the cream and cheese. Stir until the ingredients are fully integrated.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup | Bounce Energy Blog

We heartily recommend an additional sprinkle of cilantro.

11) Serve with a garnish of extra fresh chopped cilantro, onions, sour cream, and/or more cheese.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup | Bounce Energy Blog

YUM!

You really can’t mess this recipe up – even if you put everything in the slow cooker from the beginning and let it cook all day.

Check in next week for another Cooking with Less Kilowatts series entry ready to help you create delicious, homemade recipes while keeping energy use and effort to a minimum!

Recipe and Images by Stacie Morgan

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About 

Stacie is a Texas A&M graduate using her animal science education and passion for food to get creative in the kitchen. She previously worked in business before becoming a mom to a special little boy. She's excited to share recipes her family enjoys at home - and they may even help you save energy and be more green in the kitchen.

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