lazy cook soup

A week before Elliott was born my mom and I spent a Friday preparing and freezing meals for the first few weeks of our newly found parenthood. It was a smart idea. The last thing I have wanted to do most nights is make dinner in addition to round the clock feedings and diaper changes. Taylor often wants to spend father -son time with Elliott when he gets home from work, and thus, he hasn't been in the mood to make dinner either. So, for the last five weeks we've been living off of fast food, frozen pizza, spaghetti & jarred sauce, and of course, my frozen meals. We're talking good stuff here; my amazing from-scratch macaroni & cheese, homemade meatloaf, and chicken tortilla casserole. Take one out early in the morning to thaw in the fridge, then pop in the oven at 375 for about an hour. Throw together a salad, done.

This past Monday was the very first day I felt like making anything in the kitchen, but I still wanted it to be easy and fast. I had half a roasted chicken in the fridge leftover from dinner out with my in-laws (don't ask how I ended up ordering half a chicken) so I needed to do something with it... couple that with the recent cooler night air (still dreadfully hot during the day here, though) and it seemed like my lazy cook, toss-in-anything soup was just the ticket.

I rarely use a recipe when I make soup. I clear out my fridge and pantry and throw stuff into the pot. Whatever I have: vegetables, meat, vegetable bullion cubes & water (and/or milk in some cases), some spices, canned goods, away we go. It often turns our fantastic and almost always taste better after a day in the refrigerator. I just decide what "type" of soup I want to make (tortilla, vegetable, chowder, meatball, etc) and go from there. I never use a recipe unless I want to make something very particular.

Lazy Cook Soup
 Method for soup pictured above:

-Finely 1 medium onion, two bell peppers, one cup of carrots. In a large stock pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then add vegetables. Let cook for a couple of moments, until veggies are tender. Add 1 teaspoon salt, a generous shake of garlic powder, cumin, and oregano, and a dash of cayenne pepper. Add 2 cups shredded cooked chicken and cook 2 or 3 minutes.

Add: 4 cups water, 2 bullion cubes, 1 can of diced tomatoes (including juices), 1 can pureed pumpkin, 1/2 jar of salsa, 1 small can green enchilada sauce. Let simmer thirty minutes. Top bowls with cheese and tortilla chips.

Really, the possibilities are endless!

Vegetable variations for tortilla-style lazy cook soup:
Chopped eggplant
Green onions
Canned corn
Canned kidney or black beans
Canned garbanzo beans
Canned or fresh green chiles
Zucchini or squash
Canned pumpkin or yams

Other possible add-ins for tortilla-style lazy cook soup:
Ground beef or turkey
Enchilda sauce
A can of cheddar cheese soup (or "Cream of___" soup)
Chopped up corn tortillas (to cook with the onions before stock is added)
Rice or pasta

Optional toppings:
Freshly chopped tomatoes, onion, cilantro
Guacamole or plain avocado
Shredded cheese
Crumbled tortilla chips or strips
Oyster crackers
Feta cheese

Happy soup making!