Friday, January 6, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup & Snowmobiling for the 1st time this Season!

Christmas is over.  New Years – well - YUP… it’s a “New Year” ….. WINTER is here!  For some of us on the WET Coast – oops, I meant WEST coast (...really I did...), it means rainy days...nights...weeks…seems like MONTHS (Pretty sure a wooden ship full of animals just floated by my window)….  For others lucky enough to have a place to escape to - SNOW replaces the rain.  Throw in some mountains, a couple of snowmobiles, fresh mountain air and you’ve got a pretty wicked day!
Once it has been decided it’s going to be a day out on the sleds, there is several “to-do’s” that must happen in order to ensure a great day out.  First off… for me.. LAYERING. 6 ft plus of snow...higher speeds of travel and fresh mountain air, can equal a chilly day if you are not prepared.  Then there’s the gassing up of the sleds, checking oil, and all that fun stuff.  Those are what I like to call “BLUE jobs”.  I have my own “PINK jobs” to attend to.  Snacks for while we’re out there (sandwiches, water, granola bars etc). PLUS, after a long day out, the last thing I’ll want to do is worry about what to make for dinner. SO – I have my old faithful friend “slow cooker”.  Being that my honey loves Mexican Food, I went with a “Chicken Tortilla Soup” for us to return home to after a long day out playing in the snow.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
 Some simple quick prep, and POOF – your best buddy “Slow Cooker” stays home, on low, and does the work for you. 6-8 hours later, you've got a warm, comforting dinner just about ready to sit down to! Meanwhile while your out and about enjoying the day.  Below are some of the shots I got during our first few trips out for the season on the sleds... 

view from one of the "mountain tops" out on the sleds

By no means would I consider myself an intermediate rider, heck, I’m  barely suited to the title “Beginner” …  that being said, I’m pretty much loving the sled.  I let the “guys” do the big jumps, crazy carving through the powdered valleys and trails while I tend to attempt the smaller jumps – with some success, let’s just say though.. it’s a work in progress.

My honey on a small jump...

me...  taking in the view
  I have to say, we are quite lucky - it may not be extreme sledding - crazy mountain trails, it's still pretty darn cool that we can literally ride out of the front yard, up a steep "goat trail" of a pathway, and we are in god's country!

For it being relatively early in the season... there was a decent amount of fresh powder in most areas... at least 4-5 feet!   (for those extreme "slednecks" that's not alot, buuuuut for us rookies, plenty to play in)
Then of course, there's the little area of open water that was on the Lake, which *someone* who I won't name... couldn't resist playing on...  who knew sleds went on water?! This picture was taken right BEFORE the big roll over... I knew I should of been videotaping instead of trying to get pictures for here!  DOH! Sled's ok..  rolled several times after a "rough land" back on ground after gliding on the water. Rider's he flew off in the opposite (thank goodness) direction of the rolling sled.... He even went back and successfully did it again - just to show the area who's boss! haha

waters about 7-8 feet deep here...
 If you've never been out on sleds - or in the back country, I wish you could see what's there.  The sights are just beautiful.  Snow sparkles in the sunlight, and everything appears so peaceful.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thighs would work too)
1 small jalapeno diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 gloves garlic minced
1 can  diced tomatoes, including juice
1 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper (to taste)
1/2 package taco seasoning
4 flour tortillas, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
-remaining 1/2 package of taco seasoning
1/2 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded (or tex-mex, or cheddar works too!)
  1. lightly spray slow cooker with PAM (or cooking spray) this helps with clean up after
  2. Place chicken in slow cooker
  3. In a separate bowl, combine jalapenos, garlic, onion, tomatoes,  chicken broth. mix well and pour over chicken.
  4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. When chicken is tender, use the tines of 2 forks to shred. Add taco seasoning, add salt/pepper to taste.
  5. Just before you are ready to eat - preheat oven to 425F, give a baking sheet a quick spray of PAM (cooking spray) and lay out the sliced tortilla shells in an even layer.  give another quick spray with the PAM, and then sprinkle them with the remaining Taco Seasoning, even a little salt should you desire.
  6. Bake shells in oven until just starting to turn brown, and are crisp. stir once while baking. (about 5-8 mins.)
  7. Remove crisp shells from oven, and put into a serving bowl to have with the soup
    tortilla "crisps"
  9. Serve in soup bowls, topping each with shredded cheese, baked tortilla crisps

Guess he liked it eh?!?!

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