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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Carly's Chicken Tortilla Soup

March 2, 2015: In February of 2015, I posted a picture on Instagram of a hodge podge soup that I had made. I called it Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chicken Chili- cause that's what it was, plus black beans & corn. Andy and I were iced in with little in our pantry, so we threw it all together in the crockpot and eight hours later had a delicious soup without ever having to leave our warm little house. My sister-in-law, Carly, posted a comment on my picture on Instagram. She said, "Sounds good! I made tortilla soup tonight." Of course I asked her for her recipe, and once the ice thawed, I adventured to the store and bought the ingredients. Out came Carly's Chicken Tortilla Soup, and I'm pretty sure it was the best damn soup I've ever had. And with new tastes comes old memories. 
Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chicken Chili

I remembered one cold day, taking my cousin (who on all accounts is my "pseudo-sister") Central Market's Chicken Tortilla Soup when she was sick in college. I'm beginning to think tortilla soup is a cure-all dish for head colds and cold hands. Below is my Maid of Honor toast from Ashlea's wedding in December of 2012. It's not about soup or being cold or even having a cold, but it is about being sisters, so I found it quite fitting for this recipe. And a huge thanks to my new sister for the meal that's sure to be on our go-to recipe list from now on.
Andy, Kate, and Carly at Andy & Kate's wedding
at The Omni Fort Worth Hotel- November 15, 2014
"Hi, for those of you who don’t know me, I’m Kate or “Katherine” to most of my family, and I’m Ashlea’s Maid of Honor.  When I got my note in the mail asking me to fill the role of Maid of Honor, I was immediately overwhelmed with pride, excitement, and a major dose of reality. We are growing up. We were no longer playing dress up in our mom’s clothes, but instead, my Lil Cuz was going to dress up in white lace.  We were no longer decorating our rooms with Tweety Bird & Jonathan Taylor Thomas posters, but, instead, we were decorating for a wedding reception.  Standing in my kitchen, holding your letter, I wasn’t sure I was ready to grow up.
Kate (18 mos) and Ashlea (1 month) with Granny at Kate's parents' house for Christmas 1987
in Fort Worth, TX
When we were little, Ashlea and I both had older brothers, but neither of us had a sister.  I used to ask Santa Claus for a little sister, but apparently it doesn’t work that way.  I didn’t quite understand why I never found a little pink bundle of joy under the tree until I came across this quote, “God made us cousins because he knew our moms couldn’t handle us as sisters.”  Probably true, considering the adventures and mischief we got into.
Kate & Carly at Kate's wedding- November 15, 2014
The Omni Fort Worth Hotel
I think Ashlea would agree with me in saying that our best adventures were at our Granny & Papa’s house.  Their house was home to a garage full of cardboard boxes that were perfect for making forts that went from one end of the house to another.  It was home to a moth-ball smelling, blanket filled closet that made for the best hide and go seek hiding spot.  We spent Christmases in the den, helping Papa scratch off Lottery Tickets and Easters in the backyard having Easter egg hunts.  Then there was the kitchen that made me fall in love with cooking- where we had pizza for breakfast and s’mores & hotdogs for midnight snack, with frozen apple juice & frozen peaches in between.  We made all kinds of messes- dying Easter eggs, making sticky Rice Krispie treats, and mixing every ingredient in the kitchen into what we called a “Portion Potion.”  Despite our messes and adventures, Granny & Papa never told us “No.”
Ashlea & Kate before Kate's wedding- November 15, 2014
The Omni Fort Worth Hotel

We sat on Papa’s lap eating chocolate ice cream while he watched his programs, and we sat on Granny’s lap while she rocked us until we were in our twenties.  We crawled into bed with them in the mornings to read the funny papers and we snuggled up at night to watch Johnny Carson- Ashlea & I were inseparable, and Granny & Papa were our heroes.
Kate & Ashlea at Kate's wedding- November 15, 2014
The Omni Fort Worth Hotel
When I moved to Austin to start at UT, I thought Ashlea and my’s sisterly moments would come to a halt, but luckily I was wrong.  Being the intelligent woman she is, and against her brother’s crimson-colored wishes, Ashlea called me in 2006 and told me she, too, was going to be a Longhorn.  And, to make this proud sister even more proud, Ashlea chose to go through recruitment and pledge my same sorority, Delta Gamma.  I remember calling Granny on bid day, and tearfully telling her, “Ashlea is really going to be my sister!”  Granny, in her calm, sensible, and wise tone simply said, “Well Katherine, I thought she already was.” 
Katherine & Ashlea building a snowman at our Granny & Papa's house
in Wichita Falls, TX
Granny was right- she always was right.  Lee Lee, you have always been my sister.  As little girls, every Christmas at Midwestern’s Fantasy of Lights, every one of your bounce house birthday parties, every lake day ending with a fabulous sunset- you made them all complete.  To this day, I brag to everyone about you- my cousin, my Delta Gamma Grand Little Sis, my UT cheerleader, my Physical Therapist, and my very first friend. 

Kate giving her Maid of Honor toast at Ashlea's Wedding
December 15, 2012
Your courage, patience, faith, hope, and love have been a pillar of strength for your family, through the good times and the hard.  I know Granny, Papa, and your Bubba are watching down on you and Mark today, beaming at their handiwork and crazy proud of the woman you have become, just as I am.  Let’s raise our glasses to Ashlea & Mark- You two have found a love so great and unconditional- a love that lasted across high school halls and across the state.  Y’all have cared for one another, supported one another, and cheered for one another for 7 years thus far, so here’s to 77 more.  As our Granny would say, “Keep on making memories.”  Cheers.

Carly's Chicken Tortilla Soup
Servings: 8; Adapted from The Food Network

Carly's Chicken Tortilla Soup
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 6 c chicken broth (we use unsalted)
  • 1 c corn kernels (fresh or frozen, thawed)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 c cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 c lime juice
  • 1 doz tortilla chips, crumbled (for garnishing)
  • 1/2 c cheddar cheese (for garnishing)
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat
  2. Add onion, garlic, chipotle, chili powder, and salt and cook until onion softens
  3. Add chicken broth, bring to a boil
  4. After this has been boiling for appr 10 mins, add chicken breasts. Allow to boil for 20 mins.
  5. Reduce to simmer and add corn. Cook for 5 mins more.
  6. Stir in tomato, cilantro, and lime juice
  7. Ladle into bowls. Top with chips, cheese, and avocado as desired. 
Keep on cookin'!
-Carly & Katherine

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