January 29, 2016
I don’t follow sports. If Bob is watching a football game on TV, I huddle in another room with a book. I don’t know what channel ESPN is on; I don’t read the sports section of the paper; and I turn off the local news before the sportscast begins. So, why am I stocking the fridge with Budweiser, which we don’t even like? Because I’ve decided this is the year I will watch an entire Super Bowl game with Bob! Some of you may be thinking, “Whoa there, Sporty Lady, that’s a whole lotta football for someone who has never watched an entire Super Bowl game before.” True.
Sure, I’ve endured my share of Super Bowl parties, hanging around the bean dip and Fritos with a few other bored people. Of course, I’ve watched plenty of the commercials and half-time performances, but soon enough the game is back in action and I’m done. So, why am I doing this? Because I want to understand why everyone is so wacko about this annual ritual. And … I want to yell Omaha!! with Peyton Manning. And I want my husband to think I’m really really fun. Therefore, I will become a sports fanatic for one day! I deem February 7 to be the day I tackle football as my favorite gladiator sport. Let the feats of strength begin! Dem bones, dem bones—crush ’em, I say! O-MA-HA!!
Here’s my plan. On the morning of the game, I will eat a big bowl of Wheaties, the breakfast of champions, and if that doesn’t dial up my intensity to “raging”, I’ll try to find an old Prednisone tablet to gnaw on. Hopefully, the fortified wheat flakes and a dose of ‘roids will whip me into a frenzy that can be maintained for at least four hours. O-MA-HA!! I have not decided what team I’ll cheer for. As a newbie fanatic, I have no idea what team is most deserving of my adulation. (Note to self: Ask Bob who “we” are “for”.)
Next, I will go to iTunes and create a game-day playlist with lots of Sousa marches and drum-pounding cadences. I know, I know … marching bands are no longer part of the Super Bowl (I just read that on Wikipedia); but I need those primal beats to help pump the adrenaline through my veins. (I believe that one should have a playlist for every aspect of one’s life—but that’s another post for another day.)
And what’s on the Super supper menu in the man cave (aka, family room)? Well, I happen to have … ahem … the perfect game-day soup! We love it! O-MA-HA!! My friend Bev Riess, who is a wonderful cook and the creator of this healthy, hearty soup, served it to a gathering of friends last fall. It was so delicious that we all asked for seconds! Bev calls it Chicken Tortilla Soup; however, I received her okay to rename it Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Soup because it transcends the typical tortilla soup. Bev’s original recipe makes enough for a crowd, but I reduced the quantities (with Bev’s approval), and it still serves 12 people. Also, I have added a few “Tracy’s Tweaks.” Thank you Bev, for sharing this soul-satisfying recipe!
Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Soup
Bev Riess's Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Soup
- 1 9-ounce package Shore Lunch Tortilla Soup Mix (*See note below.)
- 3 cups cooked cubed chicken
- 1 cup frozen chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons dried minced onion (Tracy’s Tweak)
- 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 10-ounce can Rotel Original (or Mild, if preferred) Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies
- 1 15-ounce can petite-diced tomatoes (Tracy’s Tweak)
- 2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups frozen baby corn (Green Giant)
- 1 32-ounce carton chicken stock or broth
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar (Tracy’s Tweak)
- 1 14-ounce can chicken broth (or more)
- Toppings: crushed tortilla chips, sour cream, guacamole or sliced avocado, shredded Monterey Jack cheese
(*Tracy says: I don’t care for the dried corn in the soup mix, so at the risk of exposing my eccentricities, I admit that I do pick out all of the corn and throw it away before I place the soup mix in the crockpot. Shore Lunch Tortilla Soup Mix can be found at Wal-Mart and some Hy-Vee stores.)
Add all ingredients to a 4-quart (or larger) crockpot, except for the small can of chicken broth and the topping ingredients. Cook on low 7 to 8 hours. Stir in the can of chicken broth (or more if needed) during the last hour of cooking. Serve with the selection of toppings. The soup is just as delicious after being frozen and reheated. A great make-ahead recipe.
Recipe from http://www.messycookblog.com
The first two recipes I have posted (January 15 and 29) require a crockpot, which is surprising since I rarely use one. (I had to rummage around in my basement to find it.) Both recipes are delicious. It’s a good reminder that a slow cooker is a useful piece of equipment that can help build the flavors of many recipes and deserves its place in the kitchen.
Speaking of marches and cadences reminds me of a funny story told by my coworker Tom several years ago. He and his fellow high school marching band members were in formation, stepping with pride and precision through his town’s main street during the homecoming parade. Drummers were drumming, baton twirlers were twirling, trumpets were trumpeting when suddenly the town’s tornado siren pierced the air. The band degenerated into a formless mass of arms and legs as everyone ran for their lives. Bass drums were rolling into clowns on bicycles; tubas were knocking down spectators; cymbals were crashing into queen candidates on convertibles; drumsticks and sheet music were raining down on seed-corn caps, cowboy hats, and fuzzy band helmets. And Tom was screaming, “shards of glass,” fearing that store windows would be blown out.
The chaos lasted only a few minutes. Fortunately, there was only minor damage—mostly caused by the stampeding band—since there never was a tornado. We should pause here to acknowledge the brilliance of Austrian physicist Christian Doppler for articulating a principle in 1842 regarding the wave nature of sound, which became the foundation of our modern-day tornado early warning system. Today’s National Weather Service can detect when tornadoes are forming and thus issue more reliable warnings. Isn’t it a comfort to know that today when you’re standing along a parade route you’re fairly safe from fear-crazed marching bands trampling you? (I would be fine if they mowed down the clowns, though.)
I am sending out a “virtual high five” to my fellow football fanatics! The good times are gonna roll on February 7! (Relax. I’m not doing the Omaha thing anymore. Yeah, that got old fast.) Thank you for stopping by. My next post will be on February 12.-–Tracy Mullen