Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is a Saturday soup favorite in our home and my favorite way to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey! The day after the heavy traditional turkey dinner, I crave spice and this hits the spot. I throw it together in the crockpot Friday morning and it’s ready whenever our football watchers and black Friday shoppers decide they are hungry for lunch. I love this soup with all the toppings, so grab your favorites to dress it up as desired. Serve it with chips and salsa, sandwiches, and leftover pie for the perfect lunch to serve your holiday guests. HLLF- Melissa


Chicken Tortilla Soup


1 pound cooked shredded chicken breasts or meat from one rotisserie chicken

1 can black beans

1 can corn

32 ounces chicken broth

16 ounces salsa (fresh or in a jar)

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp Chili Powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Desired toppings such as... 


Shredded cheese

Sour cream 

Tortilla strips





In a crockpot, add shredded chicken, black beans, corn, chicken broth, salsa, and spices. Stir and cover. Place on high for about an hour and then turn to low for an additional 2-4 hours. Ladle into bowls and top with desired toppings. Enjoy!

Caramel Apple Candy Dip

Caramel Apple dipOne thing I love about the changing of the seasons is the different recipes that follow suit.  Every year we tend to make the same things in the fall, sort of food traditions, that make the season that much better.  One of our fall favorites is Caramel Apple Dip! It’s a great appetizer for a get-together or just a fun late day snack. In any case, I think you’ll love it!  Maybe, it will even be a fall food tradition in your home. CARAMEL APPLE CANDY DIP 8 ounces Whipped cream cheese 1 container (7 ounces) Kraft Marshmallow cream 1 container (16 ounces) caramel dip Candy bar toppings such as Recess Peanut Buttercup, snickers, or health bar. (I usually use 6-8 Recess Peanut Buttercups.) Apples DIRECTIONS In a medium-sized bowl with a hand mixer, beat the whipped cream cheese and marshmallow cream until smooth and set aside. Using a spatula, spread the Carmel sauce onto a serving plate or dish. I usually use an 8 x 12 deep rectangle serving plate. Using a clean spatula, dollop the whipped cream cheese and marshmallow cream mixture onto the caramel and gently smooth over the top, being careful not to mix into the caramel sauce. Choose your favorite candy bar and chop them into small pieces and sprinkle on top. My husband is a huge Reese’s Peanut Buttercup fan, but snickers, toffee candy, or candied pecans are also perfect for this dish! Serve with sliced apples or ginger cookies such as Trader Joe's ginger crisps. Enjoy!

Oven Baked Barbecue Ribs

There is something so awesome about slow-cooked ribs that fall right off of the bone! The good news is you don’t have a smoker or fancy grill to make fantastic barbecue. My sister-in-law first introduced me to cooking racks of ribs in the oven, and it’s been a go-to for me ever since. It’s an easy main dish to make when you have guests over or simply throw it in for a family dinner. I usually serve it with BBQ friendly foods such as hash brown casserole, baked beans, corn on the cob or my Orzo Pasta Salad. I use the best ribs I can find which are usually fresh (not previously frozen) extra meaty pork loin back ribs. Grab your favorite barbecue sauce, lots of paper towels, and give these ribs a try!  



2 Racks of Extra Meaty Pork Loin Back Ribs

Barbecue Dry Rub seasoning such as Famous Daves or Stubbs. Or you can make your own rub (See Below).

A full bottle of Your favorite BBQ sauce. (I like Stubbs BBQ. But I always try something different! Sometimes I will make each rack a different flavor of BBQ sauce. Maybe one spicy and one smoky. It’s fun to try different flavors!)

Liquid Smoke (optional) 


Homemade Dry Rub

1/4 c. packed brown sugar

1 tbsp. garlic powder 

1 tbsp. onion powder

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp. paprika

1 tsp. ground mustard

1 tsp. cayenne

1 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp. Salt

2 tsp. cumin



Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Lay two long sheets of foil on the counter and place one rack of ribs on each sheet. Season each rack with a generous amount of dry rub seasoning. Bring foil together to seal in each rack completely. It should look like two big foil packets. Place on a roasting rack in a roasting pan and place in oven. Bake ribs for 2 hours.  

After two hours, open foil packets and sprinkle on liquid smoke if desired. Generously pour on barbecue sauce and coat ribs using a basting brush or spoon. Place ribs back in the oven, leaving foil packets open. Cook for one more hour and serve.   (With lots of paper towels!) 🙂