Southwestern Turkey and Vegetable Soup

The last two weeks have been pretty crazy between studying for an exam and working on a project. Luckily I made it through all that work and gave myself a break this weekend. I also caught up on some much-needed house cleaning, and while I was cleaning I thawed the last bit of Thanksgiving turkey--the two legs--and shredded them to use in meals this week. I also made some turkey broth from my Thanksgiving turkey bones that I had stashed away in the freezer. I always save bones from my roasted chickens and turkeys, and when I build up enough gallon-sized bags of bones in the freezer I make a lot of broth at once. To make the broth, I don't really use a recipe. I just fill up the stock pot with bones until it is full, then cover them with water and simmer for an hour and a half. I also season the broth with celery, onions, carrots, thyme, sage, garlic, pepper, and bay leaves. I don't add salt because if I choose to reduce the broth in a sauce later, the sauce may become too salty. In my opinion, homemade broth is much better than store-bought in flavor and texture. While the bones simmer in the water, the connective tissue denatures into gelatin, which yields a richer, silkier texture.

Because I've been so busy the last couple of weeks, I have been relying on my crockpot slow cooker a lot. Preparing a meal in the crockpot is so easy and it's such a gift you give yourself because you can come home and your meal is ready. Of course, that is assuming you turn the crockpot on...last week I made some chicken and I turned the machine on, but didn't plug it in, so I came home to cold, raw chicken. I knew something was wrong when I came in and the aroma of cooking chicken didn't come to me. It was so disappointing. Luckily I had some ground buffalo in the freezer so I made some burgers (no bun) and piled them with lettuce, tomato, and avocado, which made a good meal despite my setback.

I used my homemade broth and the shredded meat in a soup this week. It's a good thing I had some foresight in preparing this soup to eat for several meals because I have been working really hard the last few days on a scholarship application. I wanted to do something different so I gave the soup a southwestern flair with spices and salsa, plus vegetables. This is a high-protein, low carbohydrate soup. I found it to be perfect after my workout. It's nice to garnish the soup with more salsa and some cubed avocado.

Southwestern Turkey and Vegetable Soup
Printable Recipe

2 cups shredded cooked turkey
5 cups turkey (or chicken) broth-low sodium
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup prepared tomato salsa
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in your crockpot slow cooker.
2. Cook for 6-8 hrs on high or 8-10 hrs on low.

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