October. It’s the month my students look forward to from the start of the school year. It’s the first month when there are “fun things” happening – Thanksgiving long weekend and, of course, Hallowe’en (the subject of this month’s Kraft Canada #whatscooking assignment). Growing up in Australia, we didn’t celebrate Hallowe’en and when I lived in France, it was still to be a “thing” so when I moved to Canada 15 years ago, working in the elementary school system it was like a baptism by fire – working with kids you simply cannot ignore Hallowe’en! My students start thinking about their costumes weeks before the big day and I do love that, as a French teacher, I have an authentic context to teach my students meaningful vocabulary (i.e. their costumes and the candy they prefer – this is the vocabulary they will remember!).
Hallowe’en day at school can be a bit of a write-off (i.e. I don’t ever plan on getting much done with the boys) and I’ll admit I’m pleased the day falls on a Saturday this year (though I am guessing we’ll make up for it on the Friday). My absolute favourite part of the day is handing out candy on our front porch. Our neighbourhood has a huge population of trick or treating-aged kids and it’s always fun to see the costumes each year. My first few years “doing Hallowe’en” in Canada, we stayed in the house, waiting for the doorbell to ring and we would hand out candy from there. After a few years of that, one particularly warm year, we headed out to our front porch which is where you can now find us every year, along with a few friends who live in condos where they don’t get any trick or treaters. And so was born, our Hallowe’en Porch Party!
Of course, alongside stocking up on candy, there is the matter of dinner. This, for me, is just as important as getting the candy quantities right – when Hallowe’en falls on a weeknight, I rarely make it home before 5pm and by then the younger kids have already started trick or treating – there’s no time to prep dinner. I always try to find a hearty, warming dish that I can prepare in advance – one that’s easy to reheat and serve in between trick or treaters. Browsing the Hallowe’en party recipes over on Kraft Canada, I came across this hearty Mexican chicken soup and thought it was a perfect chilly Hallowe’en night dish – light and fresh but warming at the same time. To make it a bit interactive, you can bring the garnishes to the table/ porch and allow people to add what they like. DIY tortilla soup!
Chicken tortilla soup
Easy chicken tortilla soup.
- 1 medium onion, chopped,
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- juice from 1 lime
- 4 green onions
- 1 cup salsa
- 750mls chicken stock
- juice from 1 lime
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken or poached chicken
- Cracker Barrel cheese, grated
- green onions, chopped
- avocado cubes
- crushed tortilla chips (unsalted, plain)
- pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- lime wedges
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Sauté the onion and garlic for 5-6 minutes until the onion is soft but not coloured.
- Add the cumin, lime juice, green onions and salsa and stir to combine well.
- Pour in the stock and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Add the corn, reduce the heat to medium and cook for a couple of minutes until corn is just tender.
- Add the cilantro and chicken and cook for 1-2 minutes just to heat through.
- Serve with garnishes (cheese, green onions, avocado cubes, crushed tortilla chips, pepitas, lime wedges)
Verdict? This is a beautiful fresh-tasting soup that’s hearty enough for chilly October evenings but which doesn’t leave you feeling weighed down. The fresh ingredients and garnishes offer a variety of textures and flavours which work beautifully together. Plus, it’s a burst of colour on a dark Fall evening. Perfect!
Disclosure: As a Kraft Canada #whatscooking contributor, I receive compensation for writing these posts, however, all opinions are 100% my own.