Cheating on Chili and I Owe You a Plank

So I owe you all a plank!  I didn’t forget about the plank challenge but I was so tired after Saturday’s race that I wanted to rest a day in order to give this 4 minute plank a fighting chance. 




My longest plank to date was 3:45 and it was brutally tough…everything hurt.  I knew there was no way I’d make it to 4 minutes with a tired body.  I wasn’t even sure if I could do it with a totally fresh body, but knew I needed to try.  So after dropping by aunt off at the airport this morning (so sad to see her go, but super excited to see her again in 3 weeks!), I came home for my last plank trial.




And…success!  Somehow, I just did a 4 minute plank. I think that day off of really helped!  And now I can call that my exercise for the day as I am off to get my full body massage and don’t plan on moving much after that : )


Yesterday, I tried to convince the BOY to go to the grocery store with me.  He was having none of it, and didn’t have much to add to this week’s meal planning.  When he headed off to the library, I took some time to flip through cookbooks, blogs, and my recipe binder to come up with some new ideas.  It’s no surprise that we make chili, like every fall weekend.  I was thinking it would be fun to try something different but just as warm and comforting.  I decided on Chicken Tortilla Soup, which is so thick and hearty it is a meal on its own.  This recipe had so many amazing spices that I knew it had to be awesome!




I have been having some chicken issues lately.  I spoiled myself all summer by buying my chicken at Costco.  I spent a little more than at the grocery, but the quality was well worth it.  Recently, I haven’t been making it to Costco as often.  I picked up chicken at a local grocery store last week for my Chicken Parmesan and the BOY and I both noticed a difference.  For today’s soup, I purchased an organic brand at a different supermarket.  I liked it, but it just doesn’t compare to Costco.  Does this happen to anyone else?




Luckily, the vegetables in this soup are so fresh and delicious that the chicken is just a compliment.  Another easy compliment is home made tortilla strips.  You can buy corn tortillas for about 30 cents, and they are the perfect final touch to your meal.




I had some issues with lighting last night, so I’m not sure that the photos will do this soup any justice.




The BOY made a 3 layer bowl, complete with cheese, sour cream, scallions, and topped with tortilla strips.  He was moving so quickly, it was tough to get a clean shot!


IMG_9536 IMG_9539

IMG_9540 IMG_9541


I poured myself a huge bowl for dinner to settle in and watch the Bear’s game.  In case you are concerned with my timing, we DVRed the noon game so the BOY could go to the library and watched it Sunday night.




It was a super exciting game, but nothing compared to this incredible soup!




I really enjoyed this recipe and wouldn’t change a thing EXCEPT, I might attempt to make it in the crockpot.  It would have been a little easier to shred up the chicken and taken less time in the kitchen.  I’m definitely adding Chicken Tortilla Soup into our weekend chili rotation.  This recipe earned a spot on the team!  Can you tell I’m in a good sporty mood after the Bear’s victory?!


Last week was so short (I worked a day and a half) so this week feels really long.  Here is a tentative plan for the week’s meals (although I stress the word tentative because I thin it’s already changed 3 times…ha ha!)


Sunday Night: Chicken Tortilla Soup (see recipe below)

For a similar vegetarian soup, I recommend this Taco Soup.


Monday Night: Coconut Shrimp


Tuesday Night: Leftovers


Wednesday Night: Chicken Marsala


Thursday Night: Pork Tenderloin


Friday Night: Surprise!  Which basically means it’s a game time decision : )



So I almost didn’t have room for last night’s dinner of Chicken Tortilla Soup because I totally chowed down on Maple Banana Bread.  This might be one of the tastiest versions of banana bread that I have made in awhile.  The maple syrup adds the perfect amount of sweetness and flavor and the texture is divine.  I highly recommend trying this recipe.  It will make for wonderful holiday gifts!  And this morning, I turned it into French toast.  All I can say is…Yum!







Chicken Tortilla Soup

From Bake Your Day



1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 1/2 tsp. cumin

1 1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. oregano

1/4 tsp. paprika

1 Tbs. olive oil, divided

1 large red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, diced

1 lime, juiced and zested

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (10-ounce) can green chiles

1 (14.5) ounce can diced tomatoes

1 cup fresh corn

1Tbs. tomato paste

32 ounces low-sodium chicken stock

Salt & pepper to taste



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, black pepper, kosher salt, oregano and paprika. Brush both sides of each chicken breast with a light coating of olive oil. Sprinkle a small amount of the spice mixture onto both sides of each chicken breast and transfer to a non-stick baking sheet. Roast the chicken in the oven for 20-25 minutes, turning once, until the chicken is cooked through. Allow the chicken to cool for about 10 minutes, and then shred.

While the chicken cooks, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven. Add the onion and garlic, along with a pinch of salt, and saute for 3-4 minutes until the onions are very fragrant and they begin to soften. Add the bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, lime juice and cilantro and stir well. Cook for another 3-4 minutes until the peppers begin to soften. Add the remaining spice mixture, black beans, green chiles, diced tomatoes and the corn and stir well. Cook for about 6 minutes until all of the vegetables are tender. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine.

Slowly stir in the chicken stock and add the cooked & shredded chicken and bring the soup to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt & pepper to taste.

24 thoughts on “Cheating on Chili and I Owe You a Plank

  1. Sometimes a day off is just so needed. You have to listen to your body. I find so many times that I know my body best and I have to listen to it or I pay the price. I’m not a fan of chicken, but I know there are some things at Costco that are just so much better than the stuff anywhere else.

  2. Holy plank!! I need to start doing timed planks..the longest I made it to was 3minutes I think..and that was a whileee ago. I prob couldn’t make it to 2 now! Awesome job! And yummooo chili!

    • Why thank you!
      I think that planking, like running, is totally mental…until it is that you collapse on the floor exhausted : ) I am looking for a new winter challenge to keep me moving when it gets cold. The plank challenge was fun!

    • No I haven’t seen but have to check it out. I was thinking I could film it but that I start wiggling around making funny faces and that 4 minutes of that might get boring…ha ha!

  3. You deserve a crown that says “Chili and Bread Queen” it amazes me how many delicious soup / chili / bread recipes your find and make! Nice work on the plank!!!

    • I think I will make that the title of my next post : ) I do whip up a quick bread almost every weekend and I love having chili in the house because it is healthy and the BOY will eat it. Most of the other soups that have kale etc, he won’t even touch!

  4. Way to plank! I did about a minute at yoga today and nearly didn’t make it 🙂

    RE: chicken… we’ve had Costco chicken once, but I always end up going back to the chicken from my local food co-op. It tastes so much more chicken-y and isn’t frozen.

    That soup looks amazing! I made turkey quinoa sweet potato soup last night… so excited for leftovers tonight!

  5. yummm your soup looks great. I would have made that hash into a salad I have no self control when things appear to be salsa 😉 a 4 minute plank is insane I’m trying to just get to a 2 minute one before the end of the month! good for you.

    • Good luck! I found that my backward countdown on my phone was a huge help. I set goals for each week and then set my phone to do them. Thanks for the comment. Hope you had a great holiday with your family!

  6. The soup and the banana bread both look great. All those lovely veggies and beans. Mmm… My meal plan today included veggie stir fry with a rice and grain medley, and I ended up with grilled cheese soup instead. What can I say, the best laid plans don’t always come to fruition.

  7. Your chicken tortilla soup looks awesome! I am so hankering for soup lately…yum! And I agree – Cosco rocks! We go to BJ’s because there is one right near us, but I do like Cosco better 🙂 Rock on with that plank! Impressive!

    • Thank you! My NY family loves BJ’s…they had that sore WAY before we had Costco and my family used to be so jealous. It really is soup season! Loved having the leftovers for lunch today!

  8. Wow! A 4 minute plank sounds..miserable! Good job! I completely agree about Costco chicken. We’ve tried other stores, but it really is good coming from Costco.

    • So happy to hear that I’m not the only one. I never thought much of it but I feel that if I’m going to eat meat, I want it to be higher quality for sure! Miserable is the perfect works…so funny!

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