Winter is in full swing, cold temperatures are here to stay, and EVERYONE is sick. So… soup it is! I’ve been dying for Max and Erma’s Chicken Tortilla Soup (RIP Max and Erma’s *tear*). I went on the hunt for a copycat recipe with the best reviews and landed on this one from Food.com. Now, I will say that I’m using the term “recipe” loosely here because the canned soup game is strong in this one. I mean STRONG. This also means that you can uncheck the “healthy” box on this recipe. However, if you have a craving for Max and Erma’s Chicken Tortilla Soup, this one comes fairly close, so I’ll take it! If you plan on feeding this recipe to less than an army, I suggest halving the recipe because it makes enough to feed an entire neighborhood. I also skipped making my own tortilla strips because… ain’t nobody got time for that! If you’d like to make your own, go for it… I will be impressed by your dedication to this recipe!
2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
2 cans Cream of Celery Soup
2 cans Cheddar Cheese Soup
2 (15 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup picante salsa (Pace brand medium hot)
1 (4 1/2 ounce) can green chilies
1 medium onion, chopped
4 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper, to taste
1⁄4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
4 cooked chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
shredded Colby Jack cheese, for serving
In a large (8-10 quart) stockpot combine and whisk together until smooth all eight cans of soup.
Add chicken broth, tomatoes, salsa, green chiles, onion, garlic, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Bring all ingredients to a full boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour.
Add cilantro and chicken breast chunks. Simmer another hour.
Serve with tortilla strips, shredded cheese, and cilantro.
You guys… YOU GUYS! I haven’t blow dried or straightened my thick, wavy hair since our oldest child was 2… that was over 6 years ago. Why? My hair is THICK… like, thick thick. And wavy. Not a good combination. Sometimes it looks great air-dried with an oil (slight, loose curls) and other times it’s just like, “nope… you ain’t looking cute today without effort”. It takes 45 minutes (and sometimes longer) for me to blow dry it myself and when I do it’s a frizzy hot mess, which requires product, straightening, and a lot of crossed fingers and prayer to make it look somewhat decent. You know what? Ain’t nobody got time for that, so it’s usually a piled bun on top of my head as soon as I exit the shower, or air dry and hope it curls well (which it typically does, so I am thankful for that). If it doesn’t curl well, I add some loose waves and curls with my curling wand or straightener. If you want to see that technique and the products I use, I gotcha covered! Check it out here.
Enter the REVLON One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer Hot Air Brush. GAME. CHANGER. I’ve tried hot air brushes in the past and not one has met my expectations, so I was very skeptical on this one. Man… not only were my expectations met, but they were exceeded! The total style/dry time was around 30-45 minutes and it was sleek and perfect at the end. I think if I was going anywhere in public (thanks, COVID… I sit and rot at home even when I’m having a great hair day…) I would’ve run a flat iron through a few portions that I didn’t hit that well, but I was experimenting and going quickly, so overall, I’m definitely a fan! Here are some style tips and products I used for an (almost) effortless blow-out style:
To start, shampoo and condition your hair as you normally would. If you need suggestions on great products, check out some Verb products I reviewed here. Towel dry your hair to remove any excess moisture.
Apply a good heat protector or blow-out product. I’m a fan of John Frieda for protection/volume. I also love a flat-iron spray to help protect my hair and eliminate flyaways post-style. I recommend Garnier’s products for heat protection. Comb these products through your hair with a wide-tooth comb to evenly distribute product and remove any large tangles or knots prior to styling. Allow your hair to air dry approximately 30 -45 minutes if you have thick hair. The air dry time will depend on the thickness of your hair. Allow it to dry until it’s still damp and you’ll be able to style/blow dry it. Don’t allow it to dry too long, otherwise the blow-dry heat won’t style it if it’s dry.
Separate your hair into three sections if it’s very thick: bottom (style this first), middle, and top/crown. Clip the top two sections up and focus on small sections of the bottom layer of hair. If you want your hair to curl under, start with the REVLON brush under the roots of your hair, concentrating for 2-3 seconds to fully dry the roots while pulling tightly through your hair slowly to fully dry/straighten. Curl the brush out down to create an under curl on ends. Do the same for the following two layers.
If you prefer a flipped out style on the bottom, do the reverse and use the REVLON brush on top of the section of hair you’re drying/styling and curl the brush up to create a flipped style.
If you have very long hair and want the loose wave, blowout style, use the brush on the side of the hair and alternate flipping directions to create loose waves.
When you’ve completed your style, finish the look off with a small pump of Verb Ghost Oil. Pump a small amount onto your fingertips and run it through your hair to prevent flyaways or frizziness.