The Meal Planner

This Southwestern-style soup will have you slurping and asking for more. It's a great use for the leftover bones of a chicken...especially the Spice-Rubbed Beer Can Chicken. Creating a broth from the grilled and spicy chicken really extracts all the smoky flavors, which plays off so well with the cumin and chili powder, with little pops of sweet corn in each bite.

Serves 4

1 chicken carcass (the leftover Spice-Rubbed Beer Can Chicken carcass is awesome in this soup)
4 cups water

1 tbsp butter
2 carrots, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
1/4 cup salsa
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp - 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup leftover chicken, cut into bits (or whatever you have left. If you have none that's okay too)
1/2 can black beans, rinsed
1/2 cup frozen corn
Salt & pepper

2 cups whole wheat rotini

Cover chicken carcass in water, put a lid on and simmer on low for about 3-4 hours. Let cool.

Pick any chicken meat off the bones and set aside. Strain the stock of all the bones and bits left in the bottom.

In a medium saucepan add butter and turn to medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms and onions and saute for a couple minutes until starting to get soft. Add the garlic and saute another minute or so. You want to add the garlic near the end so that it doesn't burn. Burned garlic is very bitter. Pour your chicken stock over the vegetables and add the salsa, cumin, chili powder, thyme, red pepper flakes, leftover chicken and black beans. Turn heat down to medium-low and let simmer for at least an hour to let the flavors meld. 15 minutes before you are about to eat, put a medium pot of salted water on to boil. Add about 2 cups of rotini and prepare to package directions. I like to keep my pasta separate from the soup so that the pasta stays fresh and firm. If you add the pasta right to the soup, your leftover soup will have no liquid and the pasta will be soggy and mushy. Add the frozen corn and stir through the soup. Now is the time to season your soup with salt and pepper. I use kosher salt and I seasoned quite liberally to make it pop with flavor. I used probably 1/2 - 1 tsp kosher, but regular iodized salt is more "salty". Just keep seasoning and tasting until you've got it right.

To serve, place pasta into each bowl and ladle soup over top.

Click here for printable version of Tex Mex Chicken & Rotini Soup


The slurpability of this soup was out of this world. I couldn't stop eating it! My head swelled with each bite as I exclaimed "I made a freakin' good soup. Like...from scratch. And it's freakin' awesome." I probably used freakin' 53 more times throughout dinner. It just amazes me that something as simple as a chicken carcass, that is usually just tossed into the trash, can produce a soup as tempting as this.

For more inexpensive meal ideas, check out $5 Dinner Challenge.
For other recipes, visit Gayle's Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap

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4 Responses
  1. This really looks delicious. It's perfect for a family. It costs pennies and is easy to prepare. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Yumm looks great!

  3. Oh good! Another great soup recipe to add to my collection! I'm always on the look out for soup recipes - they are wonderful to make along with a loaf of homemade artisan bread.
    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Oooh homemade artisan bread would be fabulous with this soup! I'm a cornbread muffin or biscuit girl myself (but only because homemade bread scares me slightly :) )