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Welcome Crisp Fall Days with Hearty Comfort Dishes

Cooking on the Ranch with Highlands Ranch Chef and Food Blogger Lea Ann Brown

Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 40 mins 


3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large sweet onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, diced

2 pounds chicken breasts boneless, skinless

2 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon ground cumin

15 ounce can chopped tomatoes, undrained

10-ounce-can Rotel Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chile, undrained

15-ounce-can cream corned

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

1/2 teaspoon Chimayo chile powder

1 teaspoon chili seasoning

3-4 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled and chopped

Corn chips, sour cream, diced avocado, cilantro for garnish

salt/pepper to taste


Rotate the central dial of the Instant Pot to "saute" function. When it feels like it's getting hot, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and the chopped poblano peppers. If you're using roasted poblano, wait and add those later with the rest of the ingredients.

Saute until onions are starting to become translucent and peppers are fragrant. Add chopped garlic and heat until fragrant.

Hit the cancel button on the Instant Pot to stop cooking.

Add remaining ingredients except for garnishes. Lay the chicken on top of the mixture.

Put the lid on the Instant Pot. Make sure the steam release valve is set to seal. Rotate the central dial to the "pressure cook" option and press to set. Rotate the central dial again to access the time setting. Set to cook on high pressure for 20 minutes, quick or natural release.

When the pressure has released and you're able to remove the lid to the Instant Pot, remove the chicken to a cutting board. With two forks, quickly shred the chicken. Add the chicken back into the soup mixture, give it a good stir and serve.

Ladle soup into soup bowls, top with hand-crushed corn chips, a dollop of sour cream and diced avocado and sprinkle with cilantro.

Pass diced avocado, tortilla chips, cilantro and sour cream for garnish.


This soup will thicken as it sits. Just add more broth when reheating for leftovers. The sour cream is not optional. The creamed corn and the combo of stirring in that big dollop of sour cream give this soup it's creamy nature.

Toasted Pueblo Chile Chicken Sandwich

Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 10 mins Servings: Servings: 4


8 slices sturdy rustic bread or hoagie buns

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon red chile powder—Pueblo, Ancho or New Mexico

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 green onions, chopped

4 Pueblo chile peppers roasted, peeled, seeded and veins removed

6 ounces Muenster cheese, or enchilada or Pepper Jack


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. In a hot skillet stovetop, place each slice of bread in a large frypan (or griddle) and toast each slice on the buttered side. Set aside.

In the same skillet, spray the pan with cooking spray over medium heat. Add the shredded chicken, sprinkle with all the spices and stir until warm all over.

Divide the shredded chicken among the four slices of toasted bread. Top each chicken sandwich with a roasted chile and a quarter of the cheese.

Place the four remaining slices of bread, toasted side up, on top and bake 5-10 minutes or until hot and cheese is melted. Serve hot.


You can use shredded chicken meat from a rotisserie chicken, or simply bake a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and shred the meat. Then proceed with building this sandwich.

Black Bean Chipotle Bison Chili with Lime Crema

Servings: Servings: 12


2 pounds ground bison

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, optional

Salt and pepper

3 cups chopped onions (about 2 medium onions)

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/4 cup chili powder

32 ounces beef broth

28 ounces fire-roasted chopped tomatoes canned, undrained

1/2 cup stout or dark beer

4 canned chipotle chiles veins and seeds removed, chopped

3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal

30 ounces black beans, canned, rinsed and drained

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 cup sour cream

1 lime zested and juiced

Avocado, chopped for garnish

Cilantro, chopped for garnish

Green onion, sliced for garnish


Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat. If your ground meat is very lean, add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the pot before adding the ground meat. Season with a little salt and pepper and cook until meat is almost browned, using a spoon to break up meat.

Add onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, broth, tomatoes, beer and chiles. Bring to a boil, reduce to low, cover partially, and cook until very thick, about 1-2 hours.

Then stir in cornmeal and add black beans. Let simmer together for 10 minutes before serving. Combine sour cream with lime zest and juice of one lime and serve chili in bowls with a spoonful of lime cream on top.

To serve, ladle a large dollop of Lime Crema on top of the chili. Garnish with chopped cilantro, chopped avocado and sliced green onion.

Saucy Chicken Soft Tacos


3 medium chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

1 1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup onion, diced

15 ounces tomato sauce

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon New Mexico Chile Powder

2 cups Romaine lettuce, chopped

1 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

5 radishes, sliced

1 Avocado, chopped

Soft white or yellow corn tortillas


Coat chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with taco seasoning and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes, or until done.

When chicken is cool enough, shred chicken with a fork. In a saucepan, cook onions in remaining olive oil until tender. Add chicken and tomato sauce and remaining seasonings and simmer on medium low, covered for 15 minutes.

Warm tortillas. To build tacos, scoop a spoonful of chicken into each tortilla. Add lettuce, cheese, olives and then avocado.

  • Photo by Elle Photography. Lea Ann Brown has lived in Highlands Ranch for 30 years. She is a chef, recipe developer, and publisher of