Meals and recipes right out of the pages of books

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A meal from THE KISS COLLECTOR by Wendy Higgins

“Homemade churros from Monica—her mom knows they’re my fave. […]… the four of us getting cinnamon and sugar everywhere as we rated the images on my walls. […] I see Mom pulling out all the ingredients for taco soup, my favorite, and my stomach sours with guilt. […] I half-heartedly sip the Capri Sun Mom packed with my elementary school–worthy lunch.”


Zae’s Mom’s Taco Soup (Zae’s fave #1)

In a large pot, sautée tortillas strips (5 soft corn tortillas cut into thin strips) with vegetable oil (about 2 tbsp) until crisp (like chips) (about 2 minutes). Remove from pan and place on paper towels. Set aside.

Sautée 1 onion (coarsely chopped small), garlic (6 cloves, crushed), and spices (1 tbsp paprika, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp chili powder, 2 tsp ground cumin) on medium heat while stirring for 3 minutes.

Add 48oz of chicken broth, crushed tomatoes (one 28oz can), 2 tsp salt, 4 soft corn tortillas (coarsely chopped). Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered for 30 minutes. When done, purée the soup with a hand mixer or a blender (so the soup is smooth).

Meanwhile, sautée 4 chicken breasts (boneless and skinless and cut in small cubes) in a separate pan in 1 tbsp vegetable oil until fully cooked and lightly golden. Add chicken to soup. Add 1 tsp of pepper. Mix well. To serve, pour soup in bowl, top with fried tortilla strips, cubed avocado (1/4 avocado per each serving), shredded cheddar cheese, and fresh cilantro.

Monica’s Mom’s Churros (Zae’s fave #2)

In a medium saucepan, place 1 cup of milk, 6 tbsp butter, 1 tsp salt. Cook over medium heat until it boils. When it boils, add 1 cup of flour to the pan. Cook while stirring until mixture forms a ball and detaches from pan (about 1 minute). Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Then add 3 eggs to the mixture and stir until the dough is shiny and smooth. Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a large tip.


Heat vegetable oil in a thick saucepan (the oil should be 2-3 inches deep) on medium heat (oil should reach 330 degrees). Squeeze out batter gently above oil, cutting every 3 to 5-inch-length. Fry 4-6 churros at a time (they should not touch). Fry until golden brown (you will need to turn each once). Place on plate lined with paper towels. Then, roll in cinnamon sugar (cinnamon sugar = 1 tbsp sugar + ½ cup sugar). 

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