1pound (~2 large)boneless skinless chicken breasts or 4-6 thighs
1/2cupthinly sliced carrots
1/2cupsliced celery2 stalks
1/3cupdiced yellow onion
3/4cupquinoaI use garlic infused packet
1/2cuporange juiceor extra broth
1candiced tomatoes with green chiles
1can (6 ounces)tomato paste
5cupschicken broth or stock
Seasoned salt and pepper
1teaspoonchicken seasoning blend or 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
Salt and pepper
Toppings: low-fat sour cream, fresh cilantro, fresh lime wedges or lime juice
Trim the fat off the chicken breasts or thighs. If using breasts, cut each breast into 3 large even pieces.
Place the chicken breasts or thighs in the bottom of a large crockpot. I use a 6 quart crockpot.
Add in the drained and rinsed pinto beans, drained corn, thinly sliced carrots, sliced celery, diced onion, quinoa (rinse if not pre-rinsed to remove the bitter saponin coating), orange juice (or extra broth), undrained can of diced tomatoes with green chiles (such as Ro-Tel), tomato paste, minced garlic, and chicken broth or stock.
Add about 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (or to taste) and 1 teaspoon pepper (or to taste), bay leaves, chicken seasoning blend, cajun seasoning, oregano, ground cumin, and paprika.
Stir and then cover and cook on high for 3-5 hours or until the chicken easily shreds and the quinoa has "popped." My crockpot takes about 3 hours. The longer it cooks, the more liquid the quinoa absorbs which is why I don't recommend cooking on low unless you are fine with a stew :)
Remove the chicken and shred. Return to the crockpot.
Remove the bay leaves and then enjoy the soup topped with optional toppings such as fresh cilantro, fresh lime, sour cream (we use low fat), and additional cajun seasoning, salt, pepper.
For a "brothier" soup just add a few extra cups of chicken broth to desired preference! *I use McCormick cajun seasoning which tends to be a bit more mild than others. Scale up or down to personal preference.