Soup, glorious soup!

Today we are enduring "winter blast 2" according to our local weather man, and while the forecast held the promise of a snow shower, it was only a tease. All we have, after about 10-15 minutes of beautiful white flakes is hours of gray, overcast skies and liquid precipitation. What is called for on such a day is soup, and I don't mean the soup you open with a can opener (although that can sometimes provide the base of a nice meal). Tonight I came home and made one of my family's favorite soups. Honestly, I think this originally came from a recipe I saw, but I have played with it so much I claim it as my own. It is the perfect soup for a cold rainy night, and almost everyone likes it. There is also lots of room to take my recipe your own. So go ahead and play with food and make your own chicken chipotle soup!

Make-Your-Own Chipotle Chicken Soup

(if you want a smaller amount for about 4 people use the smaller amounts, but believe me, you will want a lot!)

2-3 quarts of chicken or turkey stock (I use my frozen stock I made from my Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys, but boxed or canned is fine, too )

1 chopped chipotle chili in adobo sauce (more if you like it spicy)

5-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (you could use breasts (chicken, that is) if you prefer)

1 small bunch chopped scallions

1 small bunch baby spinach cut in shreds (or you can use watercress or cilantro, instead)
1-2 avocados cut into chunks
2 cups cooked bean thread noodles (or whatever light noodles you prefer)

2 cups monterey jack cheese cut into chunks (or any other type of mild white cheese)

lime wedges

Bring stock to a boil, adding chipotle chili, and salt to taste as necessary and add chicken thighs and cook until meat is done (about 15 minutes). Remove thighs from broth, turn broth down to simmer and add noodles until cooked. Remove noodles from broth and toss with a splash of sesame oil. Set aside. Cut chicken into chunks and set aside in a bowl. Place scallions, avocado, cheese, limes, spinach into bowls.

To serve: Have each person put what they want in the bowl, then pour hot broth over top and enjoy. Squeeze lime juice over. Guaranteed to warm you to the core !

Note: Be flexible with this soup. If you like broth spicier, add more chipotle chili. I have used monterey jack, queso blanco, mozzarella... whatever cheese you have. Once in a pinch I used cut up string cheese, and it was still good. Spinach, watercress or cilantro will work for the greens, and I have used several types of bean or rice thread noodles, and while it changes the look, the soup will be great.