So every June all the staff who volunteer at the camp I run are required to complete a ridiculous amount of training hours. It's ridiculous not because it's especially excessive; it's ridiculous because 90% of the staff have been coming for years, and this means that, unlike most of the camp directors I know, I have to reinvent the wheel every single year rather than use the same curriculum, over and over, as they do. To fulfill these required hours, rather than make them show up for a three-hour course in the evening, once a week for twelve weeks, we take them all to a remote location (where they can't escape!) and get most of it done in one long weekend.
Now, I'm not complaining -- not really. These staff are amazing, and I'd rather have women staffing for me who have been coming to camp for over 20 years than a brand new batch of volunteers every single summer. But it does create quite a challenge, trying to repeatedly motivate and educate women who have spent most of their adult lives at this place. They expect, and deserve, something new, different and exciting every year.
The funny thing is that while they want new and different training material, they do NOT want new and different food. We've had the same volunteer cooks at our training weekend for a number of years, and the two of them do a phenomenal job of cooking for our loud and crazy group of 125 women. The one dish everyone asks for -- demands, really -- is their chicken enchilada soup.
I've lightened it here and adapted it a bit, only because that's the way our family eats. But anything that 125 women can agree upon must be worth a try, don't you think?
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced green bell peppers
1 T minced garlic
2 T vegetable oil
1 pound cooked chicken breasts, shredded
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 8-ounce jar salsa
1 14-ounce can kernel corn
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 16-ounce can red kidney beans
2 4-ounce cans tomato paste
4 cups chicken broth
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
Cilantro, shredded cheese, and tortilla chips, for garnish
- Saute onions, green bell peppers, and garlic in vegetable oil.
- Add chicken, taco seasoning mix, salsa, corn, rice, beans, tomato paste, and chicken broth. Adjust liquid to your liking.
- Bring to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Place cream cheese in a separate bowl. Using a measuring cup, take some of the hot liquid from the soup and pour over cream cheese to melt it, and then add back to the soup.
- Simmer on low for another 10 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips, cilantro, and grated cheese.