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Fideo - Mexican Spaghetti

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup finely diced carrots (2 medium carrots)
1/3 cup finely diced yellow onion (1/2 of a small onion)
1/4 cup finely diced green onions (2 green onions)
1 teaspoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
1 can (10.5 oz) diced tomatoes with green chiles (Rotel)
2 teaspoons chicken boullion
1 and 1/2 teaspoons EACH: ground cumin and ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
1/4 cup finely diced cilantro
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
4 tablespoons olive oil, separated
1 pound (16 ounces) angel hair pasta
2 containers (32 ounces EACH) chicken broth, separated

Toppings (not optional; these MAKE the dish!)
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts OR flat iron steak (Note 1)
finely shredded Monterey Jack AND Cheddar Cheese
Tortilla Strips
Sour cream (fat free works great)
Chopped cherry tomatoes OR pico de gallo
Cotija Cheese
Additional limes and cilantro, optional


INSTRUCTIONS

1. Begin by preparing all of the ingredients: peel and finely dice the carrots, finely dice the yellow & green onions, mince the garlic, and open the can of diced tomatoes. Measure out all the seasonings into a bowl: the chicken bouillon, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon cracked pepper (hold off on the salt for now).
Dice the cilantro and juice the lime. Now we're ready to start!  

2. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large pot that has a lid. Place over medium heat. Add the carrot and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add in both onions and garlic and cook until the veggies are fork tender. Next, add in all of the spices. Toast the spices for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Stir constantly (or reduce heat as needed) to not burn the spices. Remove the veggie/spice mixture back to that bowl you measured your spices in and set aside.

3. Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to pot. Reduce heat to medium low. Break the angel hair pasta exactly in half and add to pot. Cook the dry noodles while constantly stirring for 3-5 minutes. I use tongs to flip/stir the noodles since they're still quite large. Cook until the noodles have turned golden brown and are slightly blistered. Turn off the heat. Add in the entire can of diced tomatoes (don't drain), cilantro, lime juice, set-aside veggies and spices from step 1, and 6 cups of chicken broth. Stir. Turn heat on to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to a rapid simmer. Cook until the noodles are soft and have soaked up most of the broth. Remove from the heat. Stir in the remaining 2 cups of chicken broth and it's ready to serve!

4. While the noodles are cooking, prepare the toppings. Finely shred monterey and cheddar cheese. Set out tortilla strips and sour cream. Chop some cherry tomatoes OR make a quick pico. Set out additional lime wedges and/or cilantro. Prepare the steak or chicken topping - see the last two paragraphs in the post for directions.

5. Assemble by serving up the pasta and broth into large bowls. Add your favorites in this order: monterey and cheddar first, steak or chicken next, sour cream, tomatoes/pico, cilantro, lots of tortilla strips, cotija, and a few squeezes of fresh lime. Enjoy!

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