Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Quick & Easy Tortilla Soup

I'm a menu planner. Every other week I spend time and plan out my meals from breakfast thru evening snack every day for two weeks. Within that plan I know how to schedule myself--from pre-soaking beans and defrosting meat to prepping vegetables and photographing finished dishes to share with you. It's a time investment, and not everyone wants to be quite that regimented, but it helps me to minimize food waste and maximize my grocery budget.

But sometimes things go awry.

Yesterday, for example, turned out to be a busy day. I had lots of errands to run and got a little side-tracked. My food prep plans fell by the wayside and as I picked up Mr.W from work, I realized I didn't know what I was going to feed him.

Pantry items to the rescue!

I threw together this tortilla soup and we were both delighted with the result. It was good--really good--and came together in about 30 minutes. Most tortilla soup recipes will have a list of garnish options--avocado slices, cheese, sour cream and crispy tortilla chips. Those things I'll leave to your tastes. We just ate this soup as-is.

Tortilla Soup
serves 4
6 cups chicken broth
1 small onion, chopped fine

1 carrot, peeled and chopped fine

1 4-inch piece celery (I used frozen and left it whole--we don't care for cooked celery, but if you don't mind it you can chop this up and leave it in)
Pinch each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 5-inch corn tortillas, cut up
1 cup diced cooked chicken

1/2 cup frozen corn niblets

1 cup cilantro-lime salsa (I make my own by combining canned (drained & diced) plum tomatoes with cilantro, chopped jalapeno or ground cayenne pepper for heat, salt and lime juice to taste)

Combine broth, onion, carrot and celery in a 4-quart saucepan; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, or until onions are soft. Remove celery if desired.

Season broth with salt and pepper to taste; add parsley, red pepper flakes and corn tortilla pieces. Continue to simmer, occasionally stirring gently to break up tortilla pieces. This takes about 2 or 3 minutes only for the tortillas to melt.

Add remaining ingredients and heat through--about 10 minutes more. Serve hot.

Note for diabetics: Cilantro naturally regulates blood sugar, so it should be part of your diet!

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