SLOW-COOKER BLACK-BEAN AND LIME CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

Tortilla soup in all its various get ups is among my favorites, and this recipe is right up there with others that have found their way into a bowl with my name on it. In this instance, it’s the lime that stands out. In fact, next time I think I’ll add a wedge to the bowl rim for those who want to give it more punch. Sorry, no leftovers…

4 cups chicken broth

juice of one lime

2 tbsp taco seasoning

2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp dried cilantro (or 1 tbsp fresh minced)

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1-1/2 cups diced onion

1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1-15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1-15 oz can diced tomatoes, not drained

1/2 cup instant white rice

1-1/2 lbs chicken tenderloins, diced

Recommended toppings: sour cream, grated Monterey Jack cheese, diced avocado, broken tortilla chips

1) Turn slow cooker on low heat and add all ingredients (excepting toppings, of course); stir to combine, cover, and cook 6-8 hours

2) To serve, ladle into bowls and, to make it extra special, pile on those toppings

Now wasn’t that easy?

Serves: 6-8

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MEXICAN TORTILLA SOUP: THE BEEF EDITION

This time I made this family favorite with ground beef rather than chicken or no meat at all, and it was every bit as tasty. Actually, Senior thought it was the best ever, and I was happy happy–until he likened it to goulash. Goulash? Really? Regardless, here’s another easy, mouth-pleasing, time-friendly recipe:

Mexican Tortilla Soup-The Beef Edition

1 lb lean ground beef

2 tbsp taco seasoning

1 cup diced onion

10 cups chicken broth

1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

1-10 oz can Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Lime Juice and Cilantro

1-15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

1-15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1-4 oz can diced green chile peppers

juice of 1 lime

salt and pepper to taste

3 large flour tortillas cut into 2″ x 1/4″ pieces

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced thin

1) To large soup pot over medium-high heat, add ground beef and cook 6-8 minutes until browned; drain fat; reduce heat to medium, add taco seasoning, and stir to coat beef; add onions and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally

2) Add chicken broth, both tomatoes, both beans, green chiles, and lime juice; season with salt and pepper to taste; reduce heat to low and cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally

3) Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees; spread flour tortilla strips on baking pan and toast in oven 8-10 minutes until crisp and golden; remove from oven and set aside while soup continues cooking

4) Serve soup with sides of: tortilla strips, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and avocado (coarsely chopped cilantro is also a great addition)

Serves: 6-8 dinner-sized portions

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 04/24/12

MEATBALL TORTILLA SOUP

It should be obvious by now that my family is not only big on soup, but fans of tortilla soup in particular. This recipe is extra special owing to the meatballs. Of course, the addition of potatoes, carrots, and corn doesn’t hurt either. Give this delicious, filling, all thumbs up cool weather meal a try (adapted from Sunset Edible Garden Cookbook’s “Tortilla Meatball Soup”).

Meatball Tortilla Soup

4 corn tortillas, cut in half, then into 1/2″ strips

cooking spray (I used olive oil)

1 lb ground beef

1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp olive oil

1-1/2 cups chopped onion

2 cups small-diced red potatoes, unpeeled

1 cup 1/4″ thick carrot slices

5 cups chicken broth

2 tbsp chopped jalapeno peppers

1 red bell pepper, diced

1-1/4 cup frozen corn

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

1) Preheat broiler

2) Place tortilla strips on baking pan, lightly spray with cooking oil, and broil 1-2 minutes until golden brown; using spatula, turn and broil additional 1-2 minutes

3) To large bowl, add ground beef, panko breadcrumbs, egg, chipotle chile, and sea salt; mix well and form into 1″ diameter meatballs (about 35)

4) Add olive oil to large soup pot and heat over medium-high; space meatballs slightly apart in skillet and cook 7-8 minutes, turning occasionally to brown all sides; when no longer pink in center, transfer meatballs to paper towel-lined plate and cover with foil to keep warm

5) To same pot, add onion, potatoes, and carrots (you may have to add a bit more olive oil); cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until vegetables start to soften; add broth, jalapeno pepper, red bell pepper, and corn; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes until vegetables are tender

6) Add meatballs to soup and cook 5 minutes; remove from heat, ladle into bowls, top with tortilla strips and cheese, and serve

Servings: 4 hearty dinner-sized portions