Hot….cold…….cold….repeat!!! Mother Nature is again confused. But I am trying to forget that it is 80 degrees here today and pretend it is actually autumn weather outside. I am sure the minute I get too comfortable in this weather it will again rain or become terribly cold. My family is obsessed with Mexican food. Anything Mexican works for my family. Tortilla Soup is a favorite of mine because you can make it as healthy as you want. Mine is a vegetable soup base which is great if you are not eating meat. Then I add chicken in (which you can leave out) and serve with tortilla chips and lots of toppings. Everyone in the house loves soups of any kinds except my daughter, The Tortured Teenager. You can’t please everyone. So she is having a cheese quesadilla tonight and not complaining about it.

Quick Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 onion diced
1 bell pepper diced (red)
1 zucchini diced
1 clove garlic minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 sm can diced chilis
1 can black beans rinsed
1 cup carrots chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups shredded chicken
1 carton chicken broth
2 cups water

Chop and drop the onions, bell pepper, zucchini, and carrots (you could add any vegetable you have that is in the bin. And if you are really out of veggies, frozen veggies work great. Just skip the browning and add to the broth.) I like to add a TB or two of olive oil to the pan first and get it warmed up. Cook the veggies on Medium High for a couple of minutes. This does make a difference in the flavor of the store bought chicken stock later. Make sure to season the veggies with some salt and pepper.

Now add the can of diced tomatoes. I only have plain but you could add the ones that have onions or jalapenos in them. Just do not drain them first. This liquid is huge in the soup. Add one can of Ortega chilis, undrained, one can black beans that are drained and rinsed 1 tsp cumin and 1 tsp oregano (all I have is dried)

Add chicken broth/stock (one carton)and make sure you shake up the box first.

Now add two cups of water. You could do more and it really would not affect the flavor. My family likes a thick soup, sort of like a stew.

Let it all come up to a boil and bring it down to a simmer. Let simmer for 15 minutes
This is when you would add in some leftover chicken. I am not big on leftovers so I have some chicken breast tenders that I am sauteing up with some garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper. I didn’t measure the spices, just sprinkled it all over. You can’t go wrong with garlic powder or cumin, and there is never too much in a recipe in our house.

Pour the chicken and all the juices in the pan. I hope you were lucky enough to have leftovers but if not these smell really good. The Tortured Teenager is asking if she can make a taco out of some. NO! Soup Hater!

Add 1 cup of frozen corn. I do this at the end. It just needs to heat up not over cook. Taste and make sure you have enough salt and pepper or cumin. We like a lot of cumin in this house. Not everyone likes cumin. If you are really adventurous, you could add a tsp of chipotle adobo sauce, but that is another recipe at another time…

Now, I like to put some cheap tortilla chips in the bottom of the bowl. You could make your own, but this is QUICK Tortilla Soup. This gets to the table in 25 minutes (take that Rachel Ray!) I put cheese and green onions on top of it. Ladle soup on top of it. You could put tortillas on top for appearance but I like how they get all soft from the soup and make the broth all creamy.

I dig around looking for the chips, dodging carrots!

Other Toppings you put on your soup;
Green onions
sliced jalapenos
Hot sauce!!

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