Tortilla Soup For A Snowy Day

February 15th, 2014

Tortilla Soup 2

We had the perfect warming soup for the snowy weather that descended on the Southern States.  This winter will surely go down in the history books as one of the coldest and crippling on record.  Schools throughout NC were cancelled from Wednesday onward through the week.  If we had been home in Florida, we would have missed the snowy weather, but we also would have missed spending time with the Grand Kids.  Snow is more fun with kids.

Tortilla Soup Clearing the driveway

It is a North Carolina tradition to let the three, four and seven year olds clear the driveways of snow.  Or so it would appear from this picture.  Our Grandson Cameron is clearing his driveway while the neighbor boys are clearing theirs.

Tortilla Soup winter scene 1
The trees were covered with ice and we were lucky that we did not lose power.

Tortilla Soup 1

The tortilla soup that Kristen made was just what we needed to keep the chill away.  She served it with a delicious jalapeno cornbread.  Kristen has a way of taking a basic recipe and making it her own.  The original tortilla soup recipe came from The Neiman Marcus Cookbook.  She added the chilies and adjusted the seasoning.



  • 3tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 medium onion – large dice

  • 1 poblano + 1 cubanelle pepper (or any peppers you wish) – large dice

  • 3 garlic cloves – diced

  • 1 tsp. coriander

  • 1 tsp. cumin

  • 1 can chopped green chiles

  • 1 28 oz. can peeled tomatoes, chop tomatoes into small pieces

  • 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)

  • 6 oz. of reduced fat cream cheese (¾ of a block)

  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth

  • 1 cup of half and half

  • 4 tbsp. lemon juice

  • julienned corn tortilla strips (for garnish)

  • cilantro – chopped (for garnish)

  • green onions – chopped (for garnish)


Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions, season with salt & pepper and saute for about 5 minutes.  Add peppers, season again with salt and pepper and saute for another 5-10 minutes over medium heat.

Add garlic, coriander and cumin and saute until fragrant – 1 to 2 minutes.

Add green chiles, tomatoes, black beans and cook mixture until some of the liquid evaporates (about 8-10 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat to medium low and add cream cheese.  Stir until cream cheese is completely melted.  Add chicken broth and half-n-half and cook for another 15-20 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

Ladle into bowls and top with tortilla strips, then cilantro and green onions.

Optional soup additions: chicken, sausage (or chicken sausage!), noodles, corn, etc… if desired to soup.  Avocado would also be a nice addition to this soup!

Other Notes: pairs well with corn bread.

Printable recipe

Tortilla Meatball Soup

November 2nd, 2011

There are so many variations on tortilla soup.  In my opinion you can’t  go wrong with any of them.  Tortilla soup is warming both in temperature and in taste.  Jalapeno peppers give it just the right heat and the garlic infused broth adds pleasure for the soul.  With the addition of flavorful meatballs to the soup, you will gild the lily of satisfaction.

Sometime I want to do a series of posts on what you can do with a pound of hamburger.  That is just what Cooking Light Magazine has done in it’s latest issue.  One of the recipes featured was this tortilla meatball soup, which I have adapted.  A Summer and Fall of overindulgences have brought us to the realization that we need to temper our calorie intake.  This soup is full of flavor and I have discovered that, for us, flavor trumps richness every time.  Eating lighter fare does not have to be a sacrifice.

There are several steps involved in making this soup, but all of them add to the depth of flavor.  This is a good soup to make on a lazy weekend afternoon.


2 jalapeno peppers
1 red bell pepper
2 cups of frozen corn, thawed
4 corn tortillas, cut into 1/4 inch strips
Cooking spray
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
6 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1/3 cup panko crumbs
1 pound ground round
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce, minced
1 tablespoon oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 cups cubed red potatoes
2 carrots, sliced into rounds
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
3/4 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese
chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Preheat broiler.

Cut jalapenos and bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes.  Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Broil 4 to 6 minutes or until blackened.  Place peppers in a paper bag; fold to seal.  Let stand 15 minutes; peel.  Mince jalapenos, and coarsely chop bell pepper.

Place tortlla strips in a single layer on a baking sheet; lightly coat with cooking spray.  Broil for 3 minutes or until golden brown.  Watch closely so the strips do not burn.  Set aside.

Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 garlic clove, panko, ground round, egg and minced chipotle chile in a large bowl, and gently mix until just combines.  Shape the meat mixture into small meatballs.  I ended up with 28.

Place a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add meatballs to pan; saute for 8 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.  Remove from pan.  Add onion, potatoes, and carrot to pan; saute 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add remaining 5 garlic cloves; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add peppers, broth and 2 cups water; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are almost tender, stirring occasionally.  Return meatballs to pan.  Add remaining salt and the corn; return to a simmer.  Cook 10 minutes or until meatballs are done.  Ladle soup into each of 6 bowls; top each serving with cheese, cilantro and tortilla strips.  380 Calories.

Printable recipe

My new website is under construction.  I plan to launch it on the third anniversary of my blog in January.  Here is a sneak peak.

I am so excited.  It will be a collaborative effort of my talented Son and Daughter-In-Law.  Check out Kristen’s business blog here.

Creamy Chicken Poblano Soup

March 9th, 2020


Winter’s last gasp has even hit Florida.  Last week was unseasonably cool and windy.  A fire was lit in the fireplace and I craved comfort food.  Soup is always my first choice.  Soup made with lots of vegetables puréed to a smooth consistency is also my first choice.  The depth of flavor created is heartwarming. Add to that lots of Poblano chilis, which are not hot but pleasantly warm, and you have the perfect bowl of soup.  Chicken is just a given.  Chicken soup has been warming our bellies forever.


This recipe came from Joanna Gaines which will appear in her new cookbook Magnolia Table Volume Two.  It can be preordered on Amazon.


A chicken soup with a Mexican flair and crispy tortilla strips is the best way to say goodbye to Winter. We return to Lake Lure at the end of the month.


Stay warm wherever you are.



+ 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
+ 2 cups small-diced onion (about 1 large)
+ 4 celery stalks, cut into medium dice
+ 3 carrots, cut into medium dice
+ 2 garlic cloves, minced
+ 3 medium poblano peppers, seeded and cut into medium dice
+ 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
+ 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
+ 1 teaspoon ground cumin
+ 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
+ 8 cups (2 quarts) chicken broth
+ 2 cups heavy cream
+ 3 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (home-roasted or rotisserie chicken)
+ 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
+ Tortilla chips and sliced radishes, for garnish


1. In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and poblanos and sauté, stirring often, until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, and thyme and sauté until caramelized and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes longer.

2. Add the broth and cream, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, for 15 to 20 minutes to meld the flavors.

3. Use an immersion blender to carefully blend the soup until smooth. (Alternatively, let cool slightly and, working in batches as necessary, process in a stand blender until smooth, filling the blender no more than half full and removing the lid slowly after blending. Pour the soup back into the pot.)

4. Add the chicken and simmer for 15 to 30 minutes to meld the flavors to your liking. Stir in the cilantro.

5. Serve warm, garnished with tortilla strips and sliced radishes.

6. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Makes 6 to 8 servings


Pork and Wild Rice Soup

January 16th, 2012

Making soup is a creative outlet.  I like to experiment with combining ingredients.  Making soup is also forgiving of mistakes.  Even if you screw up, it still tastes good.  But in this case there were no screw ups.  I started with a recipe from Cooking Light magazine and adapted it.  I had some boneless pork chops in the freezer and had just been to the supermarket where I found a quick cooking wild rice medley from a company called Canoe.  Their website is interesting and the name Canoe came about because wild rice was first harvested from canoes.  The wild rice medley has bits of dried red peppers, carrots, celery, onion and parsley in it but no pesky preservatives or additives.

I love combining black beans and greens together in a soup.  Kale is one of my favorites and it adds great nutrients and color.  The recipe called for two serrano chilies and lime juice which added a kick and a refreshing bite.

Have you noticed the great variety of tortillas in the market lately?  Mission has just come out with with an artisan tortilla with flaxseed and blue corn.  It has lots of Omega 3s and is high in fiber.  I topped the soup with these tortilla strips which I toasted in the oven.  You can also top the soup with sliced avocado and sour cream.  Anyway you do it, you can’t go wrong with this great combination.


2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound pork loin, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 cup quick cooking wild rice medley
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
2 serrano chiles, seeded and minced
1 1/2 cups of water
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 (32-ounce) carton fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups kale, washed, stems removed and chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Toasted tortilla strips, avocado and/or sour cream for garnish

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Brown pork on all sides.  Remove from pan.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Add rice, onion, garlic and chiles; saute 3 minutes or until onion is tender.  Add pork, water oregano, brogh and beans; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is tender.  Stir in kale, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper and simmer gently until kale is wilted, about 2 minutes.  Top each serving with garnishes of choice.  Serves 6.

Printable recipe

Albondigas Soup

December 12th, 2011

I have been on a quest for new soup ideas this Fall and Winter.  I did a Spanish Cocido here and a Tortilla Soup here.  Now I have tried an Albondigas soup.  It is a Mexican meatball soup.  Albondigas means meatballs in Spanish.  The meatballs can be made from  ground beef alone, a combination of ground beef and chorizo sausage, or in this case, ground beef and ground pork.   They have cooked rice and bread in them to stretch the portions.  According to some sources fresh mint is a necessary flavor in the soup.  The broth is made from chicken stock flavored with vegetables such as carrots, onions, zucchini and tomatoes.  It is a very satisfying combination.

Speaking of vegetables,  I am so happy to be in Florida right now.  I went to the Flagler Beach Farmers’ Market last Friday.  Here are some of the images.

Colorful Peppers.

Local Farmers.

Red Bell Peppers priced at 2 for $1.00.  I spent $10.00 total and came home with 2 peppers, 5 ears of corn, 1 head of lettuce, 1 pound of green beans, an acorn squash, 3 tomatoes, 2 zucchinis, 5 limes and 2 lemons. 

You can add any vegetables that you have to this soup, but in this case, I followed the recipe from My Recipes for Grandma Salazar’s Albondigas Soup.  My fennel breadsticks went very well with it.


1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup short-grain rice
Cooking spray
2 cups chopped onion, divided
1 1/4 cup white bread crumbed
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro, divided
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 tespoon salt
1/2 pound lean ground pork
1/2 pound ground sirloin
2 large egg whites (or 1 whole egg)
1 cup chopped carrot
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup chopped seeded peeled tomato (or canned tomatoes, chopped)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth  ( I used more )
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 cups chopped zucchini
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pour water over rice, and let stand 20 minutes.  Drain.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add 1/2 cup onion to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.

Place bread in a food processor; pulse until couarse crumbs form.  Measure out 1 1/4 cups.  Combine rice, cooked onion, breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup cilantro, oregano, and next 5 ingredients, stirring well.  Shape mixture into 29 (1 inch) meatballs.  Chill 20 minutes.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add 10 meatballs, and cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides.  Remove meatballs from pan; drain well on paper towels.  Wipe drippings from pan with a paper towel.  Repeat procedure with cooking spray and remaining meatballs.  Return pan to heat.  Coat with cooking spray.  Add 1 1/2 cups onion, carrot and garlic to pan; saute 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Stir in tomato and broth, bring mixture to a boil.  Add meatballs and mint to pan.  Reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes.  Add zucchini, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to pan.  Cook 10 minutes.  Garnish with cilantro.

Printable recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.