Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Hi my name is Tina, and I eat soup in the summertime. There I said it.

I have been on the biggest soup kick lately which is strange (I know) seeing as our average temperatures have been in the 90’s around here. Nonetheless, I ate broccoli soup THREE times last week, ordered a lemon chicken orzo soup at Panera on Sunday after Church, and then HAD to make this tortilla soup on Monday night. I have a problem. I know it.

Something about soup is soothing like a good ol’ comfort food, but light on the stomach at the same time. Perfect for me these days! 

Confession (since we’re on a role with being open and honest around here): During the 9 months we tried to get pregnant, I got really stressed out and gained a good 8-10 lbs (UGH)… lucky for me, I’m 5′ 8″ so it’s not really noticable to anyone but myself, but it’s driving me nuts. So I decided that after the recent devastating event – stress eating is NOT an option. I’m making it a mission to looks those extra lbs before we are able to start trying again. So if things start looking a little “lighter” around here you’ll know why!

On a side note: Please feel free to link up your favorite (tasty) healthy recipes that are a “must try” in the comments section (I’d love to hear your favs!)!

Back to this incredible soup. I’ve been eyeing this recip up over on PW’s website for MONTHS. We have a little Mexican restaurant here in town that we love and they have a tortilla soup that is my absolute FAVORITE. It’s the first one I’d ever had that was topped with cool avacado and fresh tomato. Yowza! (yes, I just said YOW-ZA)

Needless to say, when I saw Ree’s recipe that looked JUST like it I was ecstatic! Being the rebel that I am, I can never follow a recipe to the “t”… I made some changes to reflect my own personal liking (Enter: Cayenne). Feel free to get creative with your recipes… you don’t have to feel limited to following them word for word. Add more spice if you like more spice (you know we always add us some more spice around here!).

This soup is actually pretty darn healthy even though it doesn’t taste it – tomato/broth based soup loaded with veggies (scale back the olive oil if you want and use some non-stick spray), topped with fresh tomato, heart healthy avocado, a dallop of light sour cream, and some reduced fat shredded cheese. Killer. 

So let’s get down to business: scroll down… print the recipe… and make this ASAP. okay? okay.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Yield: 8 hearty servings

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

Cook Time: 45-60 minutes

Total Time: 55-75 minutes

The best chicken tortilla soup to date. Yes, those are some fightin' words.


For the Soup:
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of Cayenne (we used 1/2)
1 medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced (seeds and ribs removed)
1 green bell pepper, diced (seeds and ribs removed)
4 cloves garlic, grated
4 tablespoons tomato paste
32 ounces low sodium chicken broth
3 cups hot water
1 (10 oz) can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons cornmeal
5 corn tortillas, cut into uniform strips

Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream
Avocado, diced
Tomato, diced
Red Onion, diced


Preheat oven to 375°. Mix together the spice mix: cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and cayenne. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil evenly on the chicken breasts, and place them onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle a teaspoon or two of the spice mix on both sides of the chicken breast (Reserve the rest of the spice mix for later). Bake chicken for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Shred chicken by pulling them apart using two forks and set aside until ready to use.

While the chicken is cooking, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the chopped onions, red pepper, and green pepper. Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes, or until veggies have begun to soften. Add in the grated garlic and stir for another minute or two.

Next, stir in the remaining spice mix and then add the shredded chicken and stir until combined. Stir in the tomato paste and then add the rotel, chicken broth, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil (stirring often) and then reduce heat to a simmer and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Mix the cornmeal with a splash of water and pour into the soup. Allow soup to continue to simmer for an additional 15-30 minutes. Taste to check seasonings, adding more salt or cayenne if needed. Turn off heat and add the tortilla strips to the soup. Ladel up and serve hot. Don't forget to add a good amount of your favorite toppings!

My personal favs: cheese, sour cream, avacado, fresh tomato, red onion, and a sprinkle of cilantro!

Adapted from: The one, the only... Pioneer Woman

 [The soup was hubby approved – & even Bishop wanted some]

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58 Responses to “Chicken Tortilla Soup”

  1. 1

    Bev Weidner — August 10, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

    Chicken tortilla soup might just rule my soul.

    Here’s a little health eatin’ for ya!

    • Kristina replied: — August 10th, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

      thanks – maybe i’ll get over my distain for salmon while i’m at it hehe

  2. 2

    ErinsFoodFiles — August 10, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

    Oh my! This soup DOES look divine! My confession, not only do I also eat soup in the summertime, I crave ice cream in the winter. (Actually I crave ice cream year round, but it seems odd how much I crave it in the winter.)

    If you’re looking for lighter recipes, I highly recommend the Indian Spiced Chicken & Curried Quinoa with Chickpeas & Almonds recipes (two separate recipes, with the same photo) on my blog. I’m sorry, I can’t link you to them, because my work has decided today that my blog must be spam and won’t let me access it! Anyways, the quinoa recipes is actually from Weight Watchers, and DELICIOUS!! You can find them in my May 2011 archives, as well as a really healthy tuna salad you can eat for lunches!

    • Kristina replied: — August 10th, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

      I’m embarrassed to say I’ve NEVER made Quinoa… i think i’ll have to try that recipe (plus that chicken sounds delish!)! 🙂

  3. 3

    Melissa — August 10, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

    This is going on the menu for next week…wowzers that looks deee-lish!

  4. 4

    Kelly — August 10, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

    Aww such cute photos!! This soup looks fantastic, I love all the flavors! Saving this one for sure! 🙂

  5. 5

    Sara — August 10, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

    Yum! Chicken tortilla soup is probably my favorite soup. I make a very similar recipe, but I’ve never tried adding cornmeal and I love how you added chunks of avocado on top. Mmmm!

  6. 6

    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — August 10, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

    I love tortilla soup! I am saving this for fall for sure! Love the pic of your dog – cute!

  7. 7

    Mike — August 10, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

    Great soup, hun. I’m a little embarrassed by the tall boy of Natural Ice in the photo. I should have staged with a high quality beer…like Pabst Blue Ribbon. Love you.

  8. 8

    natalie (the sweets life) — August 10, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

    it’s been too hot in STL for soup, and while i’m not ready for it to get cold, i am excited for soup season!

    since you’re looking for healthy recipes and loving soup, i must recommend this: one of my faves! this is another healthy favorite! 🙂

    • Kristina replied: — August 10th, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

      that veggie enchilada stack is calling my name! 🙂

  9. 9

    mandy schneider — August 10, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

    I love soup all year..My hubby though he’s not a big soup fan but luckily he’s gone a lot so more time to make soup for me and the kids LOL! …Your husbands brave for eating soup on your white for me I have 3 chins and none of them catch my food so yep right into my lap it goes hehehe!!!!
    Can’t wait to make this!

    • Kristina replied: — August 10th, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

      Micro-fiber is a glorious thing! Everything wipes right off! 🙂 plus they’re actually a tan color (even though the pic doesn’t look like it)… which helps

  10. 10

    Christine — August 10, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

    Soup looks wonderful. I eat soup in the summer too. And the look on Bishop face, it’s like Bishop saying feed me dad. 🙂

    • Kristina replied: — August 11th, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

      nothing like a 72 lb dog that thinks he’s a lap dog haha

  11. 11

    Erin-Kay V. — August 10, 2011 @ 7:57 pm

    So glad to see you back lately! Still praying for you guys, though. This recipe looks phenomenal! I confess, I love soup in the summer, too (or any time really). Unfortunately, my hubby doesn’t like soup very much, so it doesn’t get on our menu rotation pretty much ever. Once we move back to Florida (my home-state) on Monday, I know some people who would LOVE this as much as I do. Looking forward to it! 🙂

    • Kristina replied: — August 11th, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

      thank you so much, Erin. We sincerely appreciate it. Aw you are moving to FL? where to??

  12. 12

    Debbie — August 10, 2011 @ 9:09 pm

    We eat other hot foods in the summertime….why not soup? You know I enjoy reading this every day. Love to you and “the hubs”

    • Kristina replied: — August 11th, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

      we love you guys too 🙂

  13. 13

    Lindsey@Lindselicious — August 10, 2011 @ 10:03 pm

    Oh that last picture is too cute. But who can blame the doggy, I want a bite just from looking at your pics. This seriously looks so good I am bookmarking!!

  14. 14

    Megan — August 10, 2011 @ 10:32 pm

    Looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it when it’s cooler. The Midwestern humidity is something fierce and I’m not about to eat anything hot just yet. Is there humidity in FL?

    I’m on a diet too so I welcome healthy dishes. A website I recently found and love is Check it out, she’s got really yummy stuff!

    Hope your all doing better! =)

    • Kristina replied: — August 11th, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

      oh, girl – you haven’t felt humidity until you’ve been to FL! haha It’s ROUGH here (year round). I googled it and found this little tidbit out “The highest dew points in the US are found in coastal Florida and Texas. When comparing Key West and Houston, two of the most humid cities from those states, coastal Florida seems to have the higher dew points on average.” Useless information for the day hehe Thanks for the website tip!

  15. 15

    Peggy — August 11, 2011 @ 5:57 am

    Oh I just did a post about eating soup in the summertime! To me, soup is a year-round affair… doesn’t matter what it’s like outside. Once I get the craving, I get it bad!

    And this chicken tortilla soup looks amazing – might have to whip it up soon =)

    • Kristina replied: — August 11th, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

      AGREED! 🙂

  16. 16

    marla — August 11, 2011 @ 9:06 am

    LOVE chicken tortilla soup & yours looks amazing!

    • Kristina replied: — August 11th, 2011 @ 12:34 pm

      thanks so much Marla!

  17. 17

    Tres Delicious — August 11, 2011 @ 9:29 am

    looks satisfying to the last drop. However I want to know if the avocado blends with the soup? – Well, see for myself.

  18. 18

    Mom — August 11, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

    I want some of this soup…NOW! 🙂 Looks amazing!

  19. 19

    Erin-Kay V. — August 11, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

    I’m from Ocala, Florida, born and raised. I got married in April, and we moved to Michigan so my husband could finish flight school. Now that he’s finished, we’re moving back down to Ocala! We can’t wait.

    p.s. I love reading your blog!! 😀

    • Kristina replied: — August 11th, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

      oh you won’t be far from me at all! I live in Jupiter which is north of West Palm Beach… but my hubby is from Orlando so we are there all the time to visit his family! We’ll have to meet up for coffee sometime! 🙂

  20. 20

    kita — August 11, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

    Oooh Im itching for some soup soon. I just can’t bring myself to make it in the summer but the moment the temps hit below 70 – its on!

  21. 21

    Lilly — August 12, 2011 @ 4:36 am

    I think soup is good any day, come rain or shine. I have never made tortilla soup before but your dish looks so amazing I will have to give it a try! Thank you for sharing this delish recipe!

  22. 22

    Kevin (Closet Cooking) — August 13, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

    That is one tasty looking tortilla soup! Great shot with the dog lusting over it!

  23. 23

    Katie — August 14, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

    YUM! This looks awesome. Soups make me so happy…I love making big batches and either having it leftover for a few days or freezing some for later! This one sounds lovely; I actually had been eyeing it on PW’s site too!

  24. 24

    Michelle — August 17, 2011 @ 8:42 am

    I prepared this soup this weekend past, and it was delicious!!! This is definitely the best chicken totilla soup I have ever tasted.

  25. 25

    Dad — August 25, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

    I’m trying this recipe tonight. Sounds like a great one.

    Luv ya.

  26. 26

    Sara — September 18, 2011 @ 8:31 pm

    Thanks for the recipe! I just made it and enjoying while watching the Emmy’s. I used corn instead of beans. Yum!

  27. 27

    Kristen — September 30, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

    I made this earlier in the week – and it’s already almost gone. DELICIOUS, and so easy to put together. Can’t wait to make it again!! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  28. 28

    cabindoggie — October 1, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

    Hey, after researching a gazillion recipes for this, I made yours, with one change-I did fry the tortilla chips, and those that survived (um, they are really yummy fresh made) went to the bottom of the bowls. Husband disappeared with second bowl down to the man-cave mumbling “wow, this soup is really good!!!” Score!!!!!! PS-yr in my thoughts, hope life and luck turns up for you two really soon. In the meantime, you have an awesome looking dog.

  29. 29

    RachelsVittles — October 3, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

    So, it is still in the 90’s here in SW Florida but when I came across your recipe I couldn’t resist making a pot full. Me, my husband and all 4 of my kids love it! Anytime is a good time for soup! Thanks for sharing.

    • Kristina replied: — October 4th, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

      It’s SO hot down here… I’m in SE Florida… so I KNOW what you mean! We are all about soup anytime of the year! 🙂

  30. 30

    Colin — October 15, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

    LOL MIKE @ the natty! ahahahaha its all good. Kristina – the soup looks incredible I love this soup but mine doesn’t look like yours =( just a little personal preference I like to throw lime juice in mine thanks for posting the recipe yum yum

  31. 31

    Mariam E — October 18, 2011 @ 7:50 am

    You weren’t lying when you said this was the best recipe! I made it yesterday, and that was ALL i ate all day……..super delicious

    • Kristina replied: — October 19th, 2011 @ 8:57 am

      I’m obsessed with that soup – it’s my #1 favorite soup, hands down!

  32. 32

    rhonda — October 25, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

    I’m gonna make it. Been getting it at Taco Bueno all week and just gotta make my own.

  33. 33

    Fawn — October 28, 2011 @ 10:25 am

    I just stumbled upon this recipe and your blog. In celebration of the first ‘cold’ front of the season in Texas I will be trying out your recipe!

    • Kristina replied: — October 28th, 2011 @ 10:29 am

      Enjoy it! It’s one of my all time favorite soups! 🙂

  34. 34

    Melissa — November 4, 2011 @ 9:15 pm

    Making this tomorrow for a nice dinner with friends can’t wait!

  35. 35

    Alissa — December 5, 2011 @ 11:24 am

    this was AWESOME!!!! I have looked for tortilla soup recipes before and never really found an easy one. This was GREAT. I used a rotisserie chicken. Husband LOVED it and said it was as good as anything he ever got in a recipe. My 6 year old loved it but it was too spicy so I made another batch today and it was just as good minus the chili, cayenne and tomatoes. THank you, can’t wait to make more of your recipes.

  36. 36

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  37. 37

    Ginny L. — January 10, 2012 @ 9:09 am

    You’ve done it again! This soup was redonkulously good! It’s like everything you crave in Mexican food right there in a bowl. I left out the strips and served wedges of cheese quesadilla (as a kind of grilled cheese sandwich type thing). I can’t decide if I like this or your French onion soup better – both are outstanding. 🙂

  38. 38

    Michelle — January 15, 2012 @ 9:14 pm

    The best soup ever! Thank you for sharing!!

  39. 39

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  41. 41

    JoJo — January 22, 2012 @ 8:10 pm

    I have made this soup around ten times and it never fails! SO SO GOOD! Thanks for the recipe!

  42. 42

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    Heather — June 9, 2012 @ 8:37 am

    My recipe calls for 2 c frozen corn, just a suggestion

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