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.

Ingredients:

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

Garnishes:
Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream
Avocado, diced
Tomato, diced
Red Onion, diced
Cilantro

Directions:

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]