Tortilla soup and tostadas, part dos

chicken black bean tostadas_7

It’s the end of the month and I’m falling off the paleo wagon. Still committed to a healthier diet, but God help me, I’m having some damn grains already. Corn and flour specifically. So here we go …

The best kinds of recipes are highly adaptable. Take my tortilla soup. It’s a thick, blended, stew-style concoction that’s not for traditionalists, but delicious all the same. Beans, tortilla chips, vegetables, spices and chicken stock—in almost any variation—blended and topped with shredded chicken, cheese and tortilla strips, will yield something fantastic. It’s so thick and flavorful, it makes for good enchilada filling, nacho dressing and in this case, tostada topping. The first tostada tortilla soup combo was great, but this one might be even better.

chicken black bean tostadas

Chicken tortilla soup

You’ll need:

3-4 cups chicken broth

1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped

1 dried ancho chile, roughly chopped, seeds removed

1 red pepper roughly chopped

2 yellow squash or zucchini, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup bacon fat (this is optional–I happened to have it lying around from breakfast that day and it added an extra oomph)

1 can pinto beans, drained of half the juice 

1/4 tsp chili powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

3 cups crushed tortilla chips

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 lb cooked chicken, shredded (I cooked a whole chicken and used a mix of the dark and white meat)

Shredded mexican cheese, sour cream and extra tortilla chips for topping

Put all ingredients (start with 3 cups of chicken broth and add the additional cup as needed while cooking), minus the chicken and toppings in a crock pot. Cook on high, covered, for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Blend crock pot contents until pureed. Stir in chicken (reheat, if necessary before adding). Top with cheese, crumbled tortilla chips and sour cream.

For the tostadas, buy tostada shells, or make your own by frying small corn tortillas in vegetable oil until golden brown. Top with chicken tortilla soup, black or pinto beans and shredded cheese. Toast under broiler until cheese is melty and bubbling. Serve with sour cream.

chicken black bean tostadas_4


Hot, spicy and a little bit sweet

Where’s your mind going? I’m talking about the soup, people. While sweet potato fries usually get all the love, this soup deserves a little attention. Velvety, rich, sweet, savory—and with a sneaking heat that will warm on even the coldest days—you’ll want to keep a batch of this stuff on hand all winter long.

Sweet potato chorizo soup

You’ll need:

2 large sweet potatoes

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 yellow onion chopped

1 cup chicken stock

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp white pepper

8 oz chorizo

Sour cream for garnish

Crumble chorizo in a skillet and cook on medium heat until cooked through, stirring constantly—about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Peel potatoes and cut into small cubes.

Melt butter in stock pot over medium heat. Cook onions in butter for 2-3 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes, or until potatoes begin to get tender, stirring frequently.

Add the rest of the chicken stock and spices, cooking for an additional several minutes until potatoes are cooked through.

Puree soup in a blender or food processor until completely smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add more chicken stock. Stir in chorizo. Serve hot and garnish with a dollop of sour cream.

The lazy girl’s guide latkes and matzo ball soup and a giveaway

Latkes and matzo ball soup

It’s Hanukkah and Dave’s been seriously cashing in on his first year celebrating the festival of lights.

He still can’t get over the whole presents-for-eight-nights-in-a-row thing; he hustled me for 20 bucks in his first game of dreidel (beginner’s luck); and he enjoyed a couple of the best dishes Judaism has to offer: Latkes and matzo ball soup.

It’s been a lazy couple of weeks  for me and the thought of shredding four pounds of Russets gave me a headache. Lucky for me, I had this fabulous Progresso package from MyBlogSpark (Which one lucky commenter will also win, courtesy of Progresso via MyBlogSpark) …

Progresso Blogspark package

… and some frozen hash browns. Soooooo, I present to you …

Lazy latkes and mellow matzo ball soup

latkes and matzo balls

Lazy Latkes

You’ll need:

6 cups frozen hash browns (about one large bag)

1/2 of a large yellow onion, minced

2 eggs

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

ground pepper (5-10 turns or the grinder)

1-2 teaspoons salt (kosher, of course)

vegetable oil for frying

Before I start, a message to all you traditionalists out there—once you go frozen (hash browns, that is), you’ll never go back. These turned out flawlessly with a fraction of the work. And your bubby will never know the difference.

Thaw your hash browns and let them “drain” on paper towels. Dry out the minced onions as well. You’ll want to make sure you get as much of the moisture out as possible—otherwise the latkes fall apart in the pan. Mix the potatoes, onions, eggs, bread crumbs, salt and pepper together and form into small patties. Heat the vegetable oil on medium heat and fry the latkes (about 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown). Serve with applesauce and sour cream.

Mellow matzo ball soup

You’ll need:

For broth:

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

4 large carrots, chopped

1/2 of a yellow onion, chopped

For matzo balls:

3/4 cup matzo meal

3 eggs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Remember what I said about the latke cheat? Ditto for the pre-made broth. Heat your broth and veggies in a covered pot until veggies are cooked through. Mix all ingredients for matzo balls and form into golf-ball sized balls. Drop into hot broth and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Now leave a comment telling me what your favorite holiday tradition is. I’ll pick a random winner next Thursday (12/24) and you’ll get the lovely package you see above. Consider it your Hanukkah present.

Squash Soup


If one is good, three is great.

Case in point: Butternut, acorn and zucchini squash soup. Next time you consider whipping up a batch of that old fall go-to, butternut squash soup, consider this delightful remix.

Roasted three-squash soup

You’ll need:

1 acorn squash

1 large butternut squash

1 zucchini

1/2 of yellow or white onion

4 cloves garlic, roasted

1/2 teaspoon curry

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon white pepper

salt to taste

olive oil and butter for roasting

1-2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut up your squash in slices and scoop out the seeds, but don’t peel them.

Butternut squash_2

Drizzle olive oil on a sheet pan and place pats of butter underneath the squash slices on the pan, placing the squash flesh side down. This creates a delicious caramelization on the bottom of the squash that adds another layer of flavor and complexity to the soup. Throw your garlic cloves, un-peeled, onto the pan along with the squash. Cook it all for about 30-40 minutes or until it begins to look a little shriveled and feels soft to the touch.

Roasted squash

Roasted Acorn squash_2

Roasted acorn squash_3

Allow the squash to cool enough to handle it. Meanwhile, chop your zucchini and onion and heat over the stove top in the chicken/vegetable stock until the vegetables are cooked through. Scoop out the insides of the squash and add it to the stock pot, along with the spices. Mix thoroughly and then puree it in batches in a blender or food processor.

Squash soup

The white pepper gives this soup a nice creeping heat that is guaranteed to warm you up on crisp fall days.

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