Tortilla soup is one of the most marvelous things in life. It’s got everything going for it: the lovely crunch of the tortilla chips, the oozy melted cheese, tasty Mexican flavors, the soothing comfort of a hot bowl of soup. Plus it’s great for your sinuses and your health and it’s so easy to make. It’s such a versatile soup too: it can be a nice vegetarian meal or starter, or you can add meat or seafood to it for a heartier soup. The other thing I like about tortilla soup is it helps use up those chips on the bottom of the bag that aren’t big enough for other uses (like dipping).
I made this simple soup without any meat, allowing the flavors of the tomato and the peppers to really shine through, but you can add meat if you like. I listed a whole bunch of things you could add to this soup if you want to change things up a bit.
Simply Spicy Tortilla Soup
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 of a large onion, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 fresh garden tomatoes, peeled and cored (about 1 lb or 2 cups after they are pureed) … canned tomatoes work too
- 3 jalapenos, chopped (use more or less depending on how spicy you want your soup … you can substitute other peppers for the jalapenos too … use bell pepper for a milder soup, or a different hot chile pepper to vary the flavor)
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt)
- Baked or fried tortilla chips (or strips)
- Shredded Mexican and/or queso fresco crumbles
- Cilantro leaves
- Optional add-ins:
- sautee with the onion/garlic: celery, carrots, zucchini or other veggies
- add with the tomatoes/peppers: chicken, pork, shrimp, crab, avocado, lime juice, cooked corn, cooked beans, hominy
- Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil and swirl it around, then the chopped onion and garlic. Sautee until the onion is very soft and translucent.
- Pour the tomatoes (with juices) into a blender and blend till smooth. Add them to the pot along with the jalapenos, broth, tomato sauce, and seasonings. Reduce heat slightly and allow the soup to simmer for about 15 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the peppers to cook and the flavors to meld.
- To serve: pour the hot soup into bowls, sprinkle with tortilla chips and cheese, then cilantro and avocado (if you like).
This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Cast Party Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Kitchen Fun Friday, Weekend Potluck, Lifeologia’s Birthday Party Potluck, Fit & Fabulous Fridays and All my Bloggy Friends.
So in case you haven’t noticed, the ingredient of the week (month?) is zucchini at my house. My sis brought me several zucchini, some beautiful stripey Italian zucchini and some plain green ones, some big, some little. I love zucchini season because it makes me get really creative in the kitchen, trying to think of different ways to use this plentiful, mild-tasting vegetable. Zucchini is so good for adding to so many dishes because it takes on the flavor of whatever you pair it with, so it can be sweet or savory, and it can take on many different textures too depending on whether it’s shredded, chunked, sliced, or ribboned, raw or cooked.
For this quesadilla, I used one of the smaller green zucchini, but I think the Italian ones would be nice in a quesadilla too. I was just making a small one for me for lunch, so I didn’t want to cut into one of those big guys. Honestly I really wanted some shredded chicken on this quesadilla, but I didn’t have any on hand and was in a rush to make lunch so I went with a vegie version. I think if you had some leftover chicken around (perhaps from the grill?), you may want to toss that into the mix. Beans would be fun to put on here too. But then again, it’s nice just like this …
Zucchini Avocado Quesadilla
- 17 – 20 thin slices of a small/medium-sized zucchini
- 1/2 of a ripe avocado
- 1 oz. light cream cheese
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped onion
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped ancho chile (or other hot chile pepper)
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
- 1/2 Tablespoon plain nonfat yogurt
- juice from a wedge of fresh lime
- fresh cilantro leaves
- shredded gouda cheese (sorry I forgot to measure how much I used! You can eyeball it, though. Enough to cover the zucchini in a thin layer.)
- 2 medium-sized tortillas (not the tiny taco-sized ones, but not the huge burrito-sized ones either … whole grain/whole wheat is good!)
- For serving: your favorite salsa!
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray and lay the zucchini slices on the pan in a single layer. Spray them lightly with cooking spray, sprinkle with Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt) and bake at 400 for about 10 minutes. Flip them over and cook for just a few minutes more until the zucchini rounds are tender.
- While the zucchini are cooking, mash up the avocado in a bowl, then mix with the cream cheese, garlic, yogurt, and lime juice. Take one of the tortillas and spread it with this creamy green mixture, then when the zucchini are done, arrange them on top and sprinkle with cilantro leaves.
- Top with shredded gouda cheese (or whatever cheese you prefer … I like gouda because it has a good flavor and it melts well … and then put the other tortilla on top.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Slide the quesadilla carefully onto the skillet, cover and let cook for about 5 minutes, checking the bottom frequently to see if it’s golden brown yet.
- When it is nicely browned on the bottom, flip it over to brown the other side. (To help you flip it, you may want to slide the quesadilla out of the pan onto a flat cutting board, then flip it over and slide it back into the pan. The bottom side will be crisp, so this isn’t as hard as it may sound.)
- Once both sides are brown and the cheese is melted, slide the quesadilla onto your cutting board, cut it up and serve with salsa.
It was the big day, the day the dancers prepare for all year. My girl is in competition dance so she gets so many opportunities to perform, but it all leads up to THIS. The day of the big end-of-the-year dance recital.
I thought I was being clever, but really, in hindsight, perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea to plan a vacation right after recital. That meant I was scrambling at work today to finish up all the loose ends … and on top of that, I had to make sure she got fed and drank enough water and run her to rehearsal and back. And find her lost costumes and the missing jazz shoe (that never did turn up … she had to borrow a shoe from a friend!) … and help her with her hair … and then my family was coming for the recital so I was bugging my son to clean up and wash all the bedding. My mom, dad, and sis showed up at 4 and I hadn’t even showered yet! I quickly cleaned myself up and we rushed off to find some food before the recital …
It all added up to a lot of craziness and stress that really didn’t need to be QUITE that crazy. The show went really well, but I could tell at the beginning of the show that my dancer didn’t quite have her head in the game. I feel a little pang of “mom guilt”, like could I maybe have been a little less stressed and rushed today and had more patience with her?
So you know I had NO time to cook today. But still after scrambling with everything all morning, I really really needed to eat! I found some of the cheese mixture I’d used for my fish quesadillas in the fridge and threw together this quesadilla for lunch today in a few minutes … and it turned out really good. I’m glad I took a short break to make this … I’m wishing now that I had taken the time to make my sweetie girl the waffles that she wanted this morning. Ah well. There is always tomorrow. Finally, some time to just unwind and do as we please …
Spinach Avocado Quesadillas
For the cheese mixture:
- 1 cup cooked white beans (Great Northern or Cannellini)
- 1/4 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon of liquid from the beans
- 1 Tablespoon goat cheese
- Green onion (I used two)
- Garlic scapes (I used two)
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno (use more or less according to how spicy you want it)
- A few cilantro leaves
- 1 cup finely shredded Mexican blend of cheeses
For the quesadilla:
- 2 whole-grain flour tortillas
- A handful of baby spinach leaves
- Chopped tomato (I used 1/2 of a medium tomato for one quesadilla)
- Chopped red onion (just a bit)
- Avocado, part sliced, part chopped (I used half an avocado for my quesadilla)
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Salsa (I used my dad’s simple salsa fresca)
- In a food processor or handi chopper, blend the white beans, yogurt, goat cheese, and a bit of cooking liquid from the beans till smooth. Add snipped green onion, garlic scapes, jalapeno, and cilantro and stir (or chop if you like), then blend in the shredded cheese. (You can make the cheese mixture ahead of time and store it in a covered container in the fridge.)
- Spread both tortillas with a thin layer of the cheese mixture. On one of the tortillas, arrange the spinach leaves, tomato, red onion, chopped avocado and cilantro. Top with the 2nd tortilla.
- Heat a frying pan or cast iron skillet to medium low heat and spray with cooking spray. Put the quesadilla in the pan, cover and cook briefly. Check often and when it is brown on the bottom, slide it onto a plate, then flip it over and slide back into the pan and cover to brown the other side. When both sides are brown and the cheese is nicely melted, slide the quesadilla out of the pan onto a cutting board, cut into pieces, and serve immediately topped with avocado slices with salsa on the side.
Taco Bell has this thing they call a Crunchwrap Supreme. It’s sort of like a tostada, with Nacho cheese sauce, wrapped in a tortilla, then “toasted” in a pan. It’s really a pretty good idea, but I’ve never actually tried one. Because whenever I saw one, I always thought, “I would have done it a little differently.”
So when Happy Little Tomato posted a Crunchwrap Supreme recipe, I thought, “hey, I could do that” … and then wondered, “hey, why haven’t I?”
And so, I did. Twice now. The first time with taco meat, and then the second time I made a vegetarian version. Both were delicious, and I’m certain they were WAY more nutritious than Taco Bell’s version.
So this is my thinking. It needs refried beans. And more vegies, especially jalapenos. I left out the “nacho cheese” sauce. How about if we just use REAL cheese? Yeah. Let’s do that. And why would you put lettuce INSIDE the crunchwrap? Then it’s gonna get cooked … ew. Let’s keep the lettuce on the outside, along with the salsa. Now you’re talkin’ …
Mexican Crunchwrap Supreme, My Way
Adapted from Happy Little Tomato
- Large, burrito-sized tortillas or “wraps” (I used some uber-healthy whole wheat, high-fiber ones.)
- Refried beans
- Taco meat (optional … I included it on one, but not on the other, and I really couldn’t much tell the difference)
- Chopped onion, green onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, tomato or other favorite “taco-style” vegies (maybe some corn?)
- Tostado or taco shells or crushed tortilla chips (I found a whole grain taco shell I really like that I used here …)
- Shredded sharp cheddar or mexican blend of cheeses
- Condiments: salsa, lettuce, and greek yogurt
Warm up your refried beans (and taco meat, if you’re using it). I just put them together in a little bowl and microwaved them.
Spread some of that hot bean mixture in the middle of your gargantuan tortilla. Top with some cheese. Put it in the microwave and melt it a bit if you want.
Now top that with a bunch of your vegies of choice. I used onion, jalapeno, and bell pepper. Then top that with some tortilla chips or a tostada shell, or, like I did here, you can take a taco shell and break it in half.
At this point, you can add more vegies and a little more cheese if you want. Then you bend up the edges, sort of origami style, like this. I had to break the edges of my taco shell a bit to get it to fold nicely.
Now heat up a skillet pan to medium heat and spray it with cooking spray. Set your crunchwrap in the hot pan. You might get a little tired of holding those folds in place (I did!) …
So I covered it with a flat lid from one of my saucepans:
Test the bottom of the crunchwrap by lifting it a little with a spatula and when it is golden brown, use a spatula to flip it over and “toast” the other side.
When it’s nice and brown and toasty on the other side, it’s ready! I served mine on a bed of lettuce, with a bit of salsa and greek yogurt on top.
I don’t know that I even think of this as a recipe … it is one of those throw-it-together kind of lunches, something I could almost do in my sleep. You could add a sauce over the top if you like. My sister has a great recipe for homemade red sauce that would be awesome on these.
I was making my burrito for lunch, so I just wrapped my burrito in a napkin and munched away on it while I worked … but it’s a great quick meal to throw together for a hearty Meatless Monday meal, or if you have some meat you want to toss in, chop it up and add it with the beans and rice.
Cheesy Rice & Black Bean Burritos
Add in other stuff as you please … or leave out anything you don’t like. This is a very forgiving recipe.
- Black beans, cooked and drained
- Cooked rice (I used basmati rice)
- Large flour tortillas (whole wheat or regular … )
- Your favorite salsa (I used my funky kiwi, kumquat, and mango salsa … the salsa you choose is going to really impact the flavor so pick a good one!)
- Optional: chopped jalapenos or green chile
- Chopped onion & avocado
- Shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend + some shredded sharp cheddar)
- Fresh cilantro leaves
First, make sure the black beans and rice are good and hot.
For each burrito, heat a large tortilla in the microwave briefly until it’s warm. (Warm tortillas fold better.) Put a couple spoonfuls of beans in the center of the tortilla in a rectangular-ish shape and mash them roughly with a fork. (You could use refried beans too in place of the black beans … that works well too …) Top with a few spoonfuls of salsa and the rice.
Sprinkle with the shredded cheese and microwave on high for a minute or two until the cheese melts, then toss on some cilantro.
Now fold over the short edges of the burrito and then fold over the long end.
and then just roll it up …
If you were going to add sauce, this would be where you would pour the hot sauce over top, maybe add a little more cheese, then microwave it a bit more to get that cheese on top all melty.
(Instead of microwave-melting the cheese, you could make a bunch of these, put them in a baking pan, cover with sauce and a bit more cheese and bake for 20 – 30 minutes or so or until everything is all hot and bubbly.)
Now for the tag game … I’ve been tagged, so I have to answer the following questions, then tag 5 other bloggers who are supposed to do the same.
Describe yourself in 7 words…
Foodie, Tree Hugger, Geek, Empath, Mother, Dreamer, Friend
What keeps you up at night?
Usually I sleep well, but sometimes I worry. Sometimes I stay up too late talking to my best friend … or out on a date. I’m divorced, yes, so I worry about men and love and where things are going in my life. My mind can also get busy wondering, pondering, fearing for my childrens’ future. Sometimes I can’t sleep because I think of a really good idea for a recipe and I’m so excited to make it. Sometimes I stay up late to finish writing up a blog post. Sometimes I stress over stupid things like how to make an ugly food look good. Once in a while I stress over work.
Who would you like to be?
I want to just be me and not let anybody get in the way of that. Being an empath, that’s hard to do because I feel what other people feel and I care so much about my friends and family. I guess, though, that is who I am.
What scares you?
Global warming and how people take our earth for granted. What’s going to happen in my children’s lifetime … and their childrens’ lifetime. Will our earth be able to recover from what we are doing to it?
Sometimes the thought of being alone scares me too. But since I started this blog, really, I never am alone …
What are the best and worst things about blogging?
The very best thing about blogging is the wonderful friends I have made along the way. I cannot even begin to describe how amazing it feels to wake up every morning to this fantastic group of caring, loving people. Foodies are the most generous, sweet, kind people you will ever meet, and having a food blog has brought me friends from all over the world I would never have met or even known of if I didn’t have this blog.
The worst thing about blogging … I suppose it is the time, because it does take a lot of time. But every moment I’m blogging or cooking for the blog is pure joy. I blog because I love it.
What is the last website you looked at?
I went to my sister’s food blog: She Eats Pork and Fishes … to find the recipe for the burrito sauce.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
To love and respect myself more. To be kinder and more forgiving to myself. To stand up for myself and say no sometimes, rather than trying to please so many people. To be a stronger, better mother.
Slankets, yes or no?
Seriously? You want to know that? No, really, you don’t care. This is not important … (um, what’s a slanket anyway?)
Tell us something about the person who tagged you…
Samah (Good Cooks) is a mother from Palestine who lives here in the US now. Her photographs and recipes are just phenomenal. She is adventurous and brave in the kitchen and tackles all sorts of different recipes, and although I’ve not met her in person, I am sure that is how she is in real life too. Everything she cooks makes me drool …
Sawsan (Chef in Disguise) is a wonderful cook, a talented photographer and a sweet, sweet person. She is a mother and a doctor, but she is also my friend. She has so many good things to say. I love the variety of foods that she makes–she teaches me about foods I had never heard of. She has a heart of gold.
Tag, you’re it!
Now to pass on this game to five other bloggers … it’s so hard to choose … but I pick:
- Bobbi’s Cozy Kitchen
- Cooking with Mel
- Debi at Recipes for my Boys
- Bia at Rich and Sweet
- Melissa at ChinDeep