I hosted a Mexican-themed dinner for ten after church yesterday. Instead of my usual routine (i.e., pulling out all the stops and collapsing in exhaustion afterwards), I tried really hard to plan easy, do-ahead dishes. Taco salads, tortilla soup, chips and salsa, Spanish rice, and Pamela’s GF brownies with Breyer’s French Vanilla ice cream made the final cut. The beauty of every one of these dishes is that it could be prepared one to two days ahead. I admit I could have cut a few more corners. In hindsight, was it really necessary to make my own avocado dressing, salsa, and taco seasoning? Probably not. The few extra bucks to buy these items probably would have been worth it.
One thing I don’t regret a bit, though, is the tortilla soup I served. It came together in a snap on Saturday afternoon, then I poured it into my crockpot bowl and stored it in the refrigerator overnight. Before leaving for church, I plunked it into the crockpot base and cranked it to high. By the time we were ready to eat, it was perfectly warm and fragrant. We enjoyed it meatless at lunch since there was already beef on the salads, but for dinner that night, I stirred in some shredded chicken while reheating. Delicious! Now it’s in my lunch box.
I don’t remember where I first found this recipe. I know it was in one of my mom’s cookbooks, but all I have now is a water-stained sheet of yellow legal pad paper with scribbles and notes on it. Classy. Despite its tattered condition, I’m so thankful I rediscovered the recipe. I’ll keep it on my list of easy meals for future reference. Next time I need to serve an easy meal to a crowd, I might pick just this soup with the addition of chicken and serve a simple green salad and chips on the side. That would be far easier than the labor-intensive taco salads.
This post is part of Kitchen Tip Tuesdays as my tip on feeding guests easily.
One serving note: don’t forget the limes for this soup. They really enhance the flavors. If you prefer, you can add the juice directly to the pot of soup, though I prefer to add it to individual bowls to preserve its bite.
Easy Tortilla Soup
1 tablespoon oil (virgin, unrefined coconut oil or good quality olive oil)
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
3 cups water
2 cups V8 (spicy or regular) or tomato juice
1 can cream-style corn (regular corn works well too, of course)
8 ounces diced mild green chilies
1 large tomato, chopped or 1 small can petite diced tomatoes
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
sea salt (I use Celtic sea salt or Real Salt)
3 corn tortillas, cut into strips
shredded chicken breasts or thighs (optional)
shredded cheese (preferably raw)
Heat the oil in a soup pan over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and saute until soft. Add the water, V8 or tomato juice, corn, chilies, tomato, cilantro, jalapeno, chili powder and cumin. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
Just before serving, stir in the tortilla strips and, if desired, chicken and heat until warm.
Serve with extra cilantro, lime, and cheese.
Serves 4 as a main course.