Tex-Mex Tuesday – Tortilla Soup + Quesadillas

Tex-Mex Tuesday

Homemade Quick Chicken Tortilla Soup & Three Cheese Quesadillas (with guac on the side)

There is nothing better than good old fashioned Tex-Mex, and this little combo dinner is fast, easy and sure to please you and your guests. As you are quickly finding out that I love convenience, this recipe proves that flavorful food doesn’t have to take forever to prepare. During the work week I love to hit up an obnoxiously loud and bumpin cycle class and still make time to head home, shower and whip up something that “McB”, aka my husband, will superbly enjoy – and this is one of his favorites. Another goal in my style of week night dinners is the theme of LOW carb…. after all of the damage I typically do over the weekend, it is time to GET.it.IN.gear…… Soups are a fab way to pack in veggies, fill up for hours without feeling guilty and avoid ingredients that will send you crying to your trainer (or plastic surgeon // just kidding). I paired this soup with a quesadilla for the sole reason that McB would become utterly hangry (hungry + angry) if all he had for dinner was a low calorie bowl of floating vegetables… it wasn’t easy to watch him eat this deliciously cheesy and bubbly amazingness while I just ate my soup, but I wasn’t about to blow the work I had done at spin class. The soup was perfect on it’s own, and I went to bed feeling light as a feather, sort of.

RECIPE For Three-Cheese Quesadillas

  • tortillas // corn or flour will do, but flour will taste way better
  • butter, smart butter, spray butter… whatever your heart desires
  • shredded cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack —- if you are in a pinch then a bag of any type of pre-shredded cheese will do, the reduced fat versions do not melt as well, but I use reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar frequently for a lower cal fix

PREP

  • in a medium sized skillet spray a little pam or non-stick spray — crank up your stove to medium high-ish heat
  • butter each side of two tortillas and add one to the heated pan
  • sprinkle cheese
  • cover with another tortilla, press gently with a spatula and let the magic happen
  • let it sit for a bit and once the cheese has started melting then flip it a few times until each side is golden brown
  • transfer to a plate and cut in fours
  • garnish with sour cream sprinkled with paprika, chives, sliced jalapenos, lime wedges and guacamole

RECIPE For Quick & Easy Guacamole

  • 2 medium avocados // I am really picky about avocados when I am at the grocery store (fav one is Central Market) and I like to take my time making sure the ones I select are ripe — look for black avocados that are soft to the touch but not mushy
  • lemon and lime
  • garlic salt
  • pre-made pico de gallo (most stores sell this in the produce section by the salsas or you can make your own if you are really trying to go all out… I don’t have time on work nights due to the massive amounts of Bravo television I watch)

PREP

  • slice the avocados length wise and take your knive and cut lines vertically through the avocado without breaking the peel
  • with a fork or spoon lift out the avocado and place it in small mixing bowl
  • add the juice of one lime and one lemon (the more acid = longer the dip will maintain a bright green color)
  • sprinkle garlic powder
  • fold in a few tablespoons of pico de gallo
  • mix well and this is ready to go // when preparing for a large group and increasing the batch size, be sure to leave one of the seeds hidden in the dip… this will keep it from turning brown.

RECIPE For Quick Chicken Tortilla Soup – Makes 4 Servings 

  • 1 box low sodium chicken broth
  • two cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • teaspoon of minced garlic (I use the jar version and keep it in the fridge, it lasts forever and you will always have it on hand)
  • chopped yellow onions (almost all produce sections have containers of pre chopped onions, BUY it… you will avoid crying and smelling not so hawt)
  • package of low sodium taco seasoning
  • 1 rotisserie chicken – debone and shred it
  • (optional) can of black beans and/or mexican style canned corn and cilantro for garnish

PREP For The Soup

  • over medium high heat bring two tablespoons of olive oil to a simmer in a soup pot or anodized braiser (you are now thinking what.is.that, well it’s THIS and it is the most amazing thing ever // makes soup, grills chicken, great for pasta sauce, cooking veggies – basically it is a miracle and nothing sticks to it)
  • once the evoo is simmering add in the minced garlic (teaspoon), chopped bell peppers and diced onions and sprinkle some S&P (salt and pepper – really hope you knew that already). This little medley will start smelling incred pretty quickly and soon your neighbors will start to get jealous and wonder WOW is that Bobbly Flay living next door?
  • after the pepper onion duo starts to brown, do not burn it, then pour in the chicken broth and give it a stir
  • add in the cans of tomatoes, corn and black beans
  • add the taco seasoning
  • stir and cover on medium heat for 30 minutes
  • then add in the shredded pollo (that is chicken in spanish, and you just learned a new word if you are not from Texas or unfamiliar with the Mexican culture)
  • stir and bring the stove down to a low simmer and cover for another 15 minutes
  • after about 45 minutes your soup is done and ready to be plated and beautified
  • spoon the soup into a bowl and top with a dollop of sour cream, sliced avocado, lime slices, a little cilantro and a few jalapenos if you’re feeling spicy! P.S. grated cheese is great on it too.
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