Personalize your soup for a ‘comfort food’ fit

Robin McDaniel
Crispy tortilla strips can take the place of crackers in this delicious soup.

Crispy tortilla strips can take the place of crackers in this delicious soup.

If ever there was weather that screams for “soup,” we’ve had it! Walk into a house where a pot of soup or chili simmers on the stove, and it truly is like “coming home.” I see soup as the original “comfort food,” and our cold weather has had many of soup pot out of the cabinet and on the stove.

This recipe for Tortilla Soup may not be one that mom used to make, but it is delicious and can be customized to fit your family’s likes and dislikes. For example, I love chili powder, but cumin works well in this soup, too. I like a dollop of sour cream on top of my soup, while others in the family pass on that. The crisp, baked tortilla strips on top of the soup “make” the dish for me, but my husband, Kirk, prefers crackers.

For ease of preparation, you can also substitute the 4 chicken breasts with pre-cooked, grilled chicken breast strips and cut down on preparation time.

However you alter this recipe, the basic ingredients make it a tasty soup that hits the spot on a cold evening.

Tortilla Soup

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 cans (14 oz.) each chicken broth

1/2 to 1 tsp. chili powder

1/2 cup to 3/4 cup regular, uncooked white rice (if you use the larger amount of rice, add about 1/2 cup water when rice is cooking)

1 can (15 oz.) whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained

1 cup chunky salsa (any brand)

1 tsp. dried cilantro leaves (if you have fresh cilantro, use 1 Tablespoon chopped)

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 tsp salt

Crisp Tortilla strips

Spray medium pot with any non-stick cooking spray. Add chicken to the pot, and cook until browned, turning often.

Stir in broth, chili powder, salt and rice. Heat to boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until rice is tender.

Stir in corn, salsa, cilantro and lime juice. Continue to cook on low for about 15 minutes.

Top each serving with the crisp tortilla strips.

To make crisp tortilla strips: Cut 3 to 4 corn tortillas into thin strips and place them on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake about 5 to 8 minutes in a 425 degree oven until lightly browned.

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