Tortilla Soup

As part of lent, I’m trying to do less time wasting. Which means no facebook (except to link to new blog posts) and instead of just spending wasteful hours on pinterest, pinning things that I’ll probably never do or wishing for things that I don’t have, I’m making an effort to actually spend time making some of the recipes and crafts that I pin. I really would like to be more creative and spend time doing things that I love instead of spending all of my spare time with my face in front of a computer. I get enough of that at work every day, thank you very much.

All of that to say, this lovely tortilla soup recipe caught my eye on pinterest (originally from the Cooking Photographer) and I am so glad that I tried it! It was pretty dang easy, made for a ton of leftovers, and was oh-so-delicious topped with avocado, a bit of cheese, and tortilla chips.

I also had been lookin’ for a good soup recipe so I could use up some of my homemade veggie broth. It has just been hanging out in my freezer for a few months now, waiting to be used up on something delicious. Well, veggie broth, your time has come. I had wondered if it would taste any different than store-bought broth, but it tasted great. It also felt good knowing exactly what went into it – no preservatives or ingredients that I could barely read the names of – just vegetables and water. I think I also had been delaying using it because I thought that it might take forever to defrost and I would have to leave it out overnight before using it (of course, you could heat it up to quicken the process), but it wasn’t a problem. I just set the container out on the counter around lunchtime and most of it had thawed by the time I was ready to make dinner.

Anyway, enough about the veggie stock. Onto the soup…

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sweet paprika (or regular paprika will do)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons light colored oil
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (4 ounce) can diced mild green chiles, drained
2 (10 ounce) cans RoTel Diced Tomatoes with Lime & Cilantro*
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
4 cups vegetable broth
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
Juice of 1/2 a lime

*I couldn’t find the diced tomatoes with lime & cilantro. Instead, I got regular canned tomatoes, and added a couple tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro and the juice of 1/2 a lime to the soup (In addition to the 1/2 a lime that the recipe already calls for).

1. In a small bowl, mix together cumin, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, coriander, salt and black pepper. Set aside.

2. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and peppers. Sauté until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the spices and garlic, and cook for 2 minutes.

3. Add the green chile peppers, diced tomatoes, corn, and veggie broth. Cook until warmed through.

4. Add the black beans and cook for 2 minutes before serving. Squeeze in lime juice. Serve in bowls and garnish as desired.

Yum!

I apologize for the horrid lighting. The soup, on the other hand, is anything but horrid. It’s the perfect winter meal, loaded with veggies and some spice (but not too spicy)! Enjoy it!

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One last summer salad

Well, it looks like fall is here after all in the Windy City. On Monday it was 85 and sunny. Today is 62 and cloudy. I love fall! I love the crunchy leaves on the sidewalk, a chill in the air, and most of all soup! I love making soup in the fall. But I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. More on fall soup recipes another day.

I had most of the ingredients on hand to make one last summery salad. This was my faaaavorite salad this summer. Oh my goodness, so flavorful and so simple. I made it for parties, cookouts, and potlucks and everyone loved it! Everyone. Really. I first discovered it on a friend’s tumblr, but I recently found the source of the recipe on Pinterest.

Side note – can we talk about how much I love Pinterest? I could spend hours scrolling through everybody’s pins (especially the food. Drool.) Want to be my Pinterest friend? You can find me here.

OK, anyway – a friend pinned this recipe, so I was able to find the original source of this tasty dish. It came from Jehan Can Cook. Thank you Jehan!

I modified the recipe just a bit.

Corn, Avocado & Tomato Salad
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in halves. (I prefer heirloom tomatoes)
2 ripe avocados, roughly chopped
3-4 ears fresh sweet corn OR one bag frozen corn (of course, it’s way better with fresh corn!)
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Dressing
Juice of 1 lime (Lemon juice is fine, too. I’ve got a big bottle of it in the fridge, so that’s usually what I use)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp sea salt
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (the original calls for 1 clove, but hey, garlic is awesome. go crazy)
Ground pepper to taste
Dash of cayenne pepper

As you can see, I’m doing the lazy version of the recipe, and using frozen fire roasted corn from Trader Joe’s. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any fresh corn. Also, I didn’t have cilantro. It’s still good without it, but the cilantro adds the perfect flavor to the recipe, so I would definitely recommend using it.

If you’re using fresh corn, you can grill it as the original recipe calls for, or if you’re like me and don’t own a grill, boiling is fine. If you’re using frozen corn and making the recipe a few hours before it will be eaten, you can just throw the corn as is in the bowl, and it will defrost on its own.

If you’ve got fresh corn, after grilling or boiling, cut the corn off the cob and set aside to cool.

Add all of the ingredients for dressing in a bowl, and whisk to combine.

Mmmmm, can’t you just smell the garlic? (If you’re wondering what the floaty things are – that’s the garlic skins. I pull them out of the garlic press after I use it and throw them in. I don’t like to waste food.)

Now add your tomatoes…

Look at all those pretty tomatoes! …. After you’ve admired your tomatoes, you can add the avocado, corn, and cilantro! Mix gently, making sure not to smush your avocado. You can throw it in the fridge for an hour if you want to serve it chilled, but I think it tastes great, warm corn and all.

Voila! This recipe will serve 6-8.

Enjoy this one… because it’s going to be a long time until summer comes around again.