Tortilla Soup by Pioneer Woman


Recipe: Chicken Tortilla Soup


  • 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Diced Onion
  • 1/4 cup Diced Green Bell Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 can (10 Oz. Can) Rotel Tomatoes And Green Chilies
  • 32 ounces, fluid Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 4 cups Hot Water
  • 2 cans (15 Oz. Can) Black Beans, Drained
  • 3 Tablespoons Cornmeal Or Masa
  • 5 whole Corn Tortillas, Cut Into Uniform Strips Around 2 To 3 Inches
  • _____
  • Diced Avocado
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Salsa Or Pico De Gallo
  • Cilantro

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix.

Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.

Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.

Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed—add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips.

Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, and grated cheese, if you have it! (The garnishes really make the soup delicious.)

 My family had this dish when we were all together in the mountains to get our Christmas trees. Everyone absolutely loved it, even the little kids! It is very filling for a soup! Make sure you have plenty of avocado if you are omitting dairy toppings. You won’t even miss them!


My Sisters’ Sausage, Pepper, and Potato Bake

I joke to my sister Jenny that when her son Tommy is older and naughty, she just needs to remind him that for half of the first year of his life she hate the same five foods only, just so he would be happy. That should quiet him. Seriously, she did because of his sensitive stomach. Potatoes, pears…I forget the rest, but I do know it is miraculous she still enjoys sweet potatoes as much as she ate them. This is a dish she still makes and her hubby loves. I think our other sister Julie found the recipe somewhere, but I don’t know where it came from. This is how I make it. It is so delicious.


  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 white potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • lb. of chicken or pork sausage links
  • 1-2 peppers, all colors
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions: Dice all vegetables to the same size, about the size of a dice! Slice the pepper links into about 8 pieces each. Mix everything together with olive oil, salt and pepper, and cook on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. It’s better the longer it has to carmelize!

Top Ten Sneaky Ways to Cook Colds Away

Alright, listen. I am not (obviously) a doctor. I’m not even one of those moms who’s like a homeopathic doctor (Aunt Rebecca :). But I am good at researching. And I am creative. So this past week, when Sam and Ty both got colds and I was reminded how stinkin’ annoying they are, I thought, “Now what did I read about foods that keep colds away…? How can I sneak them in their lunches…?”

So here is my lame attempt to a) prevent one less round of colds in our house, and b) sneakily get my kids to eat immunity-boosting foods. Again, I am no expert. I just googled “immunity-boosting foods” and thought of ways to get my kids to eat them 🙂

  1. Eat Berry Oatmeal with wheat germ. Both blueberries and oats boost immunity. Wheat germ is packed with anti-oxidants. Follow my blog’s “recipe” for breakfast a few days a week!
  2. Add four cloves of garlic to every night of dinner. Yup, I’m serious. Perhaps excepting breakfast for dinner, it is totally doable. Garlic is on like every list of immunity-boosting foods. This would be a big step to prevent colds. Also, ps, buy some mouthwash.
  3. Serve sweet potatoes four times a week for your side dish. If you bake them twice, mash them once, make them into fries later, and then serve them for leftovers at lunch a time or two, there you go! Sweet potatoes are REALLY good immunity-boosting.
  4. Grate up carrots into everything you can think of. On sandwiches. In red sauce. Added to buttered noodles. Rolled up inside a tortilla turkey wrap. All that beta carotine boosts the immune system.
  5. Also add sauteed mushrooms to anything you can think of. You can add to burgers, pasta sauce, fajitas, fried rice…almost any genre of food 🙂 Mushrooms for some reason are thought of as great for the immune system. I read, “Animal studies have also shown mushrooms to have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-tumor effects” (
  6. Make a soup with any colored cabbage once a week. Cabbage provides immune-boosting “glutathione,” I hear. Now, I recommend slivering it up pretty good in your little one’s dish to pass the visual inspection.
  7. Serve oranges every day at lunch. That vitamin C is all-important.
  8. Mix a bunch of wheat germ into everything you bake (if allergies permit). Or mix into smoothies, pancake mix, cereal, or oatmeal. Wheat germ has many antioxidants.
  9. Sneak spinach into a meal EVERY DAY. A sliver on a sandwich. Sauteed in sauce. A few leaves in bribed down in exchange for dessert. Spinach is one of those “super-foods.” (
  10. Reduce sugar intake in cold and flu season and instead eat real foods. So this is really a “don’t” more than a “do.” But I think it is important. The more we all eat whole foods (fruits, vegetables, unprocessed meats) over processed snacks, the better our immune system functions. A few ways I will try to do this: Reduce purchases of cookies, fruit snacks, etc. Instead, get in the habit of offering applesauce, raisins, soy yogurt,  bananas, dried apricots, and berries as snacks.

Good luck! 🙂


top ten things to do with that Crock Pot

Here is this week’s Tuesday Top Ten. {Yup, it’s Thursday}. 

Is there really anything more wonderful that walking in the house, starving, and smelling something amazing simmering in crock pot? There probably is, but you get the point. Here are some ideas to use that perfect fall appliance 🙂 

  1. Crock-pot Mexican Chicken, served over rice on tortillas. Highly recommend!
  2. Old Timey Beef Stew – Paula Deen’s recipe, in the crock pot.
  3. Pasta Fagioli via crock pot – serve with italian salad and rolls, if you wish.
  4. Becky Lee’s Pulled Beef Barbeque – my blog’s winning recipe!!! Delish!
  5. Slow Cooker Pot Roast
  6. Crock-pot Rotisserie Chicken – I recently made this and it is soooo good. Melts in your mouth!
  7. Roasted White Beans – this is a knock-off dish from a local restaurant called Zoe’s. You might think, beans, that’s it? Waste of a dish? But nooooo, trust me. These beans are so good. You will eat them on tortillas, aside chicken, as a dip for corn chips, out of the bowl, and, probably, for dessert later. They are great. Just follow the recipe except with a crock-pot. Make sure you use enough olive oil. *Recipe coming soon* (or ask my sister Julie:) 
  8. Turkey Breast – Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cook until tender. Serve with mashed potatoes and frozen green beans.
  9. Black Bean Chili – the classic crock pot dish, with a twist.
  10. Sweet and Sour Party Meatballs – {omit eggs and substitute rice milk, and you have the perfect – allergy free – party dish!}


I owe my cousin Rebecca Wetzel the credit for many good things in life. She introduced me to the world’s best dog, the dachshund. She knows how to make nachos, and the best toppings for pizza. When I wondered what the difference between conservatives and liberals was, she was the first person I asked. (And her tenth-grade explanation was probably better than any I would articulate now.) She pioneered the path to Grove City College, where I found my closest friends, met my husband, and – in about every way – grew up. She is a hero of mine for many reasons, and her culinary art is just cheese on the fries. (Get it? Icing on the cake?)

Rebecca submitted two of her all-star recipes for my blog’s recipe contest. This Pulled Beef Barbeque recipe is terrific. I think the first time I had it was in Rebecca’s apartment where it had been simmering for a few hours. If I remember correctly, I ate it for about three meals that day. Here are Rebecca’s notes.

This came from Taste of Home about 18 yes ago or so. It is designed to be eaten on rolls as a sandwich, but if allergies prevent that, it would be good straight of the plate, too. This can be made ahead of time. It reheats very well, especially in a crock pot.

4 lbs chuck roast (it can be in more than one piece)
3 Tbs cooking oil
2 large onions, minced
1 cup ketchup
1 cup beef broth
2/3 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbs worchestire sauce
2 Tbs yellow mustard
2 Tbs molasses
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp black pepper

Add the oil to a deep skillet and brown the beef on all sides. Remove the beef and place into a roasting pan. Add all other ingredients to the skillet. Bring to a oil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour this liquid over the beef. Cover and roast at 325 for 2 hours. Flip beef over. Cover and roast for another 2 hours. It should be tender enough to easily pull apart with a fork Remove the meat from the roaster and shred. Put the shredded beef back into the liquid and mix together.

I highly recommend this recipe. Goes great for Saturday football days! Thanks for passing along, Rebecca!

Healthy (er) Sloppy Joe

The men in my house LOVE some sloppy joes. Okay, okay, I admit it…I love them too. Sloppy joes are allergy-friendly (served with your choice of dairy-free or gluten -free bread, or even on top of a baked potato…yum!). And contrary to their bad rap, they can be healthy (er). Here’s how. This recipe is my own, and so good. We lick the pan, honest to goodness. I based my sauce off of America’s Test Kitchen BBQ sauce recipe, found in their Family Cookbook.


1/2 lb ground turkey

onion, diced small

green pepper, diced small

3 carrots, shredded

1/2 c ketchup (preferably free of corn syrup)

some mustard

1/3 c brown sugar (you can use molasses or maple syrup instead)

ground pepper


Brown the meat and cook onions and peppers. When meat is done, add shredded carrots. Don’t cook them too much, so they’ll retain their food value. Then mix together rest of ingredients in a bowl. Taste it…you may need more sugar, syrup, etc. When it tastes good, pour into meat and cook until heated. Enjoy over bread or baked potato.


Whitney’s Peach Chicken

My friend Whitney has made this twice for me now: once when I had Sam, and once when I had Ty! I’m pretty sure I was salivating over it while pregnant with #2 as I hoped she might bring it again 🙂 It is, as you can see, really simple. But so tasty!


3 boneless chicken breasts

cannned BBQ sauce (Whitney likes honey BBQ sauce)

jarred peach preserves

red and green pepper, cut in chunks

onion, sliced

can of pineapple chunks

Instructions: Take your chicken breasts and, while raw, cut into cubes. Put them in a heated non-stick skillet. Immediately add 1/2 can of BBQ sauce, 1/2 can of peach preserves (maybe more), and rest of ingredients. Cook on medium heat until chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice. Sweet and sour chicken in fifteen minutes! Perfection!

Top Ten Lunch Ideas for Toddlers (Allergic or not!)

Welcome to second edition of Tuesday Top Ten.  If you haven’t tried one of these, it’s possible your little one might like it! Sometimes I’m surprised what Sam likes and doesn’t like. And also, by what he can be bribed to eat with a yummy dessert treat 🙂 Each of these has a protein, fat, and a carb. I will always add whatever fruit he eats that’s in season. (Currently, oranges, pears, and banana?) Anyone else have good lunch ideas for allergic kids?

  1. Hormel Natural choice lunchmeat, rolled in tortilla (corn or wheat) and spread with dairy-free butter. Add tomato slices if you have time!
  2. Cooked brown rice, black beans, olive oil, a tinge of mild salsa, wrapped in a corn or flour tortilla.
  3. Canned white chicken pieces (Swanson’s Natural), drizzled with olive oil and wheat crackers.
  4. Canned white beans, olive oil, mixed with seashell noodles and salt and pepper. His favorite!
  5. Sunbutter and jelly sandwich. (Thanks to my friend Ashley for this suggestion!)
  6. Homemade hummus (smash up white beans and olive oil) with crackers and carrot sticks. Sam really loves homemade hummus!
  7. Cooked chicken breast (or leftover Rotisserie chicken) on bread smeared with avocado and a small tomato slice (Like so small they don’t realize it’s there :).
  8. Sliced lunchmeat and fruit salad. (Chop up banana, grapes, oranges and berries.)
  9. Amy’s Black Bean Burrito. (This does contain wheat.)
  10. Coleman’s Own Organic Chicken nuggets (contain wheat), sliced fruit, side of crackers.

And, bonus: our #1 lunch-on-the-run that is (far as I can tell) TOTALLY allergy friendly, Chick-fil-a kids meal GRILLED nuggets and fries kids’ meal with lemonade. I always say Sam has allergies and they know exactly what I want…guess they do it often. But ps, if your kids don’t have allergies it’s just a healthier fast-food option. LOVE some Chick-fil-a!!

i love lentils. (who knew?)

You are not alone if the words “lentil soup” don’t exactly make you start salivating. Honestly, I decided make Giada’s Lentil soup because every magazine I’ve picked up in the last month has had some feature on the stupid things and how they revolutionize your health. So I felt obligated. Giada’s recipe had over 500 RAVE reviews, which made me a little more hopeful. And honestly, it was delicious. Not “delicious,” like, healthy/delicious. Reeeally, good! I am happy to pass this along. A few notes. She calls for “a pound bag, or 1 1/4 c cup of lentils.” Well I don’t know if bags are sized differently in Italy or California or wherever Giada is making up her lentils, but here in NC a pound bag is more like THREE 1/4 cup lentils. I only used 1 1/4 c. and it was PLENTY of lentils. I soaked them overnight. One of the reviews said to make sure you give the tomatoes plenty of time to “break down.”  I did this. Anyway, I highly recommend this recipe!

Giada’s Lentil Soup


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound lentils (approximately 1 1/4 cups)
  • 11 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2/3 cup dried elbow pasta
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan (I omited)


Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and saute until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices. Simmer until the juices evaporate a little and the tomatoes break down, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the lentils and mix to coat. Add the broth and stir. Add the thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are almost tender, about 30 minutes.

 Stir in the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

 Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.

New Feature: Tuesday Top Ten

Welcome to a new feature! I love making lists 🙂 Check in on Tuesdays for top ten somethings! In the interest of full disclosure, it may not always be Tuesday, there may not be ten, and, heck, it might be more like “good things” instead of “the TOP.” But whatever. 🙂

So without any further adu, today’s list is….Top Ten Fall Soups. I love soup this time of year. My only problem is somehow it ends up being 80 degrees on the day my soup is boiling on the stove. But we still enjoy it.:)

Top Ten Fall Soups

  1. Caribbean Sweet Potato Chili – This soup has two strikes. Weird flavor combos (sweet potatoes ? caribbean? soup?) But also, it is by Sandra Lee, who definitely has a knack for matchy matchy kitchens, but I am not in love with all her recipes. But trust me here, folks…YUMMY.
  2. my mom’s Chicken and Dumplings (recipe coming)
  3. Black Bean Soup 
  4. Pasta Fagioli – Olive Garden anyone? Now if I could only have the breadsticks…
  5. Tortilla Soup – Okay this is more of a summer recipe. But heck, avocadoes are still on sale. This is a great recipe.
  6. Ham and Bean Soup – don’t hate. It’s awesome.
  7. French Onion Soup (love this recipe…uses Balsamic Vinegar instead of wine!)
  8. Roasted Vegetable Minestrone – I have not actually made this version of minestrone! Sorry…but it actually looks better than the one I made, so I will be trying it soon.
  9. White Bean and Chicken Chili – I get cravings for this once a month. Odd. Yet, not? 🙂
  10. Old Timey Beef Stew (it’s what a man wants.)

What’s your favorite soup?