Joel’s Favorite Chicken Tortilla Soup…

As a new bride (5 years ago this month- yay!), I bought a soup cookbook from Williams-Sonoma so I could learn to make easy, delicious soups for my new husband. I bookmarked a ton of recipes from the book but this one always stood out to me; it claimed to be a 15-minute soup. Intriguing! I tried it and found that not only was it a quick and easy recipe, it was super scrumptious! Joel fell in love with it and I’ve been making it religiously for 5 years now. In fact, this was the very first recipe I ever blogged waaaay back in April 2008 (isn’t it cute? The pictures are just terrible!)! I thought I’d go ahead and re-blog it since it never really got the attention it so deserves. Joel never gets tired of it and as soon as soup season rolls around every year, Chicken Tortilla Soup is his first request! I’m happy to make it for him as often as he wants because I happen to love it too and like I said before- it’s EASY. This isn’t your typical high-fat, loaded with tons of ingredients chicken tortilla soup. It’s base is a flavor-packed broth seasoned with chili powder, cumin and lots of lime juice (my favorite part!), and the zucchini is an authentic addition suggested by my friend Amanda’s mother. It’s simple, full of tons of great flavor and extremely satisfying!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

6 cups chicken stock
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I like to roast or poach bone-in chicken breasts until tender, then shred the meat. Additionally, you could also use a store-bought rotisserie chicken)
half an onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 small-medium zucchinis, chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
juice from 2 large limes
salt and pepper to taste

Coat a large saucepan with olive oil over medium-high heat, add onion and zucchini and sautee until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, chipotle chile powder, salt and pepper and stir until fragrant. Pour in stock and bring to a boil. Add the shredded chicken, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the chicken is heated through. Add the lime juice and taste for seasoning. Ladle into bowls and top with and desired garnishes. Serves 4.

Garnish ideas:

crushed tortilla chips
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
sliced avocado
fresh cilantro

Recipe source: adapted from Williams-Sonoma’s Soup Made Fast


Easy Chicken Tostadas…

Hello friends! Guess what- I’m finally in my 2nd trimester and starting to feel a little better! I’m at 15 weeks now and the baby’s the size of a large navel orange- which means I’m starting to look….um, “plump”. Personally, I don’t really think I look pregnant- just fat. Oh well! :)

I made these tostadas for dinner awhile back and they tasted so good! And they’re insanely simple to make (plus, Joel grilled the chicken for me, which made it even easier)! They’re so versatile- you can use any meat you like and any toppings. A vegetarian version would be great too!

Easy Chicken Tostadas

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 can refried beans
sliced black olives
shredded cheddar cheese
shredded lettuce
1 large avocado, sliced
4 flour tortillas

For the marinade:
juice of 3 large limes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 heaping teaspoon brown sugar
handful cilantro, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the chicken and marinade in a large ziploc bag and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Remove the chicken from the bag and discard the marinade. Grill chicken pieces over medium-high heat for about 6-8 minutes, turning occasionally, until fully cooked.

Heat the refried beans in a small pan over medium heat until hot (I like to stir in a little liquid smoke and a splash of jarred jalapeno juice to jazz it up).

Spray the tortillas with a little cooking spray and place on a baking sheet; bake for about 5 minutes, until crisp. Spread each tortilla with a thin layer of beans then top with the cheese, black olives, salsa, chicken, lettuce and avocado. Serves 2.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original



Black Bean and Avocado Quesadillas…

Have I mentioned how much I love quesadillas? All you need is tortillas and cheese and you’ve got the foundation for a great weeknight dinner! This time around, I chose black beans and avocado. Black beans are so good for you and full of flavor (we love them!) and the avocado added a nice creaminess. Add in a little grated monterrey jack cheese and cilantro and you’ve got a delicious dinner! I whipped up a quick dipping sauce with ranch dressing and homemade salsa that really gave the quesadillas a nice kick. We loved this meal and I’m certain I’ll be making it again and again.

Black Bean and Avocado Quesadillas

4 large flour tortillas
1 cup grated monterrey jack cheese
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, sliced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two of the tortillas with the cheese, black beans, avocado and cilantro. Place the two remaining tortillas on top and bake for 5-7 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Slice into quarters.

If desired, mix 1/2 cup ranch salad dressing and 1/4 cup salsa for dipping. Serves 2.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original


I have to confess that one of my favorite fast-food treats is Whataburger’s breakfast taquitos. Particularly the potato, egg and cheese variety. They’re huge and full of crispy tater tots, scrambled eggs and lots of cheese. LOVE it! Unfortunately, like most places, they stop serving breakfast at 11AM, so I can’t get them at dinner time (shucks, Whataburger!), so I just made my own! These were so good and a teensy bit healthier since I didn’t deep-fry my potatoes. Topped with a big spoonful of homemade salsa, these weren’t only better than Whataburger’s, they were some of the best breakfast taquitos I’ve ever had! Go me! :)

Potato, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Taquitos

1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
half an onion, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon butter
4 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
2 large flour tortillas (I used the burrito size)
salsa, for serving (optional)

Put the potatoes in a pot and fill with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are just beginning to soften, about 5-7 minutes. You don’t want them to cook all the way; they’ll finish cooking in the skillet. Drain and set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium heat; add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the potatoes, salt and pepper and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through and starting to get brown and crisp around the edges.

In a separate skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Crack the eggs in a bowl and whisk until homogeneous. Add to the hot skillet and stir constantly, until all the eggs are scrambled. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble: Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and heat in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, until warm. Divide the eggs, potatoes and cheese between the two tortillas. Top with salsa if desired. Serves 2.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original, inspired by Whataburger (thanks, Whataburger!)


Black Bean Pie…

Here’s another winning recipe from my sweet coworker, Janna. She hosted us all for a Christmas party this year and served ALL KINDS of delicious food- including this black bean pie. I have to admit, when she first told me about it, I was a little curious about the ingredients; I wasn’t sure it sounded like something I’d like. However, after one taste, I was hooked! It’s the easiest dish in the world to whip up- canned black beans, salsa, cheese, tortillas and pie crust- that’s it! This is one of those perfect weeknight meals for when you need to feed your family in a hurry. It would be a new and fun alternative to “taco night”! It’s delicious and we both love it! Thanks, Janna, for another delicious recipe!

Black Bean Pie

2 9-inch pie crusts
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup salsa (your favorite store-bought brand or homemade)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 flour tortillas
cilantro (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Press one of the pie crusts in the bottom of a pie plate.
In a large bowl, combine the beans and salsa. Spread 1/3 of the mixture in the bottom of the pie plate. Top with 1/3 of the cheese and a sprinkling of cilantro, then one of the flour tortillas. Repeat with another 1/3 of the bean mixture, cheese and cilantro and tortilla. Finally, spread the last of the bean mixture, cheese and cilantro. Top with the 2nd pie crust and seal the edges. Make 4 small slits in the center of the crust with a small knife.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Serve with sour cream and additional cilantro, if desired.

Recipe source: my friend Janna, who got it from her mother


Breakfast Tostadas…

I’m one of those people that loves breakfast-for-dinner. For me, it’s like a special treat getting eggs or pancakes or biscuits and gravy at dinner. I used to love it when my mom would make breakfast for dinner – she’d fix a huge cast iron skillet full of scrambled eggs, a big plate of biscuits, sausage gravy, jelly and coffee. My dad is the pancake maker- as long as I can remember, he’s always been the one in charge of pancakes, which we’d also have for dinner a lot. YUM! I seriously LOVE breakfast-for-dinner! What a concept! So, naturally, I like to make it myself as often as possible. The other night, neither of us could decide what we wanted for dinner, so I rummaged around in the fridge and came up with this knock-out recipe. It’s one of those lovely “throw it all in” recipes that I just adore so much. You can put in whatever you like! Onions, potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes…the possibilities for dish like this are endless! A perfect breakfast or breakfast-for-dinner meal!

Breakfast Tostadas

4 flour tortillas
1 tablespoon butter
6 eggs
1/4 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled into pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
4-5 slices jarred jalapenos, chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salsa, for serving
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tortillas on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 5-7 minutes, until slightly crisp. Set aside.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Place the eggs in a large bowl and whisk until homogeneous. Stir in the cooked bacon, peppers and salt and pepper. Pour into hot skillet and stir continuously until eggs are completely cooked and scrambled (about 5 minutes).

Lay two tortillas on each plate. Top with the scrambled egg mixture, shredded cheese and salsa. Serves 2.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original


I really love quesadillas. They’re so versatile- you can just throw in whatever you have on hand for a delicious meal! Have leftover grilled chicken? Throw it in! That’s the beauty of quesadillas; they transform ordinary leftovers into a whole new meal! However, the ingredients I used for these quesadillas were definitely not leftovers- I specifically bought them with this recipe in mind because I just couldn’t wait to try them! It wasn’t very cold outside, so I had Joel grill up some chicken breasts lightly brushed with barbecue sauce, then I sliced them thinly and paired them with sliced tomatoes, avocados, Monterrey Jack cheese and a little cilantro- WOW, what a quick, delicious meal! These were so good, I made them again the following night! I served them with some oven baked sweet potato fries and it was the perfect meal. One I’ll be making on a regular basis.

Chicken, Avocado and Tomato Quesadillas
-my own recipe

4 flour tortillas
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
barbecue sauce, for brushing
salt and pepper
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1 tomato, thinly sliced
1/2-3/4 cup Monterrey Jack cheese (depending on how cheesy you like them)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then brush with barbecue sauce and grill over medium-high heat, until fully cooked (approximately 6 minutes on each side). Remove from grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice into thin strips.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place two of the tortillas on a baking sheet and top each with half of the cheese. Top with the chicken, then sliced avocado and tomato. Sprinkle the remainder of the cheese and the cilantro. Place the other two tortillas on top. Brush the outer edges with a little water to keep them from turning up during baking (you can even do this with your finger).
Bake for approximately 6-8 minutes, until cheese is fully melted. Cut into quarters and serve.

Serves 2.


Easy Mexican Casserole…

Here’s another one of my mom’s recipes. She’s made this one for as long as I can remember and my family has always loved it! Mexican Casserole. It’s super easy to make and always a crowd-pleaser. If you ever need a dish for a large crowd, I’d recommend this one- you can double or triple the recipe and even make it ahead of time. My mom makes a big one and freezes the leftovers- it keeps beautifully! Perfect for potlucks, Mexican-themed dinner parties or even Sunday Night Football!

My Mom’s Mexican Casserole

1 pound lean ground beef
1 can Ranch Style beans
1 10-12 ounce bag tortilla chips, crushed
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 package taco seasoning
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup water
sour cream and salsa for serving

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large skillet, brown meat and drain off fat. Stir in beans, tomatoes, onion, taco seasoning, soup and water. Simmer over medium-low heat until everything is well combined and heated through.

Grease a 9×13 casserole dish. Put down a layer of crushed tortilla chips, followed by a layer of the meat/bean mixture, then half of the cheddar cheese. Repeat layers. Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until bubbly.
Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Top with sour cream and salsa. Enjoy!


Southwestern Skillet…

I always, always, always have cans of black beans, diced tomatoes and Mexi-corn in my pantry (Mexi-corn is just canned corn with chopped red and green peppers). They can transform pretty much anything into a spicy, fun, Tex-Mexy meal- which we just love. The other night I had some leftover grilled chicken breasts that were really tasty and I wanted to use them up. This dish was born. It started out just a way for me to use up leftovers and pantry staples, but ended up being one heck of a delicious meal- we couldn’t get enough of it! In fact, I can’t wait to make it again- it was SO easy and really, really delicious. The Ranch dressing really give it a fantastic flavor! If you find yourself in need of a recipe to use up leftover chicken, steak, ground beef, or whatever you have- this is for you! Give it a try!

Southwestern Skillet

2 fully cooked chicken breasts, diced into small pieces
1 can black beans
1 can Mex-corn (regular corn would work just fine too)
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 red onion, diced
handful chopped cilantro (reserve some for the top)
1 packet taco seasoning (I didn’t use the entire packet, but if you feel like you want more spice, add the whole thing)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 shredded cheddar cheese (reserve some for the top)
2 large or 4 small tortillas
Ranch dressing
jarred pickled jalapenos

*Feel free to add in any additional vegetables you have on hand- bell peppers would work great, or even zucchini or potatoes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the diced onion until translucent; add the chicken, beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, taco seasoning, sour cream and cheese. Stir to combine. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the cheese melts.
Spray the tortillas with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet; bake for 5 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crisp.

Top the tortillas with the skillet mixture then drizzle with ranch dressing. Top with jalapenos, cilantro and cheese. Serves 2-3. Enjoy! We sure did!


I just want to start off by saying, there are tons and tons of food blogs out there. Many with better pictures than mine, better writing skills, and just better overall food-blogginess; yet you’re here right now, reading mine. So thanks. Thanks for sticking with me and reading my silly posts and taking the time to comment- it really makes my day. My pictures may not be crystal clear and totally flawless, but you know what? I sort of like them that way- that’s exactly how our food looks before we sit down and dig in. I don’t spend an hour adding tiny pieces of parsley, or taking a cloth and wiping away stray crumbs or melted cheese that doesn’t belong. I like stray crumbs. :) And I like my blog. And I’m thrilled beyond words that you like it too. So again, thanks. Thanks for being really fantastic readers. I really, really love you all.

Ok, now that I’m done being sappy- here is a fantastic recipe for quesadillas. We made these this weekend and ate like big-fat-pigs! I was originally going to make these (do those not look insanely delicious?! I can’t wait to try them!), but didn’t have any bbq sauce. Then I remembered how much we adored the chicken kabobs I made a few weeks ago, and decided to just make quesadillas out of them (Good call, Amy!). These were cheesy, slightly sweet, a little spicy….a totally delicious meal! Can’t wait to make them again!

Grilled Chicken, Pineapple and Veggie Quesadillas

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Lime Ponzu, plus more for brushing (If you don’t have this, just use soy sauce, a pinch of sugar and a little lime juice)
fresh pineapple, sliced (you’ll only need about 1/4 of the whole pineapple)
1 red bell pepper, cut into slices
1 red onion, sliced into rings
1 jalapeno pepper
pepperjack cheese
large tortillas

Place the chicken in a large ziploc bag with 1/2 cup of the ponzu and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
After 2 hours, grill the chicken over medium-high heat (about 5 minutes on each side). When the chicken is nearly done, add the peppers, onion and pineapple to the grill and brush with the additional ponzu while cooking. Turn only once and remove as soon as the chicken is done cooking.
Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then slice diagonally.

To assemble: preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle a little pepperjack cheese on two tortillas (as much as you like- I used about 1/3 cup for each), then top with the sliced chicken, pineapple, peppers and onion. Top with a sprinkling of cilantro then place another tortilla on top of each. Bake for about 5 minutes, just long enough for the cheese to melt.
Cut quesadillas into 4 pieces. Serves 2.

*To keep the edges of the tortillas from curling up on the sides, dip your finger in a little water and brush along the outer edge of the tortilla just before baking.