Sunday, March 31, 2013

Soup Season

Well, soup season is almost over. Once the weather starts to warm up, soup just sounds to eat until fall comes again.

I was able to slip in a couple more soup recipes before it got to warm. If spring surprises us with a crazy cold day, you should make some soup to warm yourself up!

The first recipe is one I found on Pinterest. I made a few changes to the original recipe, so I will print both versions here. The second one is a soup recipe that my mom made for one of our family dinners. It is from one of her favorite recipe blogs.

Our Version of Cafe Rio's Chicken Tortilla Soup (Original Recipe found on


1 onion, diced
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. cumin
a dash (or two) of cayenne
1/2 tsp. chili powder
5 cups chicken broth
3 tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
Pepper, to taste
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp. taco seasoning
1 tbsp. paprika
Vegetable oil (to taste)
Pico de gallo
2-3 avocados, diced
2 cups pepper jack cheese
tortilla strips
cilantro, for garnish
lime wedges, for garnish


In a small skillet, saute onion in 1 tbsp. oil until onions become slightly soft. Stif in cumin, cayenne, and chili powder, and saute an additional minute or two.

Transfer seasoned onions to a small crock pot (or medium-sized saucepan). Add chicken broth, cilantro, lime juice, pepper, and pinto beans to onions and simmer on low-heat for at least 2-3 hours.

In the meantime (when you are close to serving), combine taco seasoning and paprika. Brush chicken with oil, and rub with taco seasoning/paprika mixture. Grill chicken over medium-heat until cooked through (try to turn only once during the grilling process). Remove from grill and shred.

In individual bowls, layer chicken, about 1/3 cup pico de gallo, 1/3 cup diced avocado, and 1/3 cup pepper jack cheese. Ladle about 1 cup of chicken broth directly over the layers. Top with tortilla strips and garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.

Source: Favorite Family Recipes, found here. You should definitely check out this blog. It's great. Plus, there are some scrumptious looking pictures of this recipe! Her pictures are waaaaay better than mine. I was in a hurry to get this soup served up, so it didn't look the prettiest.

Cafe Rio's Chicken Tortilla Soup aka Build Your Own Chicken Tortilla Soup (My version)


1 onion, diced
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cayenne
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 packet taco seasoning (about 3 tbsp.)
1 tbsp. paprika
4 (14 oz) cans of chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz) cans pinto beans
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp. lime juice (fresh or bottled)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Favorite Toppings/Add-ins:

Pico de gallo or salsa (store bought or favorite homemade recipe)
Diced avocados, or guacamole
Shredded cheese, such as pepper jack, cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Mexican cheese blend
Tortilla strips (store bought or homemade)
Chopped or torn silantro
Lime wedges
Corn (white shoepeg corn is really good in this soup)
Sour cream
Thinly sliced radishes
Sliced green onions


In a small skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add diced onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in cumin, cayenne, chili powder, taco seasoning, and paprika. Add chicken broth and pinto beans and bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, poach chicken. Once chicken is cooked, shred with two forks. Add shredded chicken to the broth mixture. Simmer soup on low for an hour.

Prepare your choice of toppings and mix-ins for people to choose from.

Add lime juice and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro to the soup just before serving.

Ladle about 1 1/2 cups soup into each bowl. Let everyone add in their desired toppings and mix-ins so that they can build their own soup.

Be sure to serve the soup piping hot because the toppings and mix-ins will lower the temperature of the soup considerably.

Source: This soup was inspired by the soup recipe above from Family Favorite Recipes. I only changed some of the amounts of the spices used, and I changed the method of preparation slightly.

Notes: I changed some of the preparation because I felt like poached chicken would be more moist and tender than grilled. I also thought that putting the chicken directly in the soup would distribute it more evenly throughout. I also liked the idea of a sort of tortilla soup bar (instead of a salad bar). You know, to give people the basics and let them build on it by adding their own choice of toppings.

I ate this a few different times and tried a few different variations. I ate it with diced avocado, tortilla strips, pepper jack, and pico de gallo. I tried it with cheddar instead of pepper jack. I added corn one of the times. I ate it without any toppings another time. This soup is just fantastic anyway you serve it!

 Slow Cooker Nacho Chicken Soup


1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts or thighs (or a mixture of the two)
2 (14 oz) cans chicken broth
2 (7 oz) cans diced green chiles (or substitute 1 can with jalapenos)
1 package taco seasoning
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
2 cups crushed nacho-flavored chips (like Doritos), or baked tortilla chips

Topping Options:

Chopped cilantro
Sliced olives
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped red or green bell peppers
Diced avocado
Tortilla chips
Grated cheese
Shredded lettuce
Hot sauce


Place about 1 1/2 pounds of boneless chicken breasts or thighs in the slow cooker.

Add broth, chiles, a package of taco seasoning, and cream of chicken soup. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours, or on low for 6 to 8 hours.

About a half hour before serving, use a large slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the pot and place in a medium-size bowl to cool slightly.

While the chicken is cooling, stir sour cream, cilantro, crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, beans, and corn into the soup.

With two large forks, shred the chicken. Return the chicken into the pot, and stir well before serving.

Let each guest customize their bowl with topping options such as chopped cilantro, sliced olives, chopped tomatoes, salsa, chopped red or green peppers, diced avocados, or guacamole, tortilla chips, grated cheese, shredded lettuce, and hot sauce.

Source: Recipe from a book called "Soup's On!" by Valerie Phillips, and found on the blog Chew and Chat. You can find the recipe here.


  1. The Nacho chicken soup was really good. Thickening up the soup with doritos was a masterful touch. Niel and Emily both loved eating it for days afterward.

  2. I made that cafe rio soup from pinterest. It is good. The grilled chicken added a nice touch. I think it is kind of what sets it apart from other tortilla soups