My biggest problems cooking for myself are as follows:

  1. I’m busy and don’t have time to cook.
  2. When I’m not busy, I’m lazy. Pizza rolls, egg sandwiches, and bagels are not an uncommon dinner.

However, turns out that when I actually have time to cook, I can successfully make foods such as this soup.  Mom’s tortilla soup was a favorite meal of mine growing up and while I didn’t make it just like hers, I think I came pretty darn close.

 

Heart healthy tortilla soup. Photo: Alex Tekip

Heart Healthy Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (16 oz.) fat-free refried beans
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) low-fat or fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 can (5 oz.) 94 percent fat-free chunk chicken, drained or broiled chicken breast (or  do what I did just rip apart a store-bought rotisserie chicken, it’s a little nasty but it’s easy…plus it leaves you with leftovers)
  • 1 can (11oz.) whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) black or navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ cup chunky salsa OR 1 can of diced tomatoes (or even a combination of both)
  • 1 package of taco seasoning
  • 2 cups (1 bag) light shredded cheese
  • Tortilla chips 

Although I was initially scared by the list of ingredients, it proved to be highly unintimidating. Plus the preparation that followed was super quick and much easier than I thought.

  1. Combine the first seven ingredients in an appropriately sized pot.
  2. Bring the soup to a boil over medium height stirring until the refried beans have completely melted and mixed with all of the other ingredients.
  3. Turn the heat to low and let the soup simmer for 10 minutes. Be sure to check on the soup and stir it occasionally during this time.
  4. Add 1 cup (1/2 the bag) of shredded cheese into the soup and stir until melted.
  5. To serve, crush a handful or tortilla chips and places them at the bottom of the bowl. Pour soup into bowl and sprinkle some shredded cheese on top if desired.

I had only intended on making this dinner to share with one of my friends, but a bunch unexpectedly showed up and to my surprise, everyone ended up loving the soup! One friend told me he was bummed I didn’t leave any extra for him and the other two told me they couldn’t stop talking about how good it was…three days after I had made it. I felt like a real chef, if only for a day. Heart healthy tortilla soup is not only a quick and easy dinner, but also a great way to impress friends. Heat, re-heat, and enjoy!

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