Chicken Tortilla Soup

While some people don’t think of the warmer months as soup season, I can’t help turning the stuff away just because the thermometer rises. I just cook different kinds of soups than I do in the winter months! Lighter fare, full of good things – like veggies, and beans. Enter, Chicken Tortilla Soup. I still have a stockpile of whole chickens from my dad that I’ve been trying to use (there will no doubt be another 10 chickens soon to follow!) and making homemade chicken stock and soup is always my favorite thing to do with the small fryers.

Now, there are differing approaches to tortilla soup. Some recipes called for adding the uncooked tortillas right in the soup – which is okay. But, I kind of wanted them slightly crunchy. And, toasting anything totally brings out the flavor more – always a good thing.

So I did the soup on it’s own, then fried up some tortilla strips and served the soup on a few strips of those. They softened up, and released their tortilla-ey goodness into the soup, but still retained a slight crunch. I kept the ingredient list fairly simple. Chicken, black beans, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, and corn – all in a delicious seasoned chicken broth. We all really enjoyed it. It was a meal that filled us up, without weighing us down. And, leftovers were great all week long!

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

I can’t say enough wonderful things about this soup. Definitely didn’t see this one coming! Dad brought us another stockpile of whole fryer chickens – which is the perfect size to roast, then break down and turn into soup. But, we wanted something a little different. While I love my classics (chicken and noodle, chicken and rice) I wanted something a little different. I had a half a box of orzo, and some pretty lemons – so I went to Google to see what it could direct me too.

It led me to this recipe from Cooking Light, and it turned out exceptional. We enjoyed it for dinner last Sunday night, I ate the leftovers for lunch all week long, and was disappointed when it was all gone! Which, isn’t like me at all – I’m usually over leftovers on day 2. The lemon in it is just perfect – not enough to make you pucker or be overpowering – but just enough to brighten up the flavor of the broth.

I also think it’s a great dish to segue into spring. Still a warm and comforting soup on a chilly evening, but brings the fresh flavors of lemon and fresh parsley to the table. I’m already thinking about the next time we’ll make it! All of us in the house are still thinking and talking about this one. Definitely a new family favorite.

Navy Bean Soup

For a good chunk of my life, I was completely turned off by bean soup. Come to think of it, I was pretty much disgusted by all beans. Silly little girl. I’m happy to report that in the past couple years, beans have become a staple in my kitchen. I like to keep bagged dried beans on hand for meals like this, but also canned beans for a quick meal or side dish.

This navy bean soup is the first instance in which I “saw the light” in regards to how awesome beans can be. We were on a cruise, enjoying lunch in the dining room, and navy bean soup was one of the starter courses for the day. I tried it, and loved it. The flavor and texture just won me over completely. Not to mention how hearty and filling it is. Isn’t it funny with all the fancier things on the menu that day, I remember the humble bean soup? It definitely left an impression.

Anyways, I finally “borrowed” the Carnival cookbook from my mom (she’ll probably never see it on her bookshelf again), which has their navy bean soup recipe. After Christmas we were all kind of burnt out on ham leftovers, so I threw the bone into the freezer and took it out last week to make this soup. But, if you don’t have a ham bone laying around, then a smoked ham hock would work just fine. It doesn’t get much more filling, heartier, or economical than a big bubbling pot of bean soup folks!


I’m don’t know that there is a more comforting meal in the world than tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s quick and easy, filling, and cheap. I’ve never cared for tomato soup from a can, it’s always so thin and flavorless. So, when I saw Ina’s version in on the cover of a recent Food Network magazine, I couldn’t wait to give it a try. I loved the idea of grilled cheese croutons!

The soup was delicious and filling. I loved the addition of orzo and a little bit of cream. And the saffron, wow – it adds such a depth of flavor. It takes only a few minutes to throw together – in under 30 minutes you have a homemade meal on the table that isn’t condensed crap-ola.

I didn’t have a great selection of cheeses handy when I made these. So, I just kept in old school and used yellow american for the grilled cheese sandwiches, then cut them into cubes for the croutons. Couldn’t be easier, but how good does it look sitting on top of that delicious soup? I have a feeling this is going to be a new staple in our house!