Chicken Tortilla Soup and Flan

I use salt-free tortillas and organic, no salt chicken broth the make this soup healthier.

You know when you crave tacos but feel guilty about all those tortilla calories?  I have just the solution for you - Chicken Tortilla Soup.  However, often when I order this at restaurants it arrives with a lovely yellow layer of chicken fat on top.  Now, I am aware that this adds delicious flavor, but even when it is piping hot I don't really want all of that fat. 

Shredded chicken is traditional in tortilla soup, and the chicken is boiled in the broth.  The following recipe from The Food Network uses this method.  I suggest for nearly fat-free soup, or for seasoned shredded chicken that can be used for any recipe, that you simply put a pot of chicken broth (at least two containers) on the stove to boil, adding a package or two of taco seasoning. Drop in frozen chicken breasts, boil the pot down until the liquid is gone (this can take awhile and needs to be watched), and you will have shredded chicken that is seasoned without the fat.

When I made this soup recipe I just diced up the chicken breast and cooked it in olive oil with the onions.  It doesn't look quite as good in the soup, but it tasted great!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

4-6 servings

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 onion

2 Tablespoons minced garlic

2 jalapenos, finely diced

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

Salt and pepper to taste

Green or red tabasco to taste

2 limes, juiced, plus wedges for garnish

Garnish

1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves

tortilla chips or grilled flour tortilla cut into thin strips

1 pitted and sliced avocada

1 cup cheese such as Cotija Mexian cheese

Directions

 In a large saucepan heat the olive oil with the onions for 2 minutes on medium heat.  Once the onions have softened add the garlic and jalepenos and cook for another minute.  Pour the chicken broth, tomatoes and beans into the pot and bring to a boil.  Once at a boil lower heat to simmer and add the chicken breasts.  Cook the chicken for 20-25 minutes.  Once chicken is cooked remove from pot.  When cool enough to handle shred it and set it aside.  Add lime juice, tabasco and fresh cilantro to the pot.  In a serving bowl add a mound of shredded chicken.  Ladle soup over chicken and top with a lime wedge, avocado slices, cheese, and tortilla chips or strips.

 

  • Fire roasted tomatoes and chicken - yum!

  • Garnish

    I like to put out the garnish and let people doctor-up their own soup. You could use different cheeses on top such as cheddar or Monterrey Jack but I love the crumbly, salty, Mexican Cotija, especially if I have used low-sodium broth and salt-free chips.

Flan is fun

Individual flan serving
Photo: www.crumblycookie.net

When our daughter graduated from highschool we decided to have a Mexican fiesta for her graduation party.  We prepared everything ourselves, from the margaritas down to the mango salsa.  I tried several flan recipes for dessert, and found that most of them were similar as far as ingredients and technique. Some include cream instead of milk.  Most use sweetened condensed milk. Some call for a water bath while cooking.  The recipe below does not. 

I chose to use a vanilla bean in this recipe instead of vanilla extract.  I love seeing the little brown vanilla specks in the custard!

The only difficult part about making flan is the caramel.  You cook sugar until it melts and turns golden brown, pour it into the bottom of the pan you are cooking the flan in, and then when it is done you turn the pan over, take out the flan, and poof... flan with a beautiful caramel sauce on top.

This is all well and good if you have not overcooked the dessert or put it into a pan to cook that is too small and the caramel sauce leaks out over the side while cooking and burns in your oven. Not to say that I ever did that... Needless to say, make sure that you are baking your flan in a pan that allows for at least an inch above the custard to the top of the pan and that you do not overcook the sugar when you first melt it to pour it into the pan.  This is a dessert you might want to make once before you cook it for your dinner party!

Spanish Flan

Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

1 cup white sugar

3 eggs

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract or seeds from one vanilla bean

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F.  In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt sugar until liquefied and golden in color.  Carefully pour hot syrup into a 9 inch round glass baking dish, turning the dish to evenly coat the bottom and sides.  Set aside.  You can also use individual custard cups or rammekins - probably 4 depending on the size.  In a large bowl, beat eggs.  Beat in condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla until smooth.  Pour egg mixture into baking dish.  Cover with aluminum foil.  Bake in preheated oven 60 minutes.  Let cool completely.  To serve, carefully invert on serving plate with edges when completely cool.

 

Simple ingredients

Caramelized sugar

Heaven in a bowl