31 Days of Frugal Meals // Day 23 Tortilla Soup

October 23, 2012

I've had Pioneer Woman's Tortilla Soup recipe saved in my blog feed for ages, but something about it just didn't have me convinced I should make it. Jeremy is weird about food, sometimes he is all for whatever I cook, others you'd think I was offering up tofu. Soup is one of those "tofu" foods. He is either totally game, or you'd think I laced it with arsenic. 

Last week Jeremy tormented our friend Emily with yet another of his assessments he is having to learn this semester. Lucky for us Em invited us to eat dinner with this before the tormenting began, needless to say I was quite excited. Emily is an awesome cook and happened to making up a batch of this Tortilla Soup I had not committed to just yet. 

Jeremy loved it, yay for me! On a funny note she served salsa with it, he loved her salsa just as much as the soup. 

He is not a fan of my salsa at all.

I make the Pioneer Woman's Restaurant Style Salsa. 

Guess what?

Emily makes the Pioneer Woman's Salsa too. 

You should have seen his face when he was informed it was the same recipe I use! That right there is the definition of chawed. 

[I am actually not making this today, I flip flopped recipes because of our schedule and what is easier to post when. I am making this when the MIL comes to town Friday]

Pioneer Woman Tortilla Soup

Here is PW's recipe with my changes in parentheses (it wouldn't let me change the color):
Side Note: It looks like a crazy long ingredient list, but I promise you probably have most of these things at home already. I am making something else this week so that the tortillas are not wasted. 


  • 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1-½ teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Diced Onion
  • ¼ cups Diced Green Bell Pepper
  • ¼ cups Red Bell Pepper (I actually splurged on a red pepper, but using another green is fine)
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 can (10 Oz. Can) Rotel Tomatoes And Green Chilies (use store brand it tastes the same)
  • 32 ounces, fluid Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste (I have some frozen from a recipe earlier this month)
  • 4 cups Hot Water
  • 2 cans (15 Oz. Can) Black Beans, Drained (left out entirely, Jeremy hates them, I may add pinto)
  • 3 Tablespoons Cornmeal Or Masa (use what you have I happen to have both)
  • 5 whole Corn Tortillas, Cut Into Uniform Strips Around 2 To 3 Inches (buy the smallest pack you can and use the rest in another recipe the same week)
  • _____
  • Sour Cream (fat free)
  • Diced Avocado 
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Salsa Or Pico De Gallo (making PW's salsa and serving with chips)
  • Grated Monterey Jack Cheese 
  • Cilantro (using in salsa too to save $$)

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix.
Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.
Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.
Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed—add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips.
Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, and grated cheese, if you have it! (The garnishes really make the soup delicious.)