Instead of opening up a can, turn to this chicken tortilla soup recipe, a favorite of Mom’s Kitchen Handbook founder, Katie Morford and her family. This dish is super easy to make, gets the kids involved in the cooking process and great for leftovers..if there are any.
A few tips from Katie about the soup:
• Get the kids in on the action by having them top their own bowls at the table. Crushing tortilla chips and adding crumbled cheese will make them that much more interested in digging in.
• With the yummy distractions of chips and cheese, the kids may not even notice you’ve snuck a whole lot of nutrition into their bowls. .
• Cooking the chicken on the bone makes for a juicier result, plus the bone imparts flavor to the soup.
• Leftover soup does fabulously inside a thermos, with little containers of crispy tortillas and cheese on the side, to be added at the lunch table.
• To make your own crispy tortillas, as shown in the photo, cut corn tortillas into 1/4-inch-thick strips, drizzle with olive oil, and bake at 450 degrees until lightly browned, about five minutes.
• This is a flavorful, nourishing twist on classic chicken noodle soup. Research shows chicken soup is healing for the common cold.
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1 whole skinless, bone-in, chicken breast, cut into two halves (1 ½ pounds)
3 large carrots, peeled, cut into small, bite-size pieces
2 ½ cups roughly chopped red cabbage (about 1/3 of a head)
¼ cup fresh lime juice (1 to 2 limes), plus more if needed
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper
Salt to taste
1/3 cup crumbled Cotija cheese*
Salted tortilla chips for garnish
1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes until slightly tender. Add the garlic and sauté another minute. Pour in the chicken broth and tomatoes and stir. Add the chicken breast halves, being sure they are completely immersed in liquid. If not, add a little more broth until they are. Turn the heat up and cook until the broth boils, reduce the heat to a simmer.
2. After the chicken cooks for 10 minutes, add the carrots and cabbage to the broth, and continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through (another 15 minutes or so). You can check this by cutting into the center of the breast with a paring knife to have a peek. Remove the chicken and set aside until cool enough to handle. Turn off the heat.
3. While the chicken cools, season the broth with the lime juice, cilantro and jalapeno. Feel free to use more or less than is suggested depending on your personal taste. Taste and add salt as needed, keeping in mind that the soup will be topped with Cotija, which is quite salty. The chicken broth you use will play a big part in how much salt is required.
4. Once the chicken is cool, pull the meat off the bones and shred into bite-size pieces. Add it to the soup and give it all a big stir.
5. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with the cotija. Crumble a couple of tortilla chips over each bowl.
*Cotija is a salty, crumbly Mexican cheese. Feel free to use feta as a substitute.
Katie Sullivan Morford is a mom, food writer and registered dietitian. You can find her family-friendly recipes and kitchen wisdom at Mom’s Kitchen Handbook.