Lizzard Loves Blue Sky Snow Covered Vail

Monday, July 30, 2012

Cooking for friends

I love cooking for friends.
I also love cooking when I don't know how else to help a tough situation.

Packed & ready to give
A good friend of Chris & mine has had a tough time with health issues this summer & it seems to me that summer is the worst time to be laid up. All you want is to be outside doing all the fun things you can in Chicago during the summer; but this particular friend was rocking some hospital time & then home time while recovering.

So what do you do for a friend who temporarily can't use 1 arm & has a REALLY sore mouth? Make soup! I know, I know, its summer, its hot, who wants to eat soup? Our friend did :) Honestly though, everyone needs to eat & it has always been my contribution to friends and family in need. A lot of us struggle to cook when we are living a normal, busy week. When a curve ball like an illness/injury/death comes into play- cooking is one of the first things to fall by the wayside - at least in my experience. At the end of the day though, we all need nutritious (& ideally delicious) food to sustain us during tough times. I am happy to be the friend who can provide at least a little support in that area.

Soup must be safe!

The recipe below is compliments of my Mom, who gifted us a GIANT cookbook of her fabulous recipes as a wedding gift. I love my Mom & I love my Mom's recipes. She is always so generous with sharing them with me & was fine with me blogging about this one. In case you want more information on my Mom's cooking school (currently available only for private events) here is her website; . Because my Mom is so tech savvy you can also follow her blog here; - perhaps some traffic to her blog will encourage my Mom to post some more recipes!

You may wait until the fall or winter to make this soup- but it is bright & citrusy (the cilantro & lime do the trick) so it is not a crazy thing to enjoy this season.

Trader Joe's Mix = delicious & easy
The recipe includes directions for homemade tortilla strips, but I opted for cornbread instead - since the recipient of this batch of soup wouldn't have been able to enjoy the crispy crunchy strips. I encourage you to make & add them to the soup if you try it- the contrast of textures is pretty wonderful. The cornbread I made was from a mix (compliments of Trader Joe's), but I used applesauce in place of about 3/4 of the oil. Their cornbread mix is outstanding- I recommend it highly if you've never had it.

I hope you enjoy the recipe & the soup; let me know in the comments if you give it a try.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
3 tablespoons canola oil
5 corn tortillas (2 cut into strips, 3 torn into bite sized pieces)
1 onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 (14.5oz) cans diced tomatoes
8 cups chicken stock
1 bag Trader Joe's Roasted Corn (in the frozen section)
1 tablespoon freshly ground cumin seeds, measured after grinding (I don't have a spice mill - so I used pre-ground would undoubtedly taste better if I had ground it fresh, but I had to do what I had to do!)
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, minced
1 teaspoon adobo sauce
4 bay leaves
1/2 of a rotisserie chicken, shredded
Juice of 1 lime
1 small bunch of cilantro, leaves chopped
3/4 cup sour cream, for garnish

1. Cut 2 tortillas into thin strips. Sauté in 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Drain on paper towels & set aside.
2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to a large soup/stock pot. Sauté onions until soft. Add garlic, sauté one minute.
3. Add tomatoes, chicken stock, corn, cumin, chipotle, adobo sauce, 3 tortillas torn into bite sized pieces, and bay leaves.
4. Simmer 20 minutes
5. Remove bay leaves. Add lime juice & chicken.
6. Simmer additional 10 minutes if your rotisserie chicken was refrigerated. 
7. Stir in cilantro, ladle into bowls & serve with sour cream & sautéed tortilla strips. (I didn't use sour cream for serving....because I don't like it. As mentioned above, I served it with a side of cornbread instead of the crunchy sautéed tortilla strips!)


  1. You are such an awesome friend!! And seeing as you and your Mom are such wonderful cooks, I'm totally printing this recipe. Thanks for sharing Liz.

  2. Thanks Nic! I hope you've tried it- it is honestly so easy & so good!