Thursday, March 29, 2012

Latin Version of Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

by Anita

My dinners that I make when I cook for myself usually are simple and quick: steamed veggies, steamed rice, and a black bean burger (that all came from the handy dandy frozen food section). Well, as my stomach grumbled while I was at work, I started imagining something a little more tasty. Then at that moment I  received a message from my boyfriend who asked if I was interested in dinner and a movie (In Time)...which means that I got excited to make a meal FOR someone and watch a bonus movie at the end of it all. 

Chopping, prepping, simmering, and taking in the aromas of cooking has always been a stress reliever for me. I needed that yesterday. I will spare you details of the "pet messes" that I came home to on my bed which definitely did not put me in a tranquil frame of mine before cooking. 

Once I turned on my Pandora to Florence + the Machine radio, I started tapping my toes, swaying my hips, and chopping away to make a Tortilla Soup and Grilled Chicken Quesadillas. The recipes used are from a blog that I have been reading daily for cooking inspiration about eating REAL food = no processed junk, no sugars, organic when possible, and meat in moderation. Since it was a bit on the cooler yet comfortable side outside, I opted to grill some of the food which always makes the end result taste that much better. I highly recommend this tasty, healthy, and versatile recipe that is delicious for leftovers as well.

TORTILLA SOUP (modified for ingredients in my 'fridge)


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers (any color), chopped
  • 3 organic celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 – 2 hot peppers (optional - I did not use)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander or cumin
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 8-oz can organic black beans (liquid drained and rinsed)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28-oz can organic stewed tomatoes
  • 1 8-oz can organic tomato sauce
  • 2 – 3 cups organic, low sodium chicken stock depending on how “soupy” you like it
  • Optional (but recommended) garnishes: avocado, scallions, lime juice, tortilla chips
  1. Rinse and dice the bell peppers, celery, any other veggies you add. I used minced garlic in a jar. 
  2. Heat a large stock pot with the olive oil on medium high heat. Add bell peppers, celery, garlic in pot.
  3. Let the veggies eat through for about 5 minutes. Add spices.
  4. Add rinsed black beans. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chicken stock.
  6. Boil all ingredients, then turn heat down to low/simmer and cover for about 10 minutes or longer to let all the flavors mix and mingle. 
  7. Ready to eat? Add to a bowl, and add the green trifecta of garnishes: diced avocado, chopped scallions, and a squeeze of lime juice. 
Serves 8 - 10 (smaller bowls HA!) 
My uber small kitchen...If I can do it, so can you!
Bell peppers - Red are my favorite & they have more vitamin C than an orange. Believe it. 

Drain and rinse black beans; reduces the sodium.

Muir Glen is found in most grocery stores for tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, and salsas.

I buy this in bulk and the store brand is less expensive than other organic brands.

Diced, simmering veggies in the stock pot

Mixing and mingling of flavors
Green Trifecta for garnishes with Latin dishes: Avocado, Scallions, and Lime Juice
Tortilla soup garnished and ready to be in my belly!



  • 1 lb organic chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • 2 Tbsp+ Jamaican Jerk seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp+ Olive Oil & Vinegar salad dressing (Newman's Own is best) 
  • 1 cup+ (1/2 a bag) shredded Mexican cheese
  • 4 small tortillas (wheat preferred, but I only had white)
  • 4 scallion bunches, chopped
  1. Marinate chicken breasts first off! Place in a deep dish and season each side and then drizzle dressing on both sides. Coat and let it hang out for about 15 - 30 minutes, the longer the tastier.
  2. Place all 4 tortillas on an oven proof/heat resistant plate/tray. Lay out the tortillas flat and sprinkle as much or as little cheese on all 4 tortillas.
  3. Heat grill, grill pan, oven, or saute pan (medium high heat or 375 degrees) -- whichever you prefer to cook your chicken. I grilled!
  4. Add chicken to grill and cook for about 4-6 minutes on each side. Do not over flip your chicken.
  5. While chicken is cooking, microwave or place tortillas in oven to melt cheese.
  6. Once chicken is cooked, remove from heat onto cutting surface, let it SIT for a few minutes to get the juices to settle. 
  7. Thinly slice the chicken breasts and add to one side of cheesy tortillas. Add a little extra sprinkle of cheese if you want and other toppings. I only added scallions and folded other side of tortilla.
  8. Enjoy with your soup and dip away!
Serves 4; recipe easily doubled.

Marinated chicken breasts with Jamaican jerk seasoning & Newman's Own Olive Oil & Vinegar dressing

Juicy and healthy grilled chicken (cooked 4-6 minutes each side)

Super easy assembly of melted cheese on tortillas and sliced chicken 
4 simple and delicious ingredients: Chicken, Cheese, Tortillas, Scallions
Our Latin dinner: Tortilla Soup & Grilled Chicken Quesadillas (and Malbec!)
This meal was so great and we had plenty of leftover soup for us to eat for the next couple days. Soups overall are the best thing to make when you don't end up eating a ton of veggies during your meals. I used any ingredient I had in my fridge which had a Latin flavor to it. 

And the movie was really great as well, two thumbs up! 

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