After a super busy summer and crazy insane September, we are now back on track.  I am on day 3 of a 31 day hot yoga challenge at Urban Yoga Spa so a lot of the recipes this month will be a bit more on the healthy side — well, with an occasional treat here and there :0)

We have now officially transitioned into fall so Tortilla Soup just sounded right…perfect for a table serving 8 hungry adults!

Here is what you need:

Tortilla Soup
1 white or yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Olive or vegetable oil
4 chicken breasts, seasoned* and shredded
10 cups (80 oz) chicken broth
1 can (14.5 oz) of diced petite tomatoes
1 can (10 or 12 oz) of diced tomatoes with green chilies
1- 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
1/2 lime juice
2 cans (12 oz) pinto beans
Salt and pepper, to taste
Red Pepper Flakes
Taco Seasoning OR mixture of Cayenne Pepper, Cumin, Smoked Paprika, Onion Powder, Salt and Garlic Powder

Garnish
2-3 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
Sour cream
2-3 avocados, diced
pico de gallo (chopped tomatoes, onion, jalepeno, garlic and cilantro)
Fritos
Lime wedges
Cilantro

Grilled Cheese
Fresh Sourdough bread, sliced
Pepper jack cheese
2 tomatoes, sliced
Butter

Cook onions and garlic until translucent and soft

Cook onions and garlic until translucent and soft

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place chicken in a glass baking dish.  Lightly drizzle olive oil on both sides of chicken and coat with your taco seasoning or spice mixture.  Pop in the oven for about 30-45 minutes – until the internal temp is 165 degrees (although I wait until 175/180).  Remove from heat and shred with two forks.

Make sure to rinse the beans!

Make sure to rinse the beans!

While the chicken is baking, in a large pot, heat oil and add onion and garlic.  Cook until onions become slightly translucent and soft, then add two or three shakes of red pepper flakes, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder with a dash of cayenne.  Cook for an additional minute or two.

Add the chicken broth, beans, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper to the onions and let it simmer for about 1-3 hours (whatever you have time for) while adding a bit of water if it reduces too much and adjusting spices if needed.  Add the chicken about 20 minutes prior to serving.

Simmer for about 1-3 hours and make sure to taste test!

Simmer for about 1-3 hours and make sure to taste test!

After you add the chicken, prepare your grilled cheese sandwiches.  In a shallow skillet on medium low heat, melt a pat of butter and place one piece of bread down on the butter coating one side.   Remove and place another piece of bread down and layer cheese and tomatoes on top.  Place the buttered bread on top (buttered side up) and cover with lid for about 3-4 min….until the bread has browned, then flip.  When both sides are brown, remove and repeat.  You may want to wipe off the excess butter between each sandwich with a paper towel (be careful!) and store in the microwave or oven until all the sandwiches are ready for a quick warming in the microwave.  Cut into squares.

Add shredded chicken about 20 min prior to serving and make grilled cheese sandwiches

Add shredded chicken about 20 min prior to serving and make grilled cheese sandwiches

In individual bowls, garnish the soup with cheese, sour cream, avocados, pico del gallo, Fritos, cilantro and lime wedge.  Serve with your grilled cheese sandwiches- YUM!

Garnish and serve!

Garnish and serve!

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