Recipe from the Heart | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Recipe from the Heart

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In October, my son's Cub Scout packmaster had a baby. Within a few days of her giving birth, I received an e-mail alerting me that a meal schedule had been set up to keep hot meals on her table as she adjusted to having a new little one in the house.

The meal schedule was set up by another pack mother on a website called Take Them A Meal (http://www.takethemameal.com). This wonderful little site is a free service to assist in coordinating meals for friends or family who need a little help. He or she might be ill, have a new baby, be in the middle of moving or any other life-changing event. All that's necessary is a group of folks wanting to help another person in need.

This handy tool provided information as to the type of cuisine our packmaster's family enjoyed plus food restrictions and dislikes. When I saw vegetables and Mexican food as two of their "likes," I knew my recipe for veggie-chicken tortilla soup would be perfect. It's filling, easy to make, easily transported and reheats well.

Veggie-Chicken Tortilla Soup

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 of a 10 1/2 oz. can of cream of chicken soup
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 16-ounce can tomatoes, diced or crushed
1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped and seeds removed, optional
1 4-ounce can mild green chilies, undrained
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup of white onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 10-ounce bag frozen chopped carrots
1 10-ounce bag frozen yellow corn
Shredded, cooked chicken—your own or a store-bought whole rotisserie chicken
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
Salt to taste

In a large pot, combine stock, cream of chicken soup, lime juice, tomatoes, jalapenos, green chilies, cilantro leaves, onions, garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin, pepper and salt. Stir well to incorporate. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add bell peppers, carrots, corn and chicken. Stir and put a lid on the pot. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.

To serve, ladle soup into large bowls and garnish with available toppings.

Serves four to six.

Garnish Toppings
Each person likes different things in their soup, so I like to put out the options and let people choose for themselves.

Tortilla chips
Shredded cheese, Mexican blend
Hot cooked Spanish rice
Black beans (15 ounce can)
Chopped avocados
Lime juice
Sour cream

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