really good tortilla soup

Tortilla Soup RecipeA Soup For The Soul

Flashback back January 2009 my dear Cousin Julie – also a fiery foodie – emailed the family this recipe for tortilla soup. Like some of my emails I filed the recipe with good intentions but it sadly got lost in my mess of an email “organization” system. Almost 10 years later I was researching old emails we sent each other and knew what I had to do. Share this with you!

As a lover of tortilla soup I posted the soup I’ve been making since the 1990s here at Betty’s Cook Nook. I wasn’t confident my time-tested soup could be unseated as my favorite and well, I was right. However, there was one magical thing about this recipe that I plan to incorporate into my own – specifically adding chicken thighs which definitely provided more flavor than its nearby neighbor, the boneless chicken breast.

Foodie Tips

❤  To make the soup very rich and hearty, Cousin Julie suggested adding a small can of refried beans and a small can of pinto beans. She noted – don’t use black beans as a substitute for either of these! If the soup turns out too spicy (is this possible?), serve it with sour cream as it will counteract the heat. More lime juice can be added at the table.

❤  Cousin Julie reminded us that she was not a fan of spicy foods and you will see that somewhat reflected in the recipe below. I, on the other hand, look for many opportunities to dial up the heat. The good news is I’ve never had a bad tortilla soup and these recipes can be adjusted in many ways to arrive at your very own favorite bowl.

❤  Looking to spice up your life? We can’t help but love our new custom fit Vertical Spice Racks that help us make the most of kitchen organization… and our cabinet space! Thanks to Joe for finding these!
Vertical Spice Rack

i. Time

Total prep: About 90 minutes.

ii. Ingredients

the soup ingredients
1 medium  |  onion, chopped
1  |  bell pepper, chopped
2-3  |  cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon  |  olive oil
1 large box  |  chicken broth
1 large box  |  beef broth
1 large  |  chicken breast
2 (or more)  |  chicken thighs
1 large can  |  diced tomatoes (or fresh if you have them)
1 can  |  Rotel tomatoes and green chilies, diced – use mild flavor
1 can or 1 bag (frozen)  |  whole kernel corn (I used Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn)
1 small can  |  tomato paste (or sauce, if you prefer)
1 teaspoon  |  ground cumin
1 teaspoon  |  chili powder
1 teaspoon  |  oregano
1 teaspoon  |  salt
2 teaspoons  |  worcestershire sauce
juice  |  from 1 large lime

the toppings
1-2  |  jalapeño peppers, sliced (deseeded or not!)
cheddar cheese  |  fresh grated by hand, if you can
dollop or two  |  sour cream
avocado  |  sliced or cubed
fresh cilantro  |  chopped
green onions  |  chopped
tortilla chips (or fritos or fritos scoops)

iii. What To Do

1. Let’s Get Cookin’
Sauté the onion, bell pepper and garlic in the olive oil until tender. Add the broths and chicken breast and thighs and cook for 20 minutes over medium heat until the meats are tender. This night marked the debut of our new Calphalon Space Saving 8 quart Nonstick Pot which worked wonders! and left plenty of room for the makin’.

Calphalon Stock Pot2. Let’s Get Choppin’
Remove the meats from the soup and chop them up. Return to the broth. Add all the remaining soup ingredients and simmer for at least 1 hour, preferably longer if you have the time.

3. Serve It Up
Spoon the soup into bowls and top with your chosen toppings (suggestions above)!

tortilla soup

Let me know what you think about this tortilla soup!

 ~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook


spinach delight

Spinach Delight Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Debuting for Super Bowl 2018 along with Holy Guacamole, this Spinach Delight recipe proved just that – De. Light. Ful!

Growing up you could find me about as close to anything fashioned from spinach as you could my homework (think: Far Far Away). Now that I’m older I can see what all the fuss was about – this dish is creamy, savory, and the dressing-stuffing that tops this appetizer provides the perfect crisp to raise eyebrows and arms.

Foodie Tips

  Herb Dressing or Herb Stuffing? Joe and I discussed this one for a bit. I told him I believed my Mom “Betty” knew well the differences between dressing and stuffing and she clearly penned the recipe card below “dressing.” But when we went searching for the ingredients for this recipe all we could find was Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing.

You can read this post where I help debunk the differences between dressing and stuffing but I’m leaving this “dressing” in the ingredients list even though I think the Pepperidge Farm stuffing packaging caters to northerners, where their Connecticut headquarters is located. #ThisIsTexas So buy their stuffing but call it dressing. :) Heck, even Pepperidge Farm uses the terms interchangeably as you can see in their very own recipe!

Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing

 This dip pairs remarkably well with tortilla chips, Fritos or better yet Fritos Scoops which will lend you a helping hand fostering bigger globs of the green good stuff from dish to belly. We also enjoyed our delightful dip smeared atop some homemade garlic-rubbed toast (see the mouthwatering “triple play” pic below).

i. Time

To prepare: About 15 minutes.
To bake: 30 minutes.
To enjoy:
Mere nanoseconds

ii. Ingredients

3 packages | frozen chopped spinach
1 stick | butter, softened (my Grandmother insisted on Falfurrias)
8 ounce package| cream cheese, softened
⅓ package | pepperidge farm herb dressing (see stuffing tip above)
to serve | your favorite chips or veggies (optional)

iii. What to do

0. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

1. While the oven’s preheating cook the spinach (boil it?) and drain well. Set aside.

2. Blend together half of the softened butter and all of the cream cheese. Add in the spinach and mix everything well. Place this mixture into a 2 quart baking dish.

3. Roll the dressing to fine crumbs and sprinkle it over the spinach mixture. Dot the top of the dressing with the remaining ½ stick of butter.

4. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let rest about 5 minutes.

Serve warm with your chosen accessory (tortilla chips, Fritos, Fritos Scoops, garlic bread, etc.). Or just enjoy it with a spoon!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Spinach Delight The Triple Play

Super Bowl Score: Shown here is my beloved “triple play” shot – Spinach Delight with hand-rubbed garlic bread, Lil’ Smokies resting in a BBQ and grape jellied sauce, and my homemade Queso and Fritos Scoops. It was hard to share. :)

Spinach Delight Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Recipe Card (Circa 1970s)

Who is Mrs. Ira Lieberman?

Well clearly she was the inspiration behind this recipe per the credit Mom included on the recipe card above.

I did some online researching and believe I found her. Janet “Casey” Liberman was married to Ira Lieberman and both lived in San Antonio where I grew up.

Sadly both Ira and Casey have passed. I send my thanks to them for this recipe.