I owe the idea to well-meaning fans, who over the years would approach me to thank me for the genius of making 10-minute-meals. I never had the heart to correct them: I hosted Ten Dollar Dinners. Ten-minute meals, I always mused, would be about a thousand versions of PB&J, which sounded like hard television to pitch my producer. But the idea marinated. And then it became a challenge: what could I make in 10 minutes that wouldn't be a PB&J (no disrespect to the sandwich-anthem of my childhood)?
While most of my recipes are weeknight-friendly — that's simply how I cook with four kiddos to feed before the activity flurry — I decided to create recipes that were extra quick for those nights when even a half hour seems impossible to find.
Today's recipe is one of the dinners that came from this project. Ten-Minute Tortilla Soup is filling comfort food that I feel good about serving my family. It's simple but tasty, and my kids love it.
I'll caveat the 10 minutes by saying that the dinner does take advantage of some prepared items, such as purchased salsa, canned black beans and leftover chicken. But these items are healthy pantry staples that you probably have on hand, and have a long shelf-life, including the chicken: freezing up chicken leftovers or rotisserie chicken for weeknight dinners is an excellent habit for weeknight cooks anyway. And, the recipe is pretty flexible. Skip the cheese and add avocado cubes, if you prefer, or if that's what you have on hand. Use ground beef instead of chicken. Or even Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. Make it spicy or mild. However you choose, I promise you this: it will be quick.
Ten-minute tortilla soup
Start to finish: 10 minutes.
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 corn tortillas (about 5-inch diameter), cut into quarters
1/2 cup prepared mild (or medium) red salsa
1/4 cup prepared mild (or medium) green salsa
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained if canned
1 cup shredded or cubed cooked chicken
1/4 cup plain lowfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup shredded jack cheese
1 tablespoon pepitas (pumpkin seeds), or other seed or crushed tortilla chip
fresh cilantro for garnish, if desired
Heat the broth and tortillas in a saucepan over medium high heat to simmer. Simmer for 1-2 minutes to soften tortilla. Pour the mixture into a blender, and add the salsas and lime juice. Very carefully blend the mixture until smooth, about one minute. (Do not fill the blender more than halfway with hot liquids and do not cover the blender completely; use a kitchen towel to help.) Pour the mixture back into the pan, add the chicken and beans and reheat for another two minutes on medium high heat. Pour the soup into individual bowls, and top with the yogurt, cheese, pepitas and cilantro, and serve.
Nutrition information per serving: 241 calories; 48 calories from fat; 5 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 37 mg cholesterol; 415 mg sodium; 26 g carbohydrate; 6 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 22 g protein.
Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook, "Supermarket Healthy."