Fajita (soup) feast

8 Mar

Christopher and I love Mexican food, and we both enjoy chicken enchilada, black bean and tortilla soups as part of the rotation. But we usually get those dishes at restaurants and only make tacos at home.

We changed that this week and made a delicious chicken fajita tortilla soup.


Here’s the recipe (adapted from Rachael Ray*):

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound chicken breast, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

Salt and pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup minced onion

1 large red bell pepper, diced

1 jalapeno, minced

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

3 cups chicken broth

4 ounces white corn tortilla chips, lightly crushed

2 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken, season with coriander, thyme, salt and pepper, to taste, and cook until chicken is almost opaque, about 4-5 minutes. Add onions, bell pepper and jalapeno and cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender, about 6-8 minutes.


In a large pot, add tomatoes and chicken broth and heat through.


Transfer chicken and vegetables to pot and heat through.


Ladle soup into four bowls (or two bowls and two food-storage containers to take to work for lunch the next day), top with crushed tortilla chips and cheese and serve.


*I love Rachael Ray. I learned a lot about food and cooking from her. I own several of her cookbooks and subscribe to her magazine. But I do not love her lack of attention to nutrition.

I calculated the nutritionals for the original recipe, which calls for 6 ounces of chicken per serving, 1/4 cup shredded cheese per serving and 3 or 4 ounces of tortilla chips per serving, and one bowl of soup was about 700 calories!

I tweaked the recipe—reduced the amount of oil for cooking the chicken by half, reduced the amount of chicken by a third, reduced the amount of chicken broth by a quarter, reduced the amount of cheese by half and reduced the amount of tortilla chips by three quarters—and one bowl of soup became a much more reasonable 450-some calories.

Big difference, huh?

I liked my version quite a bit. It was loaded with veggies, chicken and tasty, familiar Mexican flavors. I didn’t miss the insane amount of tortilla chips or the extra cheese. I bet you wouldn’t either.

Do you ever “healthify” recipes from your favorite chefs or family members? What changes do you make?

6 Responses to “Fajita (soup) feast”

  1. Lisa March 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    That sounds awesome! I always try and healthify things–sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t! I usually decrease the sugar and/or fat, and sub in whole grains…

    • kaylabee18 March 21, 2011 at 11:56 am #

      Yup. That’s almost always the first step for me, too. I also try to sneak in additional veggies or decrease the portion size of the unhealthier bits.

  2. Joslyn @ missfitbliss March 9, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    That was really smart of you to calculate the recipe’s nutritional value and make proper adjustments! One of these days I’m going to print out all of your recipes and put them in a folder labeled: “Foods Hubby Will Love”. Seriously, you have a way with meat:)

    • kaylabee18 March 21, 2011 at 11:55 am #

      Aww. That’s like the sweetest compliment ever!

  3. Julia March 9, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

    Sounds yummy! It is also drives me crazy that RR’s recipes are crazy unhealthy. Great job with your tweaks!

    • kaylabee18 March 21, 2011 at 11:55 am #

      It was so eye opening to run the stats. I’m glad I did because the tweaked healthy recipe tasted just as delicious as the original, I bet.

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