Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Toddler Friendly Taco Soup with Corn Tortilla Crisps

Life behind the scenes at Stir & Scribble is not all beautifully lit cocktails and artfully stacked donuts. I've allude to this before when talking about the current lack of date nights with my husband. My goal has always been to bring you real recipes that are fuss-free and family friendly (and strong drinks, because raising a family is tough business). So I also want to share more of our real family meals. 

Even as trained culinary professional - dinner time can be really stressful! Ella is either getting herself into trouble or begging for a snack, the dogs want in, no the dogs want out, 'Ella please stay out of the dog food' while trying to cook something that A. I want to eat B. Ella will eat. Priorities. 

This "Toddler Friendly" Taco Soup is more a strategy than a recipe - one that I learned in the trenches of cooking food for Ella. The end result is a soup for adults and a plate of food for Ella to eat. This isn't about soup for a toddler because honestly eating soup with a toddler will result in you both needing a bath and the floor needing a mopping and do you really want to do that on a Wednesday night? I would much rather watch Nashville and drink a cocktail. 

My friend* Jenny calls this tactic "Deconstructing Dinner" and it will serve you well to learn, embrace and employ this tactic regularly. You don't really want to eat plain pasta and peas or make two dinners every night until your kiddo learns to appreciate tomatoes anyway. 

*Okay - I've never actually met Jenny, but I imagine we would become friends over a cocktail and swapping family dinner stories. 

TODDLER FRIENDLY TACO SOUP with Corn Tortilla Crisps 
makes about 6 servings 

4 (6-inch)corn tortillas 
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced 
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained 
1 cup of frozen corn
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
1 quart chicken broth 
1 can of diced tomatoes
8 ounces chopped cooked chicken 

for serving: 
Chopped avocado 
Sour cream
Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
lime wedges 

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the corn tortillas into wedges. Liberally coat a baking sheet with 2 tablespoons olive oil and lay the tortilla wedges in an even layer on the pan. Flip the tortillas so both sides are coated with oil. Set aside. 

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Brown the onions in the hot oil until softened and beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and peppers and cook until the garlic is fragrant about 3 minutes. Add the black beans and corn and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes - until the corn is cooked and the peppers are softened. 

At this point, I pull a spoonful of the veggie bean mixture out onto Ella's plate. It cools while the rest of the soup cooks. I also pull a handful of chicken for her plate before the it goes in the soup. 

Add the salt, paprika, and cumin and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, and chicken and bring the mixture to a simmer. 

Meanwhile, bake the tortilla crisps in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. While the crisp are still hot a sprinkle a few with shredded cheese to melt while they cool. 

Simmer the soup for 5 minutes - remove from the heat and serve with the tortilla crisps, salsa, avocado, shredded cheese and sour cream.  Ella gets her own diced avocado and a little sour cream for her "dipping' chips".


  1. I appreciate your authenticity-- it's good to know that life isn't all perfectly staged pictures, even if your blog IS looking great these days. Can't wait to make this!

    1. Blogging is a weird balance right? You want the authenticity to LOOK nice :). And thank you - I'm working on making it a really lovely place.

  2. This soup looks so homey and comforting, I can imagine why a toddler (and adults!) would love it :) I especially like those tortilla chips for dunking!

    Amy | Club Narwhal

    1. I'm a big advocate of the dunker. Don't give me soup with out bread or saltines or something dunk-able!

  3. This is great. Love how you made it toddler friendly because who has time to make 2 different meals..

    1. My mom never made two meals! Didn't like what was served - make yourself a PB&J or go hungry. I totally get it now.