Friday, January 18, 2013

Salsa Soup and Cheese Quesadillas

I have to start this post by giving credit to Rachel Ray for coming up with the base for this recipe.  I only alter it a little, so I definitely can't take credit for it.  I do, however love how flavorful, healthy, easy, and quick it is to make!  

I started by chopping a large green bell pepper, and get a large pot heated over medium heat with a few trips around the bottom with olive oil.  Throw in your pepper, and then I used my mini food processor to chop two shallots, three cloves of garlic, two jalapeno peppers, and a small onion.  If you don't have a little food processor, by all means, chop away, but I hate crying through onions, and smelling like garlic, and I inevitably touch my eyes after peppers, so I am loving my newest kitchen toy!  Also, I usually leave my veggies pretty chunky in this, but I don't love biting into a big chunk of any of those, so I dice them pretty small, more for flavor than texture.  Throw those all in the pot and season them with salt and pepper.  

Let those cook for a few minutes and then add two cans of tomatoes, one crushed, and one stewed.  Top this off with some chicken stock to thin it out.  I use about a cup and a half, but thin it to the consistency you like, I prefer thicker soups.  Let this bubble away while you make your quesadillas. Before you serve the soup, stir in a handful of freshly chopped parsley. 

I use flour tortillas, but you could use whole wheat.  They were just what I had on hand.  I also had shredded sharp cheddar, and a block of pepper jack, or something spicy, I forget what exactly it was, but use your favorite melting cheese!  You can make them in oven, like 10 minutes on 300 degrees, but I like to make mine in a pan on the stove.  (You will find, if you follow my blog, that I rarely use the oven.  I think it goes back to some control issues, but who really knows!)  So, I spray a pan with non-stick spray, put a tortilla down, cover it with cheese, top it with the other one, and cook it over medium heat until it is golden brown and the cheese is melty, then flip and repeat.  

Ok, the last thing I added was a mix of half an avocado, two spoonfuls of sour cream, a little lemon juice, some fresh parsley, and a pinch of salt.  I spoon a dollop on my soup, and it adds a refreshing coolness to a more acidic, spicy soup.  Yum.  

Ingredients list:

olive oil
1 bell pepper
2 jalapenos
3 cloves garlic
2 shallots
1 small onion
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz can stewed tomatoes
1.5 cups chicken stock (ps. Use veggie stock to make it vegetarian)
chopped parsley
flour tortillas, 2 per person
2 cups shredded cheese
sour cream
.5 avocado
lemon juice
salt and pepper

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