Melissa’s Menu: Two soups perfect for winter

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Soup is the ultimate winter comfort food. It’s like a hug in a bowl. Whether you are feeling under the weather or would just like something to warm you up on a chilly day, soup is the way to go. Not only is it cozy and yummy, but it’s an easy meal to make, because once you prepare the ingredients you can throw them in a pot and let the stove do the rest of the work. Soup is also one of the few foods that tastes just as good as leftovers, so I recommend making enough to last you throughout the week. This week I’m providing two equally delicious soup recipes: Chicken tortilla soup and quinoa vegetable soup. Both of these recipes are hearty, healthy and require only 10 minutes of prep time. The chicken tortilla soup is packed with the Mexican flavors you love and has a spicy kick to it. The quinoa vegetable soup is guilt-free but still really satisfying. If you’re looking for an easy but delicious dinner idea this week, I would definitely recommend one of these two recipes. 

 

Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup 

Ingredients 

2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil 

2 bell peppers, chopped 

1 small onion, chopped  


Photo via delish.com

Photo via delish.com

2 cloves of garlic, minced 

1 teaspoon of dried oregano 

1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin   

1/2 teaspoon of chili powder 

1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3) 

Kosher salt 

Freshly ground black pepper 

4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth  

1 cup of water  

1 can of diced tomatoes  

1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained  

1 cup of frozen corn  

For garnish: 

1/4 cup of freshly chopped cilantro   

4 small corn tortillas, cut into strips  

1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil 

Kosher salt  

1 cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese 

1 avocado, diced 

Directions 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the Instant Pot to its saute setting and heat oil. Once the oil is simmering, add bell peppers and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, which should take about five minutes. Stir in garlic, oregano, cumin and chili powder. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper and add to the Instant Pot. Add remaining soup ingredients and close the lid. Set the Instant Pot to its soup setting and set the timer for seven minutes. Meanwhile, on a large baking sheet, toss tortilla strips with oil and a pinch of salt. Bake until golden, for about 20 minutes. Once the soup has cooked and air has been naturally released from the Instant Pot, carefully remove the lid and use tongs to remove chicken breasts onto a plate or cutting board. Using two forks, shred the chicken. Stir the chicken and cilantro into the soup. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish soup with tortilla strips, avocado and cheese before serving. Enjoy! 

 

 

Quinoa Vegetable Soup 

Ingredients  

2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil 

1 medium onion, chopped 


Photo via delish.com

Photo via delish.com

2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin rounds 

2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced 

3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced 

1 large zucchini, cut into half-inch pieces 

1 can of diced tomatoes 

1 can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained 

1 cup of quinoa 

1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin 

8 cups of low-sodium chicken broth 

8 ounces of Tuscan kale, ribs removed and leaves thinly sliced 

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice 

Crushed red pepper flakes, for serving 

Directions 

In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic, then season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, for about 10 minutes. Add zucchini, diced tomatoes, beans, quinoa and cumin. Pour in broth and stir to combine. Bring to a boil until quinoa is tender, which should take about 13 minutes. Stir in kale and cook until wilted, for about one minute, then stir in lemon juice. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and serve. Enjoy! 


Melissa Scrivani is the associate life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at melissa.scrivani@uconn.edu.

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