Home ยป Money Matters: Chicken Tortilla Soup (+ the quickiest, most amazing chicken shredding tip!)

Money Matters: Chicken Tortilla Soup (+ the quickiest, most amazing chicken shredding tip!)

Classes are back in session starting today. As much as I love teaching, I enjoy having my evenings free. For a woman that loves to cook, lecturing 2 nights a week (I’m gone from 4:15pm to about 9pm) really puts a damper on any dinner plans — making or eating.

Needless to say, I’ve been enjoying my evenings off…by cooking.

I love spicy, thick soups such as Chicken Tortilla Soup. But if I’m being honest, the ingredient list is what lead me to this soup. I have seen anaheim peppers at grocery stores for years, and I’ve never (at least to my knowledge) had one. Plus, I love poblanos and jalapenos.

At $1.99-$2.99/lb, peppers are an ingredient I would love to use more of (do you know how many jalapenos you can buy for $1.99!?). Besides, I usually have about 30 corn tortillas on hand because who needs a stack of 50 for 2 mouths? Oh, and they’re cheap, too.

I was also drawn to this recipe because I got to shred chicken — a task I previously despised (I usually beg and plead to put Mr. Prevention to work shredding chicken. I usually do not get my way). But, I recently ran across one wise blogger who suggested shredding chicken in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.

Curiosity got the best of me. And I’m so glad it did.

Shredding chicken in a stand mixer is flipping GENIUS…and it works just as good as an efficient cook with 2 forks and far too much time and patience.

I also decided to remove my immersion blender from the box and give it a whirl. Who knew soup-making could get any easier? Two shortcuts and a killer recipe. Happy gal.


Chicken Tortilla Soup slightly adapted from Elly Says Opa!

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb (about 3) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 6-inch corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch squares
2 anaheim chili peppers, seeded and diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
1 jalepeno, seeded and diced
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped
8 oz tomato sauce
1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 bay leaf
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
salt and pepper, to taste


In a stockpot, heat the oil. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and then cook it in the oil, just to brown on both sides. Remove the chicken, leaving the oil behind.

Add the tortilla squares and cook over low heat until they are slightly crisp. Add the peppers, onion, garlic, and corn and stir until they are coated by the oil. Add the tomatoes, cumin, bay leaf, and tomato sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes to combine the flavors and cook the vegetables.

Add the chicken broth and chicken breasts. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 20-25 minutes, until the flavors have developed and the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the soup and shred. Set chicken aside.

Remove the bay leaf and pulse process the soup in your food processor (in batches, if necessary) or immersion blender, to your desired consistency. Add the shredded chicken back into the soup. Serve hot. Yield: 12 cups.

Nutrition Information (per cup): 118 calories; 3 g. fat; 18 mg. cholesterol; 181 mg. sodium; 11.2 g. carbohydrate; 1.6 g. fiber; 11.9 g. protein

Result: Spicy, thick, and packed with flavor! If you are sensitive to heat – BEWARE! This is not for the weak! I did not find the spiciness over-powering, but I would suggest removing the seeds and ribs from your peppers, or testing them for their heat first (heat can vary a LOT from one pepper to the next, even of the same variety). Mr. Prevention loved this soup, as well…he even requested to take the leftovers to work. Enjoy!

Money Matters: I get my chicken from Trader Joe’s for $2.99/lb. The total cost of my peppers ($1.99/lb for jalapenos and $2.99/lb for poblanos and anaheims) was $1.17. I get 50 tortillas for $2.19 (I used 3 — $0.13). Tomato sauce is $0.60 for an 8 ounce can. Onions come in at $0.50 each. I recently found low-sodium at Cost Co for $1.25 for a 32 ounce carton — I used 2 in this recipe. Two tomatoes (about 1/2 lb) came to $0.64. The total cost of the recipe comes to $9.21 or $0.77 per cup – about $1.54 for 2 cup serving.


Long one today. Clinic then teaching. I…can…do…it! My patients have started to say their goodbyes and some of them just melt my little heart. It’s hard to leave when you feel loved & appreciated 🙂

Be well,

Share With Your Friends!


  1. Nour Zibdeh, RD
    January 3, 2012 / 6:25 am

    I can already taste how delicious this soup is! To shred chicken, I usually place one breast at a time on a flat dinner plate and use 2 forks to pull the meat apart. Chicken from Trader Joes at 2.99/lb? I gotta make them a visit! And my son has been super picky lately with his meals but he loves soup. I might replace the jalepeno peppers with sweet ones. Thanks will share on my facebook page!

  2. Amy B @ Second City Randomness
    January 3, 2012 / 7:17 am

    It’s hilarious because I just won a giveaway with coupons for free frozen soup meals. The freakin’ soup for two was $9 a bag! It was good, but I promise you that this recipe is probably better for ya…

  3. Gina (The Candid RD)
    January 3, 2012 / 7:25 am

    Truth be told, I have NEVER made shredded chicken! I will remember this tip though, because I really want to try it sometime. This soup sounds wonderful, and even Nick (who hates soup) might enjoy it. So far my list of 2012 “must make” recipes is way too long. You know what that means…..lots of cooking for me! Maybe….

    I’m sure leaving your clinic will be difficult, as I can imagine you get very attached to the patients (just like they get attached to you). But just imagine all the extra time you’ll have now!!

  4. Angie (Sweet Natured Treats)
    January 3, 2012 / 10:15 am

    I keep seeing this genius idea for shredding chicken mentioned. I have to try it soon. This soup may just be the perfect opportunity. Thanks!

  5. Estela @ Weekly bite
    January 3, 2012 / 10:56 am

    I love tortilla soup! This looks delicious ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Kristen (swanky dietitian)
    January 3, 2012 / 11:36 am

    These look incredible. This is probably one of my favorite soups!
    What a great tip for shredding chicken. Thanks!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Heidi @ Food Doodles
    January 3, 2012 / 11:44 am

    All the flavors in this soup amazing ๐Ÿ™‚ I love tortilla soup but I’ve never been able to recreate the one perfect bowl of it I had once. I love that this is mostly a smooth soup. I have to say I really appreciate the cost for the recipe and per serving – I know that takes a lot of extra time but it’s really nice to get an idea of how much it costs so thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Holly
    January 3, 2012 / 12:08 pm

    Chicken tortilla soup is one of my favorite things in the world. I make several different recipes all year long! Can’t wait to give this one a try!

  9. Leah @ Why Deprive?
    January 3, 2012 / 12:19 pm

    This sounds SO good. I’ve never had tortilla soup before, and I keep meaning to make it because it looks like something that I would absolutely love.

  10. elly
    January 3, 2012 / 1:12 pm

    I’m so glad you liked the soup! Looks great!

  11. Cara
    January 3, 2012 / 3:09 pm

    I need to try that shredding trick! I really can’t stand the whole two-forks thing ;0

  12. Jessica
    January 3, 2012 / 3:42 pm

    I love Chicken Tortilla soup, but probably not half as much as Jesse does! I think he would love me even more if I made this for him. ๐Ÿ™‚

    And I shredded some chicken using my standing mixer yesterday and it was great! But honestly, I’ve never really used the 2 fork thing, I just use my 2 hands, caveman style, and rip it apart. Haha. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Nicole
      January 3, 2012 / 4:16 pm

      LOL! I love it!

  13. Samantha Menzies
    January 3, 2012 / 5:31 pm

    That’s an awesome tip!!

  14. Trish
    January 3, 2012 / 8:13 pm

    That soup sounds so delicious! There’s a restaurant around here that makes excellent tortilla soup and I crave it all the time – I bet this will help with that ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. katie
    January 4, 2012 / 12:22 am

    I made tortilla soup tonight and used the same tip to shred the chicken. It is so easy, but you have to watch out on higher speeds…I had some flying chicken.

  16. Pingback: Creamy Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli Soup | Prevention RD
  17. Biz
    January 4, 2012 / 12:58 pm

    Cannot wait to make this one Nicole! You know I loves the spice!

  18. Pingback: Sweet Potato Hash « My Bizzy Kitchen
  19. Kim of Mo'Betta
    January 10, 2012 / 9:49 pm

    I love that this does not have beans in it! Must make asap!

  20. Kim of Mo'Betta
    February 9, 2012 / 12:03 pm

    I made this yesterday and just had some for lunch…it was awesome! I made a few changes based on what I had, but it was delicious!

  21. Pingback: Soups, Stews and Chowders | Prevention RD

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get my newest recipes
Follow Me