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Texas Tortilla Soup

Amanda chose this week’s Project Pastry Queen challenge: Texas Tortilla Soup.

I was super happy to put this on the menu this week. One, our oven is broken (waaah!) and that has really messed with my mind. And our menu. Second, I’ve posted the soup before and it was in dire need of a new photo. But really, it’s because the soup is freakin’ awesome.

The Pastry Queen’s Texas Tortilla Soup has been our go-to chicken tortilla soup recipe for the last 5 years. It’s broth-based, so it’s the rare Mexican food dish that won’t kill you with fat, calories, and sodium. But what really sets it apart from your average tortilla soup is that the body of the soup is built with roasted tomatoes.

Slow-roasting (or fast… depending on how much time you have) the tomatoes removes the excess water, concentrates the flavors, and caramelizes some of the sugars in the tomatoes. The tomatoes are then pureed and added to the broth. The resulting soup has far deeper flavors than the soup from your favorite Mexican restaurant. And topped with a little avocado, chopped onions, cilantro, and jalapenos, and a dollup of fat-free Greek yogurt, it’s wonderfully filling with far fewer calories than the Mexican restaurant soup.

Um, did I mention it’s good for you?

This is one of those great meals that you can make on Sunday and not worry about making dinner again until Wednesday. And it freezes beautifully. One batch feeds us for 3 nights. We usually split a grilled cheese sandwich to go along with it, made with one of those small $.50 bakery baguettes, a couple slices of avocado, and shredded monterrey jack.

Thanks to Amanda for getting my husband so excited about going to the grocery store this week! You can check out the full recipe here and the other PPQ members’ take on the soup here.



Amanda of Fake Ginger chose this week’s Project Pastry Queen Challenge: Rather Rich Corn Muffins.

I’ve made these muffins a hundred times. Quite possibly literally 100 times. It’s my go-to cornbread/corn muffin recipe for good reason – it’s perfectly sweet and super moist. It’s also a very non-fussy recipe. I throw everything into the mixer bowl before turning it on to mix until just combined. That’s it.

I almost never make them the same way twice. The batch for this week’s challenge was flavored with roasted corn, a large roasted jalapeno (that was Seventh Circle of Hell hot), and a pile of shaved Parmesan.

The possiblities are endless. Some of my favorite variations:

  • Pepper + Cheese – A handful of cheddar cheese and 1 or 2 chopped serranos or jalapenos (seeds and stems removed).
  • Madeleines – Regular or loaded with other ingredients, baking the batter in a madeleine pan makes them “fancy.”
  • Roasted (pictured) – During the summer, we eat lots of grilled corn on the cob. I like to throw a large jalapeno and an an extra cob on the grill specifically for muffins the next night. Simply cut the charred kernels off the cob and add it to the batter. For the jalapeno, grill until black/blistered. Place in a small bowl covered with plastic wrap and let cool. The skin will peel off easily. Remove the seeds and stem, chop to desired size, and throw in the batter.
  • Italianized – Sundried tomatoes, shaved parmesan, and leftover grilled corn on the cob that has been slathered with this Basil-parm-Garlic butter.
  • Greek-ificated – Chopped kalamata olives, crumbled goat cheese, and chopped red peppers.
  • Fats – I don’t always use heavy cream. Sour cream, greek yogurt, and my favorite – buttermilk (which I used this week) – sub really well for the heavy cream.
  • Thanks to Amanda for picking such a great recipe! Be sure to check out the Project Pastry Queen blogroll for other Rather Rich Corn Muffins. And stay tuned for next week when the group tackles Texas Big Hair Chocolate Hazelnut Meringue Tarts, as chose by Joelen.



    Soy Lime Pork Tenderloin

    There was a time when “grilling” meant one of two things: Dinner was at my parents’ house and Dad was cooking burgers or chicken, or I was plugging in a little counter top appliance endorsed by a former pro heavyweight boxer in my apartment. I was scared of the real deal and used to leave the “real” grilling to my husband. But in the last few years, I’ve figured out how to cook more than burgers on the grill. Take this pork tenderloin – something that, just a few of years ago, I would have never thought to slap on a grill.

    But can I tell you how much I love this recipe? The marinade is absolutely delicious – it’s part sweet, part salty, part sour, and because I routinely double-up on red pepper flakes, it’s also part spicy. It marinates overnight, so it’s ideal to freeze. Back during FoodieBaby Prep ’09, I froze a few tenderloins in large freezer bags with the marinade so it could marinate while it thawed.

    For the record, I’m a gas girl. And probably a complete disappointment to my father :P

    Soy Lime Pork Tenderloin

    Soy Lime Pork Tenderloin

    Pork tenderloin marinated in a sweet-salty-sour mixture and grilled.


    • 2 limes, juiced
    • 2 Tbsp white vinegar
    • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 Tbsp honey
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
    • 1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin


    1. Add marinade ingredients to a large zip top bag and squeeze to mix.
    2. Add tenderloin to bag and rotate/shake to coat. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferable overnight (you can also freeze here).
    3. Heat grill to high. Cook 6 minutes and rotate the meat 1/4 turn.
    4. Repeat until all sides are browned.
    5. Cook until internal temperature reaches 160. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.


    Yields: 6 servings

    Adapted from So Tasty So Yummy

    Estimated time: 2 hours 45 minutes

    Nutritional Information
    Calories: 261.2 | Fat: 12.1 | Fiber 2.7
    WW Points: 6