I've never really liked lunch. In my opinion, it's the most difficult meal of the day for a celiac. Think about it - what's the most common lunch item? The sandwich.
When I was a kid, the lunches my mom packed me for school included small salads, cups of applesauce, cheese and crackers little things to tide me over until my after school snack. In middle school, I started getting hot lunches - let me tell you, the hot lunches at St. Mary Middle School in the early 1990s were great. Taco salad day, which was usually Wednesday, was my favorite. In high school, I subsided on white cheddar popcorn, root beer and French fries I mooched off my friends.
It wasn't until I became features editor and started working the day shift that I got a handle on the whole lunch thing. I?couldn't skip it anymore - it was just too long from breakfast to dinner for me to not have something to eat. Sometimes I'd order out, but salads get old after a while. Besides, packing a lunch is more economical.
Fritos add a satisfying crunch to a bowl of tortilla soup.
My salvation has been soup.
Once a week, I cook up a big batch of soup, enough for my lunches during the next work week. Any extra goes into the freezer for when I'm too busy or lazy to cook.
One of my favorite soups to fix is tortilla soup.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 14.5-ounce cans chicken broth
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup chunky salsa
8 ounces corn tortilla chips
1/2 cup shredded cheese
In a large pot over medium heat, saute the chicken in the oil for five minutes or until cooked through.
Add the garlic and cumin and mix well. Then add the broth, corn, onion, chili powder, lemon juice and salsa.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes.
To serve, break up some tortilla chips into individual bowls and pour soup over chips. Top with shredded cheese and sour cream.
Yields: 4 servings
I was inspired to make my own since I?loved to order tortilla soup at Max & Erma's in my pre-celiac days. I've made it so often that I?don't even get out the recipe anymore - I just toss in the ingredients until it looks right.
One hint that I?think makes the soup better:?I?use a whole jar of salsa instead of the one cup the recipe calls for. You can also tailor the spiciness of the soup to your taste with your salsa. I?use a medium hot salsa to add a little kick, but if you prefer a less spicy soup, use a mild salsa.
I like to have this with Mexican blend cheese generously sprinkled on top and a small bag of Fritos for crunch.