Chicken Tortilla Soup

Sorry for the long absence – I’m sure you’ve been just devastated 😉

In the colder months, I make a lot of soups. I’ve already given you my beloved lasagna soup recipe. I also have a great one for minestrone. Tonight, we do chicken tortilla soup. Super simple, super fast, super yummy.

chicken tortilla soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

(adapted from Eat Drink Love)


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 of a large yellow onion, diced
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 oz corn (canned or frozen)
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • broken-up tortilla chips


Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Toss in the diced onion and cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Add black beans and corn, then each of the spices. Stir to coat.

Meanwhile, dice your chicken breasts into small pieces. Alternatively, you could use already-cooked rotisserie chicken and shred it; that would probably be more “authentic” but I chose to dice it and cook it in a pan separately.

Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth (really doesn’t matter which – I ended up mixing some of both because of what I had already open/handy) as well as the diced tomatoes. Add in the chicken, however you’ve chosen to prepare it. Stir it all well, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

When the time is up, serve the soup in bowls and garnish with broken tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sour cream – whatever floats your boat.


I (approximately) doubled the spice measurements from the original recipe and honestly, still found it a bit too bland. So go nuts with the chili powder, the cayenne pepper, the paprika.

I’m aware the photo is absolutely terrible, and I said I’d get better, not worse…the trouble is I can’t find the uploader thingmajig for my camera so I’m stuck using my iPhone. SOMEDAY, it will get better. 🙂


Red Velvet Brownies

sloppy magnificence.

sloppy magnificence.

It is not news that I have a serious sweet tooth. Since I started cooking/baking a year and a half ago(ish), I’ve had trouble stopping myself from making chocolate chip cookies, funfetti cupcakes, double chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal Raisinet cookies…you get the picture. But I’ve always been a big fan of red velvet, so for Valentine’s Day I decided to give this one a shot.

I realize cake or cupcakes are the more traditional forms of red velvet…but I have issues with cupcakes. I can make them, I just can’t frost them and have them look remotely attractive (even though Rachel has tried to teach me). And the cake recipes I was finding looked too involved. So, brownies it is! Nice flat square surface, can’t eff that up 🙂

Red Velvet Brownies

(adapted from The Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie)

Brownie Ingredients

*1 1/2 sticks butter

*1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

*3 eggs

*2 tsp vanilla extract

*1 oz red food coloring

*3 tbsp cocoa powder (you might try 2 or 2 1/2 tbsp – I felt it was almost a bit too chocolatey for red velvet)

*1 cup all-purpose flour

*1/2 tsp baking powder

*1/2 tsp salt

Brownie Directions

Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8×8 square pan.

Put the butter in a microwave-safe dish or container and nuke until melted. In a large mixing bowl, add melted butter and stir with vanilla, eggs, sugar and red food coloring until well combined. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix well, preferably with an electric hand-held mixer or stand mixer.

Pour batter into the 8×8 pan. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out just about clean. Allow to cool.

Frosting Ingredients

*8 oz cream cheese, softened

*1/4 cup butter

*1 tsp vanilla

*2 cups powdered sugar

*2 tbsp heavy cream

Frosting Directions

With your electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth (30 seconds probably). Next, beat in vanilla and salt.

Add powdered sugar and beat until well-combined. Add heavy cream and mix again. Beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy, shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes.

Spread frosting evenly over the cooled brownies.

Dive in!


As with most red velvet products, these brownies are delicious and rich. I like that this recipe is only for an 8×8 pan as opposed to a 9×13, so it can disappear faster! The cream cheese frosting is good, but I think I’ve made better ones in the past, so this will probably be tweaked in the future.

Funny story: when mixing the batter, I thought I was finished and I went to taste it, expecting a mouthful (i mean…a teaspoon full) of goodness. Surprise – tasted terrible! I was so upset and couldn’t figure out what I’d done wrong, until I looked again at the ingredients…and realized I had left out THE SUGAR. Of all the crucial ingredients! Needless to say, it tasted waaaay better after incorporating the missing sugar.

Such are a novice’s adventures!

(Admittedly somewhat inauthentic) Chicken Tikka Masala with Roasted Potatoes

So, this is obviously an Indian dish. I only know a handful of them well enough to create on my own. Chicken tikka masala can be done a lot of different ways, in varying degrees of complexity; the recipe that follows is probably the easiest one you’ll ever find. It also isn’t spicy whatsoever. You can change that by adding some crushed red pepper or, if you’re V, Sriracha. Or even green chilies. But as written, this is about as safe of an Indian dish as there is. Safe but still REALLY GOOD.

Skillet Chicken Tikka Masala

(adapted from


*15 oz can diced tomatoes

*1 to 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut into 1-inch pieces)

*1 tbsp vegetable oil

*1 onion, finely chopped

*1 tbsp garam masala

*2 minced garlic cloves

*1 tsp grated ginger

*1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half

*1 tbsp dried parsley


Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Add the vegetable oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat; mix in the chicken pieces. Cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Reduce the heat a bit and add the onions to the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until translucent. Stir in the garam masala, garlic, and ginger, taking care to mix it well with the onion and scrape the sides of the skillet.

Pour the diced tomatoes into a food processor and pulse briefly. You just want to break up the larger pieces. Add the tomatoes to the skillet and bring the whole thing to a simmer; reduce to medium-low, cover, and cook for a few minutes until it has thickened somewhat.

Stir in the cream and return the chicken (with its juices) back to the pan. Allow the sauce to meld with the chicken for a couple minutes, then stir in the parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice or with roti/naan.


Careful not to burn your onions. Maybe that’s just my stove that has a tendency to do burn really quickly with onions.

You really “should” eat it with naan, but I had potatoes that needed using up so I cooked up some roasted taters instead. And I’m going to give you that recipe too! Because I tried it a different way this time, and it was FANTASTIC.

Crispy Roasted Potatoes

(adapted from various different Pinterest posts)


*about 1 pound small yellow or red potatoes (or hell, mix ’em up)

*2 tbsp olive oil

*1 tbsp rosemary

*grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Quarter the potatoes and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Nuke for 10 minutes.  Drain of any excess water. Coat a pan with nonstick cooking spray or some olive oil. Add the potatoes in a single layer, if possible. Drizzle more olive oil on top. Add rosemary and Parmesan, if you want.

Place in oven and cook for about 20 minutes, give or take the temperament of your oven. Mine were done at 18 minutes.

The outsides were deliciously brown and crisp; the insides, fluffy and moist and melt-in-your-mouth. They tasted buttery, but I didn’t add any butter. Yummmmmmm. Definitely using this method for roasted potatoes from here on out.

chicken tikka masala and roasted potatoes

And we begin with…a major favorite

Welcome to Sconnie Sustenance! Just for fun, I have decided to share my amateur adventures in cooking with…whomever visits this random place. I do emphasize amateur; I don’t really know what the hell I’m doing, but I’m decent at following directions, and so far that’s served me pretty well in this endeavor 🙂 I hope you enjoy the recipes and if you try them out yourself, please comment and let me know how it turns out!

Lasagna Soup. Mmmm, this is a very, very popular dinner at our house. Even when we’re trying not to eat meat, we can’t resist this dish. It’s easy to make and the flavors are just fantastic. (It sounds obvious, but choose your sausage with care; don’t just go grabbing the first one you see.) It’s good to eat with a nice crusty bread or a salad, but honestly, we usually eat it sans any kind of side…it’s that filling, and it’s that delicious.

Lasagna Soup

(adapted from 300 Sensational Soups)

Soup Ingredients:

*2 tsp olive oil

*about 1 pound Italian sausage

*1 large onion, diced

*2 garlic cloves, minced

*2 tsp dried oregano

*1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

*2 tbsp tomato paste

*1 28 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (or just regular diced tomatoes if that’s what you have)

*2 bay leaves

*6 cups chicken stock

*8 oz fusilli pasta

*1 tbsp dried basil

*salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cheesy Yum Ingredients:

*8 oz. whole-milk or part-skim ricotta

*1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

*pinch of freshly ground pepper


Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Chop sausage into about 1/2-inch pieces and brown for about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for just a minute. Add tomato paste and stir until it all turns a rusty dark red.

Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat; simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions in a separate pot. Prepare the cheesy yum in a small bowl by combining all 3 ingredients.

To serve, place a generous serving of the cheesy yum at the bottom of a bowl, then add pasta, and then soup on top of it all.


I personally find that the cheesy yum recipe sometimes needs to be doubled to suit my needs. It’s kind of the best part.

If you’re looking to do fewer dishes at the end of the night, you can cook the pasta along with the soup in that large pot; however, be warned that this may get the pasta rather soggy, especially if you have leftovers.


(I promise my photos will improve. I’m a newb.)