Tortilla Meatball Soup

As I have mentioned before, my daughter is part of a book club, and therefore, I am also part of a book club.  It is my first one, and I love it.  It forces me to read what she reads, and broadens my reading horizons beyond food.  So far, I have liked every single book we have read – I have to admit though, I do get some pretty interesting looks when I whip out my children’s book on the bus, but it makes for an interesting conversation if the someone actually gets the nerve up to break the silence and say a word.

When we started the book club, there were a few rules:

  1. we take turns hosting each month
  2. the host orders the pizza – enough for both the kids and the moms
  3. everyone else signs up to bring the rest:  drinks, fruit, appetizers, dessert, salad

So, for the past year and a half, we have been following the rules, and eating our pizza, one night a month.  I have been noticing that it is the kids that love the pizza, and the moms eat the pizza – but prefer the appetizers and salad.  This month things changed…and I was so glad they did.  Instead of pizza, the host provided soup – and three kinds I might add!  She did a spectacular job, and I guess her daughter made one all by herself – very impressive.  I thought it was a novel idea, and one I hope we stick to – and maybe shake it up a bit?  I could tell that the next host was feeling out the crowd a bit for the next one, and I was not the only one that like where this was headed.

So, I have already been thinking about when I host – fortunately it will still be winter time, so hopefully the soup theme will stick.  I love making meatball soups, so when I saw this in Cooking Light, I figured I better start testing.  The soup needs to be kid friendly yet hearty enough for a meal.  This one definitely fits the bill – my kids loved it, and with the meatballs, it was definitely filling.  So, as I said, hopefully this will stick – although kids really love pizza, and this is a bunch of really bright girls…I wouldn’t be surprised if they stage a rally soon – but until then, I will enjoy our new monthly dinner – and save the pizza for another night.


  • 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 ears corn on the cob
  • 4 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced and divided
  • 1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups (3/4-inch) cubed red potatoes
  • 1 cup (1/2-inch-thick) slices carrot
  • 3 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Preheat broiler.

Cut jalapeños and bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Arrange corn on baking sheet with peppers. Broil 4 to 6 minutes or until blackened, turning corn once. Place peppers in a paper bag; fold to seal. Let stand 15 minutes; peel. Mince jalapeños, and coarsely chop bell pepper. Cut corn kernels from cobs. Set aside.

Place tortilla strips in a single layer on a baking sheet; lightly coat with cooking spray. Broil for 3 minutes or until golden brown, turning after 2 minutes. Set aside.

Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 garlic clove, panko, and the next 3 ingredients (through chipotle chile) in a large bowl, and gently mix until just combined. With moist hands, shape the meat mixture into 24 meatballs (about 2 tablespoons each).

Place a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add meatballs to pan; sauté for 8 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove from pan. Add onion, potatoes, and carrot to pan; sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining 5 garlic cloves; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add peppers, broth, and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are almost tender, stirring occasionally. Return meatballs to pan. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and corn; return to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes or until meatballs are done. Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 6 bowls; top each serving with 4 teaspoons Monterey Jack cheese, 2 teaspoons cheddar cheese, and 4 teaspoons cilantro. Top evenly with tortilla strips.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Tortilla Meatball Soup

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2 thoughts on “Tortilla Meatball Soup

  1. I am amazed that your girls liked this soup. I don’t think I could get mine to touch it. Soups are one thing I wish I could get them to eat more of, but in all fairness I only just started eating soups recently. LOL. ;) I hope that the new theme sticks! What a great idea – a mom/daughter book club. Very fun!

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