Although it would be difficult to pin the crime on a big company like Frito-Lay or some such, I’ve often thought that tortilla chips, potato chips, and similar things are purposely packaged in flimsy cellophane bags so that they are easily broken. Three fourths of your way through the bag you find more and more broken chips until you are left with nothing but little pieces and crumbs. No one wants to eat those right? So you throw them away and, yep, you guessed it – you pay for a full bag but only consume part of it. So it’s off to the store to buy more which serves to improve Kroger’s and Frito-Lay’s bottom lines. I don’t know, maybe Sister Mary Ephrem was right, am I being too cynical?
But wait, here’s an alternative – it probably wont save you tons of money but you can at least feel that you are spreading your hard-earned money a little further: Make soup. Crumbled tortilla chips as a topping on soups and chilis are delicious! Forget crackers. Here are three recipes for savory soups that are mild enough for the kids and interesting enough for the adults to come back for seconds – and another handful of broken chips.
First is an Easy Chicken Posole from Make It Tonight, Fine Cooking’s wonderful subscription service. Make It Tonight costs 20 bucks a year and provides you with five excellent recipes a week and a shopping list via your email. For busy households or those not wanting a pile of cooking magazines accumulating in your kitchen I highly recommend this service. This soup is so good, not spicy hot, and is even better the next day. The fun part for me was adding hominy in place of beans or noodles. I love the creamy/chewy texture of hominy. The directions recommend using chicken breasts, I used a mixture of thighs and breasts. Easy, easy, easy.
A second recipe, one that I have written about before, is Smoky Turkey and Tortilla Soup. This soup is not a weeknight quickie but has the benefit of using up some of that Thanksgiving turkey, clean out all kinds of veggies in the fridge, and calls for a bunch of tortilla chips. You fill your bowl with a pile of chips, diced avocado, and some shredded Monterey Jack cheese and then ladle the soup over the top. It’s a one-dish meal and it’s one that you will make over and over. And nothing says you have to wait until after Thanksgiving to prepare it.
And lastly, at the risk of shocking my fellow Hawkeyes fans, here is Boilermaker Tailgate Chili. This preparation benefits from being made the day before and makes a large quantity that would be great for a party, each serving proudly garnished with a handful of tortilla chips. I like the unusual combination of meats and vegetables in this dish. Some would say this is not classic chili but I disagree – it is a complex and flavorful chili that is not spicy hot (unless you wish to make it so). The quantity could be cut in half for a smaller batch. We love this chili.