Mamacita's Tortilla Soup with Roasted Pork

Tuesday, November 9th:
Mamacita's Tortilla Soup with Roasted Pork and Avocado
Organic Baby Greens Salad with Homemade Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
Soup & Salad Toppings:  Rice, Black Beans, Cheese, Limes, Salsa, Cilantro
Mimi'sChile con Queso & Chips
Vegetarian Option:  Black Bean Tortilla Soup
Kids' Option:  Shredded Pork Soft Tacos ($5)
Dessert:  Monster Cookies! ($5)

This week's menu is a tribute to my two wonderful grandmothers - Mamacita and Mimi.  Mamacita was my mom's mom, and in all the years I knew her, I'm pretty sure she never turned on her stove.  When we visited, we were treated to such kid favorites as tomato aspic or a dry tuna fish sandwich with bread and butter pickles.  Mmmm.  Kids love that.  So in honor of Mamacita's lifelong rejection of cooking, I've named this very tasty, hearty soup after her.  She would probably be relatively indifferent to the honor, but I'm sure she would have liked the soup.  Mimi was my dad's mother, and she and my grandfather were both great cooks.  She created this queso recipe and I've really never had any that even comes close to being as tasty.  It's really a work of art.  Cheesy art, but art nonetheless.

This week's meal really is a make-your-own extravaganza, so it will be fun for everyone, no matter how picky!  You'll get soup, of course, made with roasted pork, cilantro, chipotle, corn, tomatoes, and fresh avocado chunks.  It's so flavorful and savory that no one may notice that it's actually really healthy & filled with veggies.  You can dress your bowl up in a million different ways.  Stir in rice & beans, top with cheese and cilantro, crunch up some chips on top, squeeze on a lime and dig in.  Or maybe you're a purist and will go with naked soup.  It's up to you, but it will be fun to let everyone make his or her own perfect bowl.

If, like me, you're more of a salad person than a soup person, you can make that the main event.  Have a little cup of soup, just because it's so tasty, but then create an awesome salad by adding beans, cheese, salsa or whatever else you like to a bed of fresh greens.  I have to say that all three of my kids will now eat salad, and I think it's largely due to the fact that there are always so many things on top of the lettuce that they love.  The "salad" may be mostly cheese and ranch dressing, with a lettuce leaf in there somewhere, but I'll call it progress!

Even though this week is - in my opinion - very kid-friendly, I'm adding a kids' option because we had a very ugly scene one night over this very recipe.  I normally don't make my kids eat things they don't want to, but for some reason I really, really, really felt that Finn should at least try it.  He felt strongly the opposite, and it became, in family lore, "Tortilla Soup-gate."  Not pretty.  If you've got very picky eaters, you can get a small portion of plain shredded pork and flour tortilla and let your kids load cheese or beans or whatever they want on top, thus avoiding tears and hair-pulling and saving more soup for you!

The dessert this week is so good!  We got to be taste-testers for these chewy, decadent cookies and they made everybody happy.  They are peanut butter cookies mixed with oatmeal, brown sugar and M&Ms, and they are monstrously big!  (The cookies are made and packaged in a different kitchen from the rest of the meal, so if you have a peanut allergy issue, the main meal is totally nut free.)

That's all folks.  I'm excited that the weather is going to be cold and the soup will be hot.  I hope you have a great fall weekend and I'm looking forward to seeing you on the porch!

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