low-calorie soup

So, I’m not a recipe person. Never have been. That’s probably why I’m a terrible baker. I get ahead of myself. I don’t read the whole thing. I add or subtract ingredients as I go. That’s just me. But today, I made an attempt at crafting a recipe for a low-calorie chicken tortilla soup that we’ve enjoyed eating this winter. We serve it often with sliced honey crisp apples or a salad.

Low calorie dense foods

As a self-proclaimed Noom nerd, I came up with this 110-calories-a-cup soup recipe in an effort to add low calorie dense food to our diet. As you may already know, Steve and I have been using the Noom weight loss app and as of Feb. 4, 2020, we’ve lost a combined 135 pounds. We’ve done this by adding more nutritious, low calorie dense foods to our diet.  You can read all about it HERE.

does noom work?

We quickly learned that broth-based soups are a great way to fill up without expending many calories. When I searched online for low-calorie soup recipes, I didn’t find many good ones so decided to create my own. Here’s one of our favorites. This spicy broth-based soup is full of hot, Southwest flavors and definitely warms you up on a cold day. And, even with crispy tortilla strips as a garnish, it is only 125 calories a cup!

How to make low-calorie chicken tortilla soup

First, I gather all of my ingredients and then dice the bell peppers and onions. I like using two different colored bell peppers – say one orange and one green. Then, I get out the largest pot I have in my kitchen. I love my eight quart Le Creuset dutch oven and use it all the time for soups and stews. Heat the pot first, then add just 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the peppers and onions and sauté in the oil until they are soft and fragrant.

Start of chicken tortilla soup

Next, add the two cloves of minced garlic. I buy minced garlic in those little jars in the produce section of the grocery store. Go ahead and get actual garlic cloves if you’d like. I just hate my hands smelling like garlic all day.

After adding the garlic, stir until it is heated. Then, add the low-sodium chicken broth, water, green chilies, and the Rotel. A quick note about the Rotel hot diced tomatoes with habaneros: These are spicy. Really spicy. So, if you can’t take the heat, just substitute these with Rotel mild diced tomatoes with green chilies. Add the tomato paste now, as well, and give the soup a good stir to blend in the paste.


noom soup recipe

This is where I usually add the cooked chicken. The last time I made this soup we cooked our chicken breasts in the Instapot. But you can bake the chicken, boil it, or cook it in a crock pot, as well. Add the cumin, garlic powder and salt to taste. Let this all simmer for 10 minutes or so while you clean up your dishes and then add the cannelloni beans. Simmer a little while longer while you prepare your garnishes.

Cutting tortilla for chicken tortilla soup

We like this soup with baked crispy corn tortilla strips. You can buy those in a bag but I think they are too expensive (and besides, they are fried so they have more calories) so I usually make my own. Just cut a few small corn tortillas in strips. Lay them out on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and spray with a cooking spray like Pam. Then sprinkle a l little cumin and chili powder (or taco seasoning) and bake at 375 degrees until golden brown and crisp. Sorry, but I can’t remember how long that takes.

Chicken tortilla soup bowl

Serving up your low-calorie chicken tortilla soup

By the time your tortilla crisps are done your soup will be, too. Serve your low-calorie chicken tortilla soup garnished with your tortilla strips and thinly sliced fresh jalapeños. I use my Pampered Chef mandolin to get really thin slices, but you can slice with a knife, as well. One cup of soup and half of a tortilla is about 110 calories.

Sliced jalapeños for chicken tortilla soup

This low-calorie chicken tortilla soup also freezes really well. We filled six clear plastic containers with four cups of low-calorie chicken tortilla soup each. I think it would be OK in the freezer for about three months. However, we loved it so much we ate it all long before then.

Chicken tortilla soup containers

If you make this soup, let us know what you think! You can send us a photo and/or message on social media @postcardjar or just comment on this post.

low calorie chicken tortilla soup recipe


  • Last week, we had the pleasure of making handmade pasta (via the internet) with our friends, Deb and Massi, who were in their home kitchen in Italy. ⁣
You can read all about it, and get the recipe, on our blog. Yep, you guessed it, the link is in our bio. ⁣
We met Deb and Massi of @italyunfiltered a few years ago when they created an amazing food and wine itinerary for us. We've remained friends and it was so good to see them, even if they were a world away.
  • We were supposed to be in Rochester, Minnesota, this week for Ann to see a cardiac sarcoidosis specialist about some recent issues with her heart. Of course, we did not travel to Rochester for her scans and doctor visits because of the coronavirus outbreak.⁣
Instead, her cardiologists called her from their homes and her scans and tests will likely be delayed until June or July. We'll keep in close touch with them if anything changes, as well. We are so grateful for all of the healthcare professionals who are continuing to work crazy hours from home as well as in our hospitals around the world.⁣
This is such an unprecedented and stressful time for all of them. Words will never be enough to convey our gratitude for the roles they are playing in the battle against this deadly virus while caring for those with other diseases and illnesses at the same time. ⁣
Every healthcare provider we've talked with in the last two weeks has had the same message for those of us who don't have to go to work at a hospital. ⁣
Just. Stay. Home.
  • Yesterday was Day 16 of social isolation for us. Because of Ann's underlying heart condition and suppressed immune system, we've cooked all our meals at home (no takeout). We've starting to get more and more creative as time has gone by. ⁣
Last night, we made chicken and shrimp vindaloo and learned online how to make homemade naan.⁣
It wan't as good as our favorite Indian restaurant, The Oven, but it did satisfy the craving we've had for Indian food. ⁣
What are you craving these days?
  • We moved our living room furniture around this week and put two swivel chairs near the sliding glass door. Each day, we take time to turn around, rest our minds, enjoy in the view, and just be. #webelieveinhome
  • Our daughter, Meghan, is a cardiac ICU nurse. Despite all of the current uncertainties in healthcare during this pandemic, early this morning she put on her scrubs and went to work a 12+ hour shift. 
She is not alone. Across the country and around the world, healthcare workers are putting the safety of themselves and their families at risk to help others. It's what they do. Every. Single. Day. 
We are incredibly grateful that there are selfless people like this in the world and we pray for them and we hope you'll join us. 
We couldn't sleep this morning, so we wrote instead. Click on the link in our bio to read our morning thoughts and prayers.
  • Trying to decide where we’ll travel this weekend. Covered porch? Living room? 😉
  • We are staying home. 
We've been here for almost a week now because Ann is one of "those people." You know the ones. Those people with an underlying health issue. Those people with a suppressed immune system. One of those people who could become seriously ill, need hospitalization, and even die if exposed to the coronavirus.  Those people need your help to stay safe and live. And all you have to do is stay home when you don’t NEED to be out.

Over the past few days, we’ve seen photos, videos, and witnessed first hand people of all ages (but mostly young people) gathering in groups for what us mid lifers would consider “non essential” reasons: birthday parties, movies, youth sports practices, St. Patty’s Day celebrations at the bar, spring break at the beach, and the like. 
We don’t understand it. 
We try not to judge. 
But just for a time during this worldwide pandemic, could we ask people who are participating in non-essential activities to consider who “those people” most at risk really are?

Those people are already battling serious illnesses.

Those people want to see their grandchildren grow up.

Those people need to do their jobs as nurses and doctors.

Those people are first responders. 
Those people run the grocery store, and the pharmacy, and the gas station. 
Those people pray for you and your generation. 
And what about those other people? 
The ones you know.

Those people who made sacrifices to meet your needs.

Those people who took care of you when you were sick.

Those people who went to your games and cheered you on. 
Those people who taught you in school.

Those people who helped you pay for college.

Those people who cooked your favorite dish for you.

Those people who taught your Sunday School class.

Those people who have forgiven you.

Those people who will always love you unconditionally.

We keep wanting to scream, “It’s not about you, it’s about those people!” But the truth of the matter is, IT IS ABOUT YOU. 
You have the power to help.
You have the power to influence others.
You have the power to flatten the curve.

And by not changing your behaviors, you also have the power to harm. 
How will you choose to use your power?j
  • We’re sharing your postcards and encouraging you to help others and stay positive. 
If you’d like to send us a postcard, mail to: Postcard Jar, PO Box 334, Crete, NE 68333.

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