Chicken Tortilla Soup

Serves 4-6 (Makes about 8½ cups). Recipe can easily be increased. You can substitute a can of rinsed black beans in place of the zucchini if you prefer. Recipe is from Linda Glisson and Holly Hutchison.

3 tablespoons olive oil (or a mixture of butter and olive oil)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 small yellow bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 zucchini, rinsed, ends removed and cut into small dice

1½ pounds skinless, deboned chicken (breast or thighs), fat and gristle removed; cut into bite-size pieces OR grilled chicken strips

2 teaspoons cumin

2 (14.5-ounce) cans chicken broth

2 (14.5-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped

1 cup picante sauce

½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro

8 ounces provolone, Monterrey Jack or Fiesta-blend cheese, shredded or cut into ¼-inch cubes

1-1½ ripe avocados, sliced or cubed for topping

1 fresh lime, cut into wedges

Sour cream, optional for topping

Crumbled tortilla chips for topping

1. In large saucepan or Dutch oven, add olive oil and butter and sauté onion, bell pepper and garlic until softened. Add zucchini (or black beans). Add chicken and cook 5 minutes.

2. Add cumin, broth, stewed tomatoes and picante sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

4. To serve: Place about ¼ cup cheese in bottom of each bowl. Ladle hot soup over cheese. Top with avocado cubes, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, a small dollop of sour cream and crumbled tortilla chips.