Seeking colorful, flavorful food to break the blasé mid winter blues.

I’ve never run a marathon. But, I bet that this time of year in Chicago is a lot like mile 18. You’ve run a long, long way. You are tired, perhaps even painfully tired. But, the finish line is not really in sight. It’s during this phase of the race that you have to dig deep and find some extra “oomph” inside to keep going.

It takes a lot of energy to keep warm, shovel cars out of a foot of snow, and help kids in and out of winter gear a number of times a day. The pace of work doesn’t slow down and little is left for creative thinking in the kitchen. I’ve been falling back on many of my easy, “go to” standbys. Last week, I had the urge to dust off my initiative and bring some interesting and uplifting flavor back to our dinner repertoire.

Since I am constantly hungry during the winter, hearty meals win over lighter fare every night. I have a few extra pounds to prove it but I’m not worrying about it until spring. I’ve been noticing Chicken Tortilla Soup on a lot of menus of late and began an internet search for a new recipe. I settled on this one from The Pioneer Woman. I often tinker with recipes but figured she probably knows what she is doing in this department and left well enough alone.

Chicken Tortilla Soup is all about the toppings. The avocado and brightness of the cilantro feel fresh while the hearty base fills you up. The flavors improved over time and though I planned to freeze a portion of the soup, I found that I was more than happy to indulge three days in a row.

Find the recipe, including a handy printable version HERE at The Pioneer Woman.