Black Bean Soup with Crispy Tortillas

vegetable oil, for frying tortillas
4 (6 inch) corn tortillas
dash or two of salt
1 onion, chopped about 1/4 inch
1 tsp ground cumin
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans (NOT drained!)
2-4 tbsp (to taste) fresh cilantro, chopped
black pepper (to taste)
lime juice (to taste)
4 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 medium tomato, chopped

In a medium saucepan, heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil over moderately high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees. Add the tortillas and fry, stirring occasionally, until crisp and lightly golden, about 1 1/2 minutes. (Or you could do the easy thing, like me, and pull out your deep fryer!) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tortillas to paper towels to drain; season with salt.
In a medium soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil used to fry the tortillas. Add the onion and cook over medium heat until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the cumin and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans and their liquid and 1 1/2 cups of water. **Optional Step: You can blend one can of the soup, with its liquid, for a creamier, thicker soup. I like it this way, but you can just dump in both cans if you'd like.** Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a tortillas, cheese, tomatoes, and cilantro. Squeeze a little lime juice over the soup and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Calories 421
Fat 19g
Sodium 179mg
Carbs 43g
Fiber 14g
Protein 21g

Spicy Orange Chicken

The whole family really loves this dish! It's a great alternative to take out orange chicken and WAY better for you!! Serve it up with some broccoli or other veggie to round out the meal.

juice of 1 orange (about 1/3 cup)
zest of one orange
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp splenda
1 tsp ginger, grated
3-4 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bit sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
4 servings brown rice, cooked according to package directions

Combine orange juice, orange zest, soy sauce, honey, splenda, ginger, garlic, cornstarch, and red pepper flakes in a bowl and set aside. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper to taste and cook until lightly browned. Pour juice mixture over chicken and add oranges. Stir until sauce thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Serve over rice.

**I think this recipe has the perfect amount of kick to it. However, my daughter is a wimp when it comes to heat. If you have a child like mine, or maybe you or someone else you're feeding doesn't like the heat, make the recipe according to the directions, leaving out the flakes. You can dish up their serving and then mix in the flakes or sprinkle them on your own plate later if you wish!**

Makes 4 servings.

Calories 330
Fat 5.6g
Sodium 223mg
Carbs 39.5g
Fiber 2g
Protein 28.6g