Category Archives: Chicken

Chili-Mango Chicken

Chili-Mango Chicken

Finally, another meal that everyone in the family likes.  This is a stir-fry, so don't forget the rice – it's not mentioned in the ingredients list.  I used Jasmine Rice.

Note to self:  Alyssa doesn't care for the mango.  Replace with pineapple.  Everyone loved the snap peas. Allen added extra chili garlic sauce to his, of course.  Rice recipe claiming it feeds 6 is barely enough. Do 8 servings next time, for 4 people.  

I forgot to add the sesame oil, just too big of a hurry and didn't notice it.  It's also very hard to read in the small cookbook.  Hopefully, the way I rephrased the recipe and divided the steps, will help next time.

According to the authors:
Per serving: $2.06, 240 calories, 8 g fat, 410 mg sodium


Chili-Mango Chicken Stir-Fry
Compliments of JennaDish

Adapted slightly from Cook This Not That! 350-Calorie Meals by Zinczenko and Goulding

Have all ingredients ready, measured and chopped as this recipe moves quickly.  Serve over rice.


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into 1/2" pieces (I used boneless breasts)
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/2 to 1 Tbsp peanut oil or canola oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 Tbsp grated ginger
2 cups sugar snap peas
1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and chopped (can substitute pineapple)
1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce (preferably samal oleek)
black pepper to taste

Combine the chicken and the next 3 ingredients – cornstarch, soy sauce and sesame oil – in a mixing bowl and let sit 10 minutes.

Heat the peanut or canola oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. (I think level 8 of 10 is fine – at 10 things will be popping like crazy). Add the onion and cook about 1 minutes, add ginger and cook another minute or until the onion is translucent.  

Add the sugar snap peas and stir-fry 1 minute, keeping them in constant motion.

Add the chicken, including marinade, and stir-fry about 2 minutes, until meat browns on the outside.

Add the mango, chili sauce, and black pepper and stir-fry for 1 minute longer, until the chicken is cooked through and the mango has softened into a near sauce-like consistency. 

Serve over rice.



Homemade Chicken and Stars Soup


Homemade Chicken and Stars Soup w Text
I've read so many different ways to make chicken broth.  

So many different opinions.  I normally prefer Martha Stewart recipes but …

I found one that makes more sense to me.  And it's pretty quick.  

No simmering for hours or multiple steps.  Or using odd parts of a chicken I don't have.

It's more work than throwing some boxed chicken broth in a pan.

But sometimes you just want to have the good stuff.

The idea of this recipe is that cutting the chicken in 2" pieces and sauteeing it first before putting in the water, helps speed the process of getting all the flavor from the chicken.

For this job, a cleaver would be great.  I got this one at Wasserstrom Restaurant Supply in-store.  
Great deal.

Chicken Pieces Sauteeing

Saute chicken pieces (reserving breast) and onions about 25 minutes.

Add water, whole chicken breast, salt and bay leaves, simmer another 20 minutes.

Chicken Breast in Chicken Stock

Remove chicken breast, set aside.  When cool, remove skin and shred or dice meat into bite size pieces.

Chicken Broth
Strain broth into a large bowl.

Sauteed Onions with Thyme

Return soup kettle to medium high heat.  Add onion, carrot and celery.  Saute 5 minutes.

Add thyme, broth and shredded chicken.  Simmer until flavors meld, about 15 minutes.

Add noodles or other pasta and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes.

Adjust seasonings, adding salt if necessary and pepper.  Stir in parsley and serve.  

Flavored croutons are a nice addition.


Chicken Noodle Soup

Compliments of JennaDish

from The Perfect Recipe by Pam Anderson 


1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions,cut into medium dice
1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds), breast removed and split; remaining chicken cut into 2-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 cups (3 ounces) hearty egg noodles (or 1/4-1/3 cup dry stars pasta)
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup mined fresh parsley leaves

1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large soup kettle.  Add half of chopped onions and all chicken pieces (reserve breast).  Saute until chicken is no longer pink, 5-7 minutes.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until chicken releases its uices, about 20 minutes.  Increase heat to high; add 2 quarts water (already boiling if you are in a hurry) along with the whole chicken breast, 1 teaspoon salt and bay leaves.  Bring to a simmer, then cover, reduce heat to low and barely simmer until chicken breast is cooked and broth is rich and flavorful, 20 minutes longer.

2. Remove chicken breast from kettle; set aside.  When cool enough to handle, remove skin from breast, then remove meat from bones and shred into bite-size pieces; discard skin and bones.  Strain broth into a large bowl and discard any remaining chicken pieces and bones.  Skim fat from broth and reserve 2 tablespoons.  (Broth and meat can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

3. Return soup kettle to medium-high heat.  Add reserved chicken fat.  Add remaining onion, along with carrot and celery.  Saute until sofened, about 5 minutes.  Add thyme, broth and shredded chicken. Simmer until vegetables are tender and flavors meld, 10 to 15 minutes.  Add noodles and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes.  Adjust seasonings, adding salt, if necessary, and pepper, stir in parsley and serve.

Baked Buffalo Wings

These are the hot wings Alyssa made this year on New Year's Day.  Delish.


I got fancy with the empty Frank's RedHot bottle.

Baked Buffalo Wings
Compliments of JennaDish

from Leesah on

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
20 chicken wings
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup hot pepper sauce (such as Frank's RedHot®)

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and lightly grease with cooking spray. Place the flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt into a resealable plastic bag, and shake to mix. Add the chicken wings, seal, and toss until well coated with the flour mixture. Place the wings onto the prepared baking sheet, and place into the refrigerator. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Whisk together the melted butter and hot sauce in a small bowl. Dip the wings into the butter mixture, and place back on the baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and crispy on the outside, about 45 minutes. Turn the wings over halfway during cooking so they cook evenly.


Roast Chicken with Two Lemons

Happy New Year! 

This holiday season I was off work December 23rd to January 2nd.  Alyssa and Jill and Allen were also all home, and we did a lot of cooking.  On New Year's Eve Alyssa made meatballs and spaghetti (1st time Marcella Hazan, 2nd time Bobby Flay recipe), then she and Jill left for separate parties.  On New Year's Day (today) Alyssa made Buffalo Wings and I made Cuban Black Bean Soup.  Other dishes we made over the break were this chicken, baby back ribs, pork barbecue, pot stickers, crepes with Nutella and banana, and I made and froze some Asian meatballs for a future meal.  All recipes are either posted or forthcoming.

Hardly any sweets! Unbelievable.

Chicken with Two Lemons

I'm pretty sure this Marcella Hazan recipe will be my go-to recipe for roast chicken from now on.  It's easy and straightforward.  Just like I think it's supposed to be.  No brine, no rubbing herbs under the skin, no onions tossed hither and fro, no broth or butter or oil or peppercorns for Pete's sake.  No basting, no fancy trussing, no fussing.

Just salt and pepper all over, stick a lemon or two in the cavity, truss with toothpicks, tie legs loosely in their natural position.  Plop in a dry pan breast side down, turn it breast side up 30 minutes later, and that's about it.

As Ms. Hazan's recipe foreword describes it, "After you put the chicken in the oven you turn it just once.  The bird, its two lemons, and the oven do all the rest."  That's absolutely true. 

I don't like cutting a bird at the table.  Very unattractive.  So in the future I'll cut it in the kitchen and serve it on a platter.  Also, Nigella Lawson says her mother used to roast two chickens at a time, one to serve that day and one to keep in the fridge to pick at through the week, or use in another recipe.  Good idea. 

UPDATE:  I purchased a Granite Wear roasting pan (photo below) from Walmart for $13 that works great and cleans up perfectly.  Many years ago, I refused to go into Walmart because I think they are one of the reasons small businesses can't make it and American manufacturing is being outsourced.  But with the economy I can't try to save the world by myself.  We need to change bigger things in this country than where Jenna shops.  But at least this pan is American made, so that helps.  Same pan with Martha Stewart's name on it at Macy's is $20. 


I know I know.  This is the weirdest bird I've even bought, a separate one from the top photos.  Broken wing, skin slightly strange in places, not perfectly de-feathered.  But oh well. It's an Amish chicken so it was a very nice quality otherwise.  Mainly I wanted to show the pan and how much liquid comes from the chicken, with no oil or buttered added.

Roast Chicken with Lemons
Compliments of JennaDish

from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan

A 3- to 4-pound chicken
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
2 small lemons (or 1 large)

PREHEAT oven to 350o.

WASH the chicken thoroughly in cold water, both inside and out.  Remove all the bits of fat hanging loose.  Let the bird sit about 10 minutes on a slightly tilted plate to let all the water drain out of it.  Pat it thoroughly dry all over with cloth or paper towels.

SPRINKLE a generous amount of salt and black pepper on the chicken, rubbing it with your fingers over all its body and into its cavity.

WASH the lemons in cold water and dry them with a towel.  Soften each lemon by placing it on a counter and rolling it back and forth as you put firm downward pressure on it with the palm of your hand.  Puncture the lemons in at least 20 places each, using a sturdy round toothpick or similar implement.

PLACE both lemons in the bird's cavity

CLOSE up the opening with toothpicks or with trussing needle and string.  Close it well, but don't make an absolutely airtight job of it because the chicken may burst.  Run kitchen string from one leg to the other, tying it at both knuckle ends.  Leave the legs in their natural position without pulling them tight.  If the skin is unbroken, the chicken will puff up as it cooks, and the string serves only to keep the thighs from spreading apart and splitting the skin.

PUT the chicken into a roasting pan, breast facing down.  Do not add cooking fat of any kind. This bird is self-basting, and will not stick to the pan (I can attest to this).  Place it in the upper third of the preheated oven.  After 30 minutes, turn the chicken over to have the breast face up.  When turning it, try not to puncture the skin. 

COOK for another 30 to 35 minutes, then turn the oven thermostat up to 400o.  and cook for an additional 20 minutes.  Calculate between 20 and 25 minutes' total cooking time for each pound.  There is no need to turn the chicken again.

You can leave the lemons in while carving and spoon the juice over the sliced chicken.

Southern-Style Deep Fried Chicken

Happy Election Day !!!

Southern Fried Chicken

When you have a food blog, and the food you take pictures of is other people's dinner, sometimes if you're not quick enough, those people start chewing on your subject matter. 

I was darn lucky to grab this lone chicken leg left on the serving plate in time to get a shot for this post.

Or else I'd be describing a fried chicken leg.

I can't believe I'm posting a recipe for fried chicken.  It's not like I've been successful.  I don't even fix fried chicken for dinner.  I think the last time was in the 90's sometime.  And that is obvious by the grease splatters on my novice hands and arms.  However it did give me the opportunity to discuss my war wounds at the office.  "Look at my burn I got from making fried chicken!" I bragged as they looked at me with a worried smile.  I can't help it. My personality profile explains that I "become enthralled by flora and fawna" or something to that effect.

Well, blah blah blah, let's get on with the point of my post.  This is the best fried chicken I've ever cooked.  Which isn't saying much.  So in addition I will say it may be the best I've ever eaten.

I've heard that soaking chicken in buttermilk was the answer, in the past, but that didn't work great for me.  However I had never heard of nor tried this method …

Chicken Boiling in Milk
… cooking the chicken in boiling milk.


Then when it's time to fry it, you are only crisping it up rather than worrying about it cooking all the way through. You put flour and a touch of cayenne pepper in a bag, coat the chicken, roll the pieces in egg, coat a second time and fry.

I got this recipe from Nigella Lawson on the Food Network website.  I've been reading through her most recent cookbook, Nigella Kitchen, and she does have a bit of a spin on the usual recipes.  So I was anxious to try this new method out.

(Now watch me start seeing this same method popping up everywhere suddenly.  Making me feel like I've been living in the back woods for decades. Hate it when that happens.)

Needless to say, it worked brilliantly.  Used chicken legs and thighs.  I guess the milk makes it tender.  I could get my science book out and try to explain why the milk makes it tender, like some people do on their blogs, or I could school you on the origins of cooking meat in milk.  Or the history of the chicken.  Or maybe the first person to eat one?  Or I could just be truthful and say I don't know, and I don't care and if you care that much, I'm not sure I like you anymore. 

Southern-Style Deep Fried Chicken
Compliments of JennaDish

from Nigella Lawson, Food Network

2 chicken drumsticks, skin on
2 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
3 to 4 cups milk
2 1/4 cups solid vegetable shortening, for frying
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 egg, beaten

In a medium pan, place chicken and cover with milk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight. This helps tenderize the meat, but is optional

In a large saucepan over a medium-high heat, using tongs, transfer chicken into pot, then pour in the milk. Bring milk to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low allowing to simmer until the chicken is cooked through entirely, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the milk, and place on a rack to cool. Allow them to sit until warm about 15 minutes, and then pat dry using a kitchen towel.

Heat vegetable shortening in a Dutch oven over high heat just until it's nearly at the smoking point around 325 degrees F.

In a large zip-lock bag, add salt, flour, cayenne pepper, shake to combine.

In a medium bowl, beat 1 egg.

Place each piece of chicken, 1 at a time, in the bag and shake to coat the chicken. Then dip chicken into the egg to coat. Place the chicken back into the flour to coat for a second time. Repeat this method on remaining 3 pieces of chicken.

Gently drop each piece of chicken into hot oil, allowing the skin to crisp and turn golden brown in color, about 1 minute per side. Remove from the oil and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Serve immediately.

Happy Anniversary JennaDish!

I started this website to nourish my creative soul while getting my Master’s Degree in Education.  It kept me excited to learn many new dishes and to create a journal that my kids and grandkids may be interested in some day.

It was so much fun but now I’m on to new things.  Here are my two short anniversary videos of the fun food I created in my first 2 years. (spoiler alert: cute dog at the end of 1st Year video.) I hope you are fortunate enough to find time to do the things that make you happiest.  Because…

Everybody Has Something They Love to Do.


My Animoto Video

Chicken, Penne and Roasted Asparagus in Rosemary Garlic Sauce

Rosemary Garlic Chicken Pasta w Roasted Asparagus
Another awesome dish from made by Alyssa. 

She found a base recipe at Allrecipes, added baked boneless chicken and rosemary …

Rosemary and Chicken prep
chopped roasted asparagus…

Cut Roasted Asparagus
Rosemary Chicken Pasta
and made some other tweaks. 

Chicken, Penne and Roasted Asparagus in Rosemary Garlic Sauce
Compliments of JennaDish


It was suggested in some comments that this dish does not make good leftovers, so make enough for a meal only.  Use Amish chicken for the most tender meat.  

Baked Chicken:

2 medium-large chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chicken stock
several sprigs fresh rosemary

Sauce and Pasta:
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup finely chooped onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
8 oz. dry penne pasta (1/2 of a 1-pound box)
2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour chicken broth in a small baking dish leaving about an inch around and in between chicken breasts, salt and pepper chicken and place in broth.  Lay rosemary sprigs on chicken.  Bake until cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.  Remove chicken from oven and keep warm on plate, discarding the broth and rosemary.

Roasted Asparagus:
Turn oven up to 400 degrees.  Cut or break off last 2 inches of spears. Spread in a single layer on baking sheet, drizzle olive oil over them, roll back and forth to cover with oil, sprinkle with a little salt.  Roast about 10-25 minutes (depending on thickness) until tender and crispy.

Meanwhile, prepare water and start cooking pasta according to package directions until al dente, or just before it is tender. 

Melt 3 Tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over med-low heat.  Add the onions; cook and stir until well done 5-10 minutes.  Add garlic and saute about 1-2 minutes, watching closely not to burn. Stir in chicken stock and rosemary, and increase the heat to medium high.  Reduce by half, cooking about 8 minutes.

Cut chicken into pieces, toss in skillet with pasta, asparagus and sauce.  Serve immediately.

White Bean Chicken Andouille Chili

Chicken White Bean Chili

Aw dwee yuh.  Way too French.  I prefer New Orleans' Americanized pronunciation:

Ann Dewey.  Andouille.  Ann Dewey.  Andouille.


White Bean Chicken Andouille Chili
Compliments of JennaDish

1 Tblsp olive oil
1-2 yellow onions, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 links chicken adouille sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can (7 oz) roasted green chiles or 1/3 cup Fontova Tomatillo Salsa
4 cups chicken stock, low sodium preferred
1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans
salt and pepper to taste
Shredded cheese, diced onion, sour cream, fresh cilantro for serving

Hea tthe oil in a Dutch oven or similar pan over medium heat.  Add onion, cook 3 minutes, add garlic cook another 2 minutes.  Add chicken sausage and cook until almost done, about 5 minutes.  Add the stock, beans and chiles or salsa.  Simmer uncovered on low heat 20-30 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with your favorite combination of accompaniments such as sour cream and cheese.

Chicken Curry Hot Pot

My first Japanest Hot Pot.  East meets West.  This should be interesting.

I chose a recipe that I thought the fam would tolerate – Chicken Curry.  I did well.

Chicken Curry Hot Pot
And here it goes…

Cook chicken and onion…

add curry …

add a brew of chicken broth, sake, soy sauce, and a smidge of sugar…

add potatoes, celery, carrots, negi (or Spring onions or leeks), cabbage, garlic and fresh ginger…

Cook until tender (and add some ramen in case you're concerned your teenager will snub her nose at all the veggies – at least I know she'll eat the noodles)…

Chicken Curry Hot Pot Japanese Bowl
dish it up in an authentic bowl from Japan brought to you as a gift by your teenage Japanese guest from last May (that's a very specific instruction, isn't it?)…

here it is without the broth to show off the chicken and such.

The verdict?  Everyone really liked it.  The picky sisters didn't pick anything out.  Will definitely make again. 

And the actual pot.  Love it.  Doesn't stick, keeps things hot, and cleans up very easily. 

Chicken Curry Hot Pot or Kare Nabe
Compliments of JennaDish

from Japanese Hot Pots by Tadashi Ono & Harris Salat

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup sake
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts ( 1 to 1.5 pounds), cut into 1/4" thick slices
1 medium Spanish onion (about 3/4 pound), cut crosswide into 1/2" thick slices
1/4 cup curry powder
1/4 small head green cabbage (about 1/2 pound), cut into bite-size pieces
2 stalks celery (about 1/2 pound), sliced on an angle into 3" long pieces, 1/4 " thick
1 medium carrot (about 1/4 pound), peeled and sliced on an angle into 3" long pieces, 1/4" thick
1 medium Idaho potato (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1/4" thick slices
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1 negi (Japanese onion) (or 2 spring onions)

Prepare the broth by combining the chicken stock, sake, soy sauce, and sugar in a bowl. Set aside.

Add the oil to a hot pot and place over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the chicken, stirring and cooking until the chicken turns golden, about 2 minutes.  Add the onion, stirring and cooking for 2 minutes.  Add the curry powder, stirring and cooking for 1 minute more to caramelize.  Add the reserved broth. 

Pile the remaining ingredients in the pot.  Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.  Decrease heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.  Simmer until the veggies are cooked to your liking.

Transfer the hot pot to the dining table.  Serve in bowls.  Suggested side dish: Individual bowls of steamed rice.


Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Heaven… I'm in heaven,
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak.
Oh I've seemed to find the happiness I seek,
When we're out together dancing cheek to cheek
We should eat Chicken Tortilla Soup each week.

slightly adapted from Irving Berlin

Who wants to dance cheek to cheek when you can be stuffing your face with tender-cooked, free-range chicken and tasty veggies in a spicy broth with fresh avocado and cilantro, sour cream and cheddar cheese toppings?  Ooh ooh and crunchy corn tortilla strips.

The problem with soup is that it's a little more difficult to get a good picture of the complexity of what all is going on in the dish.  So I put the soup in a little glass dish and put the toppings on in a layer so you could see better.  That's because I'm an INFP.  That's the Myers-Briggs personality type that stands for: Introvert, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving.  INFPs are called the healer, idealist, or dreamer. 

"INFPs are introspective, private, creative and highly idealistic individuals that have a constant desire to be on a meaningful path. They are driven by their values and seek peace. Empathetic and compassionate, they want to help others and humanity as a whole."

You see why I need to put the soup in a glass bowl for you? 

By the way, do you see a baby turtle in the soup above?  (the piece of chicken in the middle). He's facing to the right and has a little horn-shaped, prehistoric-looking nose.  I think he's laughing because his mouth is wide open – or is that a piece of corn stuck on his face? 

"INFPs never seem to lose their sense of wonder. One might say they see life through rose-colored glasses. It's as though they live at the edge of a looking-glassworld where mundane objects come to life, where flora and fauna take on near-human qualities."

Is this guy standing behind me?  Would you call chicken floating in soup "mundane?"  I think not.  But what do I know?  I'm a dreamer and I "see" things in flora and fauna .


Here's some naked Chicken Tortilla Soup.  Waiting to get dressed.

Good News!  This is a crockpot recipe.  Yay!  And here's a Make Ahead Tip:  I combined all the ingredients the night before, except the corn and chicken which goes in later, and put it in a pitcher.  And then in the fridge because we don't want bacteria soup.  You can cook the chicken ahead also and have it ready. 

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Compliments of JennaDish

from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook

28-oz can diced tomatoes, with the juice
10-oz can red or green enchilada sauce
2 medium yellow or white onions, chopped
4-oz can chopped green chiles, drained
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups water
14.5 oz can chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 bay leaf (I consider this optional and left it out)
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano (regular or Mexican)
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (free range or Amish is best)
One 10-ounce can Mexican style corn (I used Green Giant Mexicorn)
corn tortillas
vegetable or canola oil for brushing tortillas

cheddar cheese, shredded
sour cream
diced avocado
fresh cilantro

Combine the tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onions, chiles, garlic, cilantro, water, broth, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and oregano in the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours or on HIGH for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Add the shredded chicken and corn, cover, and continue to cook on LOW for another hour.  Discard the bay leaf.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400oF.  Lightly brush both sides of each tortilla with some of the oil.  With a knife, cut the torillas into thin strips(or the size you wish).  Spread out the tortilla strips on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Bake until crisp but not browned, turning once halfway through baking, 8 to 12 minutes.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowl.  Sprinkle each serving with tortilla strips and grated cheese.  Top with a tablespoon of sour cream or crema Mexicana, then with a few slices of avocado and cilantro sprigs.  Serve immediately.