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What To Do With Broken Tortilla Chips

May 8, 2014

TORTILLAUse the broken, crunchy goodness at the bottom of the tortilla chips bag.

It’s inevitable. Tortilla chips are salty, addictive and delicious. But all good things must come to an end, and at the bottom of the chip bag is the unavoidable pile of broken odds and ends—too little to scoop with, hard to eat, but you still hate tossing out those little pieces of yumminess.

Never fear, my tortilla-chomping friends. We’re looking at ways you can use those broken tortilla chips and save them from going to waste. When you’re inputting your Twin Cities grocery delivery order, make sure to include your favorite tortilla chips; we’ll help you find ways to use them all.

One of my favorite ways to use tortilla chip pieces is as a base for a taco salad. When I’m packing a lunch for work, I’ll mix together rice, black beans and salsa in a microwave-safe dish. In a plastic container I’ll put shredded lettuce, slices of tomato and chopped olives. The broken tortilla chips add that must-have crunch at lunchtime.

When it’s cold outside, I like to sprinkle tortilla chip pieces on my chili. Some people add them to meals including beans and rice, tomato soup, and corn chowder. A few tortilla soup recipes call for a sprinkle of broken chips at the end as well. Here’s a recipe I really like:


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Chicken Tortilla Soup


1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken broth

1 1/4 cups water

1 cup whole corn kernels, cooked

1 cup white hominy

1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces

Crushed tortilla chips

Sliced avocado

Shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Chopped green onions

In a medium pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic in oil until soft. Stir in chili powder, oregano, tomatoes, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in corn, hominy, chiles, beans, cilantro, and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Ladle soup into individual serving bowls and top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices, cheese, and chopped green onion.

This next recipe looks delicious and perfect to make the day ahead.

Pinto Beans with Tortilla-Cheese Crust 


4 15-ounce cans pinto beans, rinsed, drained

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups chopped onions

1 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 28-ounce can Italian-style tomatoes, drained, chopped, juices reserved

1 cup canned chicken broth

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)

8 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

3/4 cup finely crushed tortilla chips

1 cup packed grated Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeños

Puree 1 can beans in processor. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and bell peppers; sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add chili powder and cumin; stir 1 minute. Mix in tomatoes, 1/2 cup juices, broth, pepper sauce, whole beans and pureed beans.

Simmer mixture 5 minutes, stirring often. Add 6 tablespoons cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill.)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Sprinkle crushed chips over beans. Bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Top with cheese; bake until melted, about 5 minutes. Top with 2 tablespoons cilantro.

In honor of summer nearing, we’re working to save your tortilla chips from going to waste. The next time you order your Minnesota groceries, know that you’ll get every bit from that bag of crunchy goodness—down to the last little crumb.

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