Cut tortillas into 1/2-inch strips; place on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until crisp; remove to a wire rack to cool. Reserve one third of strips.
Sauté garlic and onion in hot oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until tender. Add remaining tortilla strips, tomato, and next 6 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves. Cool slightly.
Process soup, in batches, in a blender or food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Return soup to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly heated. Stir in salt and pepper. Serve with desired toppings and reserved tortilla strips.
I've been making this recipe for 6 years and my family loves it. Yesterday I had a bunch of ladies over and I made it for them. Many have asked for the recipe.