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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Stretching Your Food: Chicken Chili

I am convinced that getting your food budget under control is the key to financial well-being. Everyone has to eat. I pointed out to Miss Em's friend that he $1500 plane ticket to Serbia (soooo expensive for someone in med school) can be "paid for" by spending $30/week less on food than his classmates. To that end, I email him the good deals from Publix every week.

Another way to save money on food is to stretch it: turn something into something else. This is not a dreary endeavor, based in necessity. It's actually fun and saves a ton of time.

To wit: I had a rotisserie chicken that I ate with the couscous recipe I posted a few days ago. There was a ton of chicken left. So I made Ina Garten's chicken chili.

Chicken Chili
Recipe courtesy Barefoot Contessa Parties!, 2001, All Rights Reserved

Prep Time:15 minInactive Prep Time: -- Cook Time:1 hr 45 min
6 servings

4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
1/8 cup good olive oil, plus extra for chicken
1/8 cup minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree, undrained
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Freshly ground black pepper
For serving:

Chopped onions, corn chips, grated cheddar, sour cream
Cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Crush the tomatoes by hand or in batches in a food processor fitted with a steel blade (pulse 6 to 8 times). Add to the pot with the basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut it into 3/4-inch chunks. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.

Well, of course, mine was easier. Not only did I have the chicken all set, but I threw in chunks of those frozen caramelized onions and bell peppers I'm always haranguing you about. So all I had to do was open canned tomatoes, throw in frozen chunks, add a few spices (omitted basil), and throw in some meat. 10 minutes?

I forgot that this chili was meatless, so I cooked a pound of kidney beans. Oops! Well, there was my side dish.

We've had this twice and there's a fair amount left over. What would you do with it?
P.S. I can't believe how cheap this book is if you buy it used.


Shelley said...

We had a loaf of bread out of the machine that didn't work very well; we're still figuring out what might have gone wrong. It was rather damp inside, making it nearly impossible to slice. I suggested putting it in the oven for a bit; Bill put it in the microwave instead which didn't help a thing. Rather than throw it all away, I suggested making dumplings and boiling in some cream of something soup. Bill chose instead of make a chicken and veggie casserole topped with failed-bread dumplings. It was delicious - reminded me of my Thanksgiving dressing - but I don't want to think about the calories. I agree, learning to cook and manage a food budget is a basic frugal skill that pays off well.

Patience_Crabstick said...

I agree with you about the food budget. This is something my husband and I argue about, because he's convinced any attempt to save money on food means deprivation. I used to have to be stealthy about my thrift, but over the past few years, I've gotten into the habit of shopping at Whole Foods, which is terrible for the food budget. Catastrophic. Shopping there is like an addiction.

Duchesse said...

Freeze it.

You can put nearly anything in a chili base and it's good: pork, of course beef and ground turkey.

Same with curry- those assertive spices, once they marry with the stock, would probably make a boot taste pretty good.