I love to cook on Sunday afternoons. For me, putting on comfy sweatpants, turning the music up loud with a great beat and several things “brewing” in the kitchen, make for a blissful day. I not only enjoy it while I’m doing it, I really love it during the week when I have a meal or two ready ahead of time.
Yesterday was one of those Sundays. Sometimes I plan ahead. I have a recipe or two and all of the ingredients ready to go. There are also days like yesterday. I had on my gray sweatpants and an old EIU sweatshirt. I certainly didn’t want to get out and go to the grocery store. I’m also trying to eat healthy these days, so making a white sauce, throwing in anything I can find and covering it with cheese…not an option. I shopped my freezer and cabinets to come up with an experiment that worked, a second meal for today and a light dessert to snack on all week. I will share all three recipes this week. Today you get the recipe for the experiment we had for dinner last night, Chicken Chili-Stew.
I had a 3 lb. bag of boneless chicken breasts in the freezer and I opted to cook the entire bag. I only added salt, pepper and enough water to cover the chicken. Bring the pot to a boil, turn down to simmer and let the chicken cook until tender. I removed the chicken from the broth (which I saved for a few meals for one very spoiled beagle). I separated the cooked chicken, 2/3 for the chili and 1/3 reserved for my second recipe that I will share later this week.
2 lbs. cooked chicken (see above) cut into pieces.
1 T. olive oil
1 green pepper chopped (or any color pepper)
4 or 5 stalks of celery, chopped (I like to use the leaves, they add flavor)
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 T. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
16 oz. can garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained)
1 cup water
2 T. sugar (optional)
In a large pan, sauté the green pepper and celery in the olive oil until very tender, not brown. Add the remaining ingredients, except the sugar, and simmer over med-low heat. I simmered it about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. We like our chili a little sweet. I sampled the chili about 30 minutes before serving and decided to add the 2 T. of sugar. I suggest that you taste before adding, you may like it better without the sweet.
This was a surprisingly good, hearty meal with very little fat. The garbanzo beans (which I used because I didn’t have any other canned beans in the house) really added a nice texture to the chili. I think you could put the chicken raw with the other ingredients into a crock pot and make this, avoiding the step of pre-cooking the chicken, but since I haven’t tried it that way…you do that at your own risk!