Well, we're into the home stretch - vegetable omelets for breakfast with bacon; tuna salad (celery, onion, mayo) on a bed of lettuce, cucumber, shredded carrots, walnuts and dressing; with dinner to end our day - a dinner salad (baby spinach, romaine, shredded carrots, cucumber, tomato, dressing) and chicken chili, topped with a dallop of sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese. And yes, in the picture, my son's hand is reaching for his additional item on the side - some cantaloupe.
My use of chicken for chili started a few years ago, when a dinner out included a cup of chicken chili - a medley of vegetables, spices, beans and chicken - unlike any chili I'd had before...it was insanely delicious!
I don't have any particular set recipe to make it - it's just basics that I start with and is a great way to use up leftover vegetables that sometimes collect in the refrigerator throughout the week.
You know what I'm talking about - the two tablespoons of spinach, the half-cup of broccoli, the scant onions and peppers, etc. - the veggies you won't bring yourself to toss while clearing the table from dinner (and shouldn't), but the amount isn't really enough for a side at another meal.
I use these leftover vegetables often, in omelets, but even that doesn't always get them eaten fast enough. So, chicken chili (or other "stew-like" dish) is a great place to add them and boost nutritional value of a meal without much fuss.
When I make dishes like this, I usually start with more fresh ingredients, but since I was working with what was on hand for the week, here is what I wound up doing to make the meal.
The small 3-pound chicken went into a pot of water to cook slowly. This provided not only the meat for our chili, but also provided a rich stock for future use.
When the chicken was done, I simply removed it from the water and let it cool while I started another pot (the stock was also set aside and cooling).
The burner was on medium heat and into the pot went a can of diced tomatoes, a jar of picante sauce, 1/2 packet of taco seasoning, 1/2 onion chopped chunky, 1 carrot diced really tiny, the green pepper tops I'd saved from when I made the stuffed peppers - chopped medium/chunky, 1-cup V-8, the leftover zucchini, tomatoes and onions from the night before, and 2-cups frozen green beans.
After stirring that all together to simmer and cook, I took all the meat off the chicken and diced it up. After I waited about 15-minutes for the vegetable mix to simmer and cook, I added about 2/3 of the chicken meat to the mix, along with one can of drained, well-rinsed red kidney beans and left it to simmer and cook.
When it was ready, it was served with grated cheddar cheese and sour cream for topping.
What's great about this recipe is that it's not dependent on any particular vegetables, other than the tomato base - whatever vegetables are on hand are used and you can let your imagination go - it's all good!
Today's breakfast is eggs and bacon with a side of strawberries (the last we have for all of these foods), and lunch is going to be leftover chicken chili.
So that wraps up the week, and we do have food left. I'll follow-up with some thoughts later.