It’s not always practical to follow a recipe, although it may be easier on some fronts. Certainly, knowing that someone else has tested a recipe increases the chances of success. On the other hand, when those moments arrive when ‘there’s nothing in the fridge to eat’ but still no space for more food, it’s time to get creative. Typically, following a recipe is not going to use up the eclectic mix of ingredients found collected in your home and refrigerator.
In these moments, soup is one among many meals that work well for using up odds and ends of things. However, this needs to be done in a somewhat thoughtful fashion, else the soup becomes a muddy, unappetizing mess – everything-but-the-kitchen-sink sort of mess. The ingredients should somehow relate to one another. What I found yesterday in the house were the following… all needing to find a home in a meal.
Chicken and Red Kidney Bean Chili
diced green pepper
partial packet of taco seasoning from a taco kit
plus some extra cumin
salt and pepper
cooked red kidney beans
Heat the oil in a medium stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers and saute until translucent. Add the garlic, chicken, spices, salt and pepper and saute until the chicken is cooked through. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes and either serve or let sit refrigerated for a day to absorb the flavors of the spices.
Waiting one more day before I go to the grocery store
If you would like to reduce the fat in this recipe even further and/or make this a vegetarian dish, replace the
turkey with 1 1/2 cups of bulgur wheat and the chicken stock with vegetable stock. The texture is similar to that of meat and you may not even notice the difference.
Turkey and Red Bean Chili
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and diced
2 cups onions, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced (optional)
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
28 oz. tomatoes
28 oz. chicken stock
2 cups dried or 4 cups cooked kidney beans
1/2 red onion, minced
1 bunch fresh cilantro, minced
1 cup sour cream or yogurt, low-fat varieties will work too
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup salsa
Stove top: Heat oil in a medium stock pot over medium high heat. Add the turkey meat. When the turkey meat starts to brown on the bottom of the pan, add the carrots, onions, peppers, garlic, salt and spices. Cook until the onions are translucent. Then add the tomatoes, chicken stock and beans. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours and until the beans are tender.
If you would like to use bulgur instead, add it after the beans have become tender and cook for another 30
minutes. You may need to add more stock.
Crock pot: Add all ingredients at once reducing either the tomato or stock to 16 oz or one can. If you are
using bulgur rather than turkey, allow for one hour of cooking time at the end.
Getting cozy in my kitchen
© 2008 Baggywrinkle Publishing