Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What's for Dinner?

This morning I decided to relocate my shelf of cookbooks from the pantry to the empty bookshelf in the family room because I've started shopping at Sam's Club to try to save some money by buying in bulk, which meant I needed to make some room in my pantry. As I pulled down books and magazines and loose leaf paper, I sorted into three piles - keep, toss, donate. It was surprisingly easy to lessen the total volume by giving away the cookbooks that I haven't opened in years, or that I never opened.

When I finished the sort, I realized that the remaining books wouldn't take up nearly as much space on the pantry shelf. I greatly prefer to keep them near the food supplies, which makes it so much easier to determine if I have the required ingredients when I'm flipping through them. So they went back up on the shelf. Then I looked at the other shelves to see what else I could toss or donate. After about 40 minutes of reorganizing the remaining items on my shelves, I now have plenty of space to stock my Sam's Club shopping. And it's much easier to find my favorite recipes.

Here's a family favorite from The Stocked Kitchen cookbook, written by two authors in my community.

Cheesy Chicken Chili
Serves 6

1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken
2 Tbl olive oil
4 15 oz cans beans, white or cannellini
1 15 oz can or 2 cups chicken broth
2 cups salsa
1 tsp cumin
2 cups cheddar cheese

1. Cut chicken into 1" cubes. In stock pot over medium heat, cook chicken in olive oil until no longer pink inside.
2. Stir in beans, chicken broth, salsa and cumin.
3. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add cheddar cheese and stir until cheese is completely melted.
5. If desired, top with cheddar cheese and sour cream, and serve with tortilla chips.