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The Chicken and Bean Stew That Wasn’t

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Life has been getting back to normal around here. Slowly getting back to normal. At least I hope it is. Who knew that having your children play sports would wreck such havoc on meal planning. Not me, that’s for sure. I feel like for the past few months we have been limping by with me making all the same old stand-bys and resorting to making hot dogs way more times than I would like to admit.

But our football season has officially come to a close and I have no more excuses. Or at least I shouldn’t. I was lamenting to a friend that I really have no recipes to post because all of the things that I have been making are not even worthy of the term “recipe.” But she encouraged me to just write about it anyway, so that we can all commiserate together.

This week I found a recipe in a magazine that sounded delicious and easy. AND went into the crockpot. What could be better? I jotted it down.

1lb chicken breast
1 lg onion
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes with peppers, drained
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 cup lima beans
3/4 cup frozen corn
1 T dijon mustard

And because I can never follow a recipe I began changing it. I hate lima beans. Hate them with a fiery passion that is reserved only for truly awful things like holiday applique sweaters, nude pantyhose, and those orange circus peanut candies. So I substituted white beans.

I also didn’t have the canned tomatoes with peppers, so I used the regular plain diced tomatoes.

Then I used chili powder rather than the cayenne pepper.

So already the recipe isn’t resembling the original that much. I had procrastinated getting it ready and so decided that I would cook it in a dutch oven instead of the crockpot. I turned the stove on. And then promptly forgot all about it.


For hours. Until my oldest son came to me and told me had turned off whatever it was that I was burning on the stove. And couldn’t I smell that burning smell? he wondered.

I went into the kitchen, which really is not at all far away from where I was sitting working, some might even say it is the same room, and looked into the pot to discover that everything was burned to the bottom. All the liquid was gone. I managed to salvage most of the chicken, but nothing else. I stood there looking at my chicken on a plate and thought, “What now?”

I got out a different pan and pour a bit of olive oil into the bottom. Then I sliced up an onion and tossed it into the pan. I sauteed the onion until it was clear. Then I dumped two large (28oz) cans of crushed tomatoes into the pan and turned the burner down to simmer. I shredded up the chicken I had salvaged and dumped that into the pan. As it simmered away I looked in the pantry and came out with a can of black beans. I rinsed and drained them and dumped them into pan also. I added some chili spices.

I boiled up a pot of pasta and used the new “stew” as a pasta sauce. I spooned it over the top of the pasta, sprinkled a little shredded taco cheese mixture on the top and viola! A completely new meal. I didn’t feel like making my own pot of gluten free pasta so I ate my portion with tortilla chips instead.

The kids loved it. Most of them had more than one helping. I thought it was okay. It was sort of boring and bland, which is probably the EXACT reason the children liked it so much.

I will probably make this again sometime. Though I will definitely skip the part where I burn and entire meal and have to salvage burned chicken breasts.

So tell me, do you all feel better now knowing that my disorder is not very ordered afterall either?

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2 comments so far...

  • I think with the trip, storms and Christmas, you’re excused from decent meal planning and cooking for at least two weeks!

    Brigitte  |  December 22nd, 2008 at 11:17 am

  • So that distaste for circus peanuts must be the reason why you and Mir are friends?

    Jean  |  December 22nd, 2008 at 8:10 pm