Sorry this post is so lengthy. I'm apparently feeling wordy tonight.
In the interest of over-sharing...family finances used to be a major an issue in our marriage. I had always been in charge of paying all bills. When I would pay too much on something, leaving only a little money in the checking account, Paul would get frustrated. When he was frustrated I was frustrated. This created a lot of tension in our marriage.
Finally he asked if he should just take over. I was totally relieved but it created a whole new set of problems. I never knew how much money we had. I would check the account but I didn't know what checks had cleared, if tithing had been paid, if some was suppose to stay in the account for this or that. I didn't have a clue what was going on. I would call him at work and ask "is there enough money for this?" He would then ask "why do you need that?" It was sooo hard. I hated having to explain everything I spent and wanted to spend. I felt like a child. He wasn't doing it to be mean, he was doing it because he is an accountant. It's just how he's hardwired.
Finally I broke down. I was fed up. There were mean things said and hurt feelings all around. Finally we talked rationally and came up with a solution. I would get X amount of CASH at each pay period. (I am totally responsible with cash but terrible with a debit/credit card) I could spend it however I wanted but groceries and basics needs needed to come out of that money. We've been doing this for years now and this arrangement has saved our marriage.
Knowing that holiday baking items are going to be on the mega sales soon I'm trying to spend less on groceries right now so I have more to spend in the next couple of weeks. It's time to stock up!
It was also time to try a new recipe. When this one popped up in my Google Reader I was totally excited. I had everything I needed to make it, and usually do since they are food storage items I keep on hand. I could even make some cornbread to go with it and have a nice dinner without spending a dime. Sweet!
Here is a link to the blog where I got the recipe. It's a great blog. You should check it out.
White Chicken Chili
submitted by Melanie
1 lb great northern beans ( i like to use Navy beans-they are smaller)
1-2 lbs cooked and shredded chicken
6 cups chicken broth
1 Tb olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2- 4oz cans diced green chilis
2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
*additional grated jack cheese and cilantro for garnish
1. Soak beans overnight. Drain, rinse and pick over to remove bad beans. Add broth to beans and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer beans until tender (usually all day in crockpot on low).
2 Heat olive oil in a skillet and saute onion and garlic until onions are translucent (about 10 minutes). Mix in green chilies an spices. Add to the beans. Stir in chicken and then cheese. Stir until thick.
Garnish with grated Monterey Jack cheese and fresh chopped cilantro.
Fast and Easy Method
**This makes a delicious soup in a matter of minutes**
For Step 1: Instead of cooking 1 lb beans in 6 cups of broth--just open 3 (14oz) cans of great Northern (or Navy) beans and 2 (14oz) cans Chicken broth and then proceed with recipe.
Here are my notes~
I made a couple of changes of course. I didn't measure my beans. I only had a cup or so in my pantry so I just called it good. I used two cans of broth and then added one more once the beans were cooked. I used pre-minced garlic, red onion because that's what I had and basically cut the rest of the recipe in half. I didn't measure the cayenne pepper and didn't read the recipe right so I didn't stir in the cheese. I only had pepper jack and sharp cheddar so I used those for the garnish. I also had some celery I added since I like celery in chili.
While this was cooking I had serious doubts anyone was going to eat it. It looked like beans in broth LOL! I had some cream on hand so I added a little bit of that (just some drizzles) and then a tablespoon of flour. It thickened it right up and made it look more chili-like. I still was worried about the family liking it.
They all looked at the bowl with skepticism but tried it willingly. Guess what? No one hated it. (Obviously I aim high around here) They even said they sort of like it. It wasn't anyones favorite but they all said they would eat it again. I was so excited since it was a fast, inexpensive and a totally great food storage meal. There was enough left over for Paul and I to have it for lunch and it was even better today. I will make this again.
Today I am thankful for food. I am thankful that I have always had food to put on the table. I am thankful that my kids have never had to go hungry because we couldn't afford to feed them. I am grateful that I am in a place where I have the luxury of experimenting and I get to try new things. I am grateful that we always have the food that we want and need. Even when Paul was laid off we had enough food. I have always been grateful that we have never gone hungry but now more than ever I realize what a real blessing that has been.