What to make for supper?
Before I got on the stick by creating a supper plan every Sunday evening for the upcoming week, I would be pulling whatever protein we had out of the freezer and toss it in the sink to thaw as I rushed out of the door for the office every morning. Then at some point during the day when my mind had a chance to wander to cooking, I would frantically search Pinterest for something interesting to do with said protein, only to have to stop at the grocery store either on my lunch hour or the way home to purchase any ingredients I may not have.
Now that I have a plan for the week, I can take stock of what I have and figure out what I can do with what I already have on hand. Now, I know what I regularly keep as staples may not be what others do, but here’s a delicious example of what I made last night with everything I already had in freezer, fridge and pantry.
Creamy chicken tortilla soup. All in one pot. And I did it with the following ingredients:
Just to recap in case anything got either cut out of the photo or I forgot to include it:
- Boneless chicken. The recipe calls for raw chicken to be cooked, but I saved myself time by using Tyson frozen, fully-cooked chicken breasts I had in our basement deep freezer
- Onion. We keep a large supply of sweet yellow onions on hand because we go through them a lot
- Milk. Well, duh!
- Canned diced tomatoes. Another staple I use a lot of and keep at least (6) cans of either plain, Italian or Mexican style in our basement pantry. The Mexican one already has green chiles in it (if not, Rotele is another great one to use)
- Shredded cheddar. (not pictured). We have a small fridge upstairs to store additional cold items I get on sale. I keep either block-style cheese (cheaper to buy that way and shred in processor) or bagged shredded (on sale with coupons) of either mozzarella or cheddar/Mexican blend
- Avocados. LOVE these. I swear I eat a half one almost everyday. All I need is a spoon. They’re a great source of ‘good’ fats. We also slice them to put on sandwiches, top on salads or hub makes a great spread with them. Our grocery store has them 10 for $10 this week so you can be sure I’ll be grabbing them.
- Chicken broth/stock. Whether carton, can or cubed, many pantries keep this staple to add flavor. Whenever a soup or stew calls for water, I add chicken broth instead. Makes a WORLD of difference!
- Canned black beans. Like the diced tomatoes, I keep these stocked in my basement pantry as they’re a great ‘filler’ staple. I put them in my sausage stew, sprinkle on my salad, on Mexican pizza or even mash and mix with other ingredients to make bean burgers. Incredible source of protein.
- Frozen corn. We go to Restaurant Depot to get bags of frozen broccoli, corn, spinach and carrots as we use those vegetables the most. Because we have a deep freezer in the basement, we can store the large quantities they come in in order to take advantage of a super bulk price.
- Garlic. In addition to having it in the jar already minced, I also keep separated cloves in a glass jar in my spice cabinet.
- Whipping cream. Okay, not really a common staple, but we had some left over from when hub made a special alfredo sauce
- Sour cream. We always keep a carton in the fridge to mix into homemade mashed potatoes, spoon on tacos (that I made every other week) or make a dipping sauce for raw veggies
- Spices. Salt & pepper – plus cumin, chile powder and paprika. We keep these on hand, but may not be ‘staple’ for others
- Canned chiles. Again, not a staple, but something I just happened to have left over from a previous recipe for which I had an extra small can left over. If you’re using the diced tomatoes that have chiles already in them, then you can probably do without this.
- Oil. Canola preferred, but can substitute vegetable.
Okay, so you’re all stocked up and ready. Now, get out one deep pot because that’s all you’re going to need (and clean up!)
- Sautee chopped onions and tbsp. of chopped chiles in (2) tsp. of oil for (3) minutes
- Add carton of chicken broth and spices.
- Dice thawed, pre-cooked chicken and add
- Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cover for about 10 minutes.(NOTE: this step only pertains to using fully cooked chicken. If raw, allow longer time until chicken is cooked through)
- Stir in (1) 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, 1/3 cup milk and allow to bubble until mixture slightly thickens
- Add (1) 15 oz. can of black beans and (1) cup frozen corn
- Stir in 2/3 cup heavy cream and heaping tbsp. of sour cream and blend well
Remove from heat and cover, allowing to sit and thicken a bit more for about 15 minutes. If needs be, whisk a tbsp. of corn starch in chicken stock and stir in.
Ladle into bowls. Top with sliced avocados and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
Quick, inexpensive and delicious. And enough for leftovers for non-cook night. Three MUSTS when it comes to supper!