Wednesday, September 12, 2012


In case I haven't gotten my point across yet, I'll state once again that I'm a fan of food.  I like cooking it, I like eating it, and I like reading about it, but I don't like looking at it.  I know that the Internetz are full of people with thousand dollar cameras who love to create blogs, sites, and Pinterest boards full of pictures of cakes meant to resemble the Tibetan monks that milled the super special wheatless "flour" that went into the batter or child-pleasing plates of broccoli made into scale models of, say, Sherwood Forest.  Even the humblest of casseroles can be made to look like Manna rained down from the heavens to come to a rest on platinum-edged china.

 Don't get me wrong, I'm impressed by the work and the skill behind the photography, but the pictures certainly don't make me hungry or leave me inspired (maybe because I've learned too many food photographers' "secrets").  Usually, I just end up feeling too embarrassed to post my original recipes because I feel like the pictures aren't up to par.  Today, I was hit with the realization that, duh, this is the Internet!  This is the one place where I could say I enjoy sandwiches made of modelling clay and I wouldn't be alone.  So I've decided that I'm standing up for ugly-yet-delicious meals by sharing one of the ugliest, cheapest, easiest foods in the world...

White Bean Chicken Chili

This chili can be made in any number of ways.  You can leave the cream cheese out, if you prefer to reduce the fat content.  The beans can be any sort of white beans (I even have some pintos in the chili in my picture), and they can be either soaked and cooked dried beans, or from a can.  The Ro-Tel isn't necessary if you don't like it or if you don't care for processed foods (gotta say, it's a little tasty despite the sodium!).  The fresh tomatoes can be substituted for unsalted canned tomatoes.  Seriously, this recipe is just a starting point, so get substitutin'!

4 oz. (1/2 package) cream cheese, softened
2 cans Cannellini beans, liquid included
1 can Ro-Tel with cilantro and lime
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 tsp chili powder (I use a mix of ancho and regular)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
ground pepper, to taste
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded (can use turkey)
3 cups chicken stock, homemade or store bought
1/2 cup sour cream

 In a large heavy pot over low heat, melt the cream cheese.  

Increase the heat to medium and stir in the beans, Ro-Tel, chopped tomatoes, spices, chicken, stock, and sour cream.  Bring to a simmer.  Cover, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer about 30 minutes, or until heated through.

Serve topped with sour cream and/or shredded Mexican cheese, if desired.

(Seriously.  That's it.  Make some cornbread and an additional veggie, if you're healthier than I, and you have a delicious meal made of pantry staples and leftovers.  Score!)

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