Hearty Chicken Stew

In light of the fact that winter is just NOT giving UP, here’s a fabulous cozy winter dish to keep you warm until spring finally decides to arrive! I’m a big fan of any kind of stew, but this one is like if you made chicken pot pie without the crust – it is so thick and hearty and full of goodness.

What makes this even more awesome is that it’s SO cheap. I mean like less than $7 when you break it down – and this feeds 5-6 people. The most expensive part is the chicken – all the vegetables come SUPER cheap in the produce department.

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The best part is that the whole thing is made in only ONE pot – which means less dishes! Yay!

Start by doing all your prep work – called “mise en place” – you’ll need a cutting board and a good kitchen knife. 😉

Dice: 1/2 an onion, 2 stalks of celery

Peel & Slice: 2 carrots

Cube: 2 red potatoes, 1 large chicken breast

MAKE OR BREAK TIP: Do it in THAT order and you should only need ONE cutting board and ONE knife! 🙂

Once this is all completed, put a couple tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. After the oil has heated, add the chicken to the pan and season with salt, pepper, and oregano.

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Allow the chicken to brown, moving it around the pan occasionally to keep it from sticking. This should take about 5 minutes or so. Once it’s browned, remove the chicken and then add the diced onion and celery.

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Sweat the onions and celery until they start to become translucent (about 3-5 minutes), making sure to scrape those brown bits off the bottom of the pot as you go! Once they’ve sweated, remove them from the pan.

Now, here’s where you can cheat a little: to the pan, add 1 can of condensed cream of chicken soup and 2 cups of milk. Stir this until it has all combined, and then add two teaspoons of salt and a teaspoon each of pepper, oregano, and thyme. To give depth, add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and the zest of half a lemon. Stir in all the spices, and then add your previously cooked chicken, onions, and celery, along with the potatoes and carrots. Stir those in, then add 1 cup of frozen peas, 1 cup of frozen corn, and 1 cup of uncooked white rice.

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Cover and cook on LOW for about an hour (maybe even 45 minutes if you need it quick!), returning occasionally to stir. (The rice likes to settle to the bottom, so you’ll have to stir it every so often and scrape the rice off the bottom of the pan.)

After an hour of cooking it should be nice and thick and everything in it should be cooked through. Ladle it out and serve immediately!

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Best part, it just gets thicker and better if you leave it overnight! The starch from the potatoes and rice seeps into the liquid and just keeps thickening it!

Alternatively, you could do this in a crock pot by adding the soup and milk first and stirring until smooth, and then putting in everything (raw) at once and leaving it on low for about 4-5 hours or so. But I like this quicker version better. 😉 After you spent a few minutes prepping and browning, you can essentially busy yourself with something else for the hour that it’s cooking on the stove as long as it doesn’t take you too far from the kitchen. If you’re home from work at 5:00, you could theoretically have this on the table by 6:30!

Full Recipe:

Hearty Chicken Stew

Yield: 5-6 servings

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of oil
1 large chicken breast, cubed ($2)
1/2 onion, diced ($0.20)
2 stalks celery, diced ( ($0.25)
1 can cream of chicken soup ($1)
2 cups milk ($0.50)
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into medallions ($0.16)
2 red potatoes, cubed ($0.80)
1 cup frozen corn ($0.50)
1 cup frozen peas ($0.50)
1 cup uncooked white rice ($0.10)
Salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, cayenne (negligible)
Zest of 1/2 a lemon ($0.25) – because you can still use the lemon for something else.

(Total cost, if you buy in bulk and fraction it out: $6.26. That’s $1.05 per person!!)

Process:

1) Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add chicken, season with salt, pepper, and oregano, and stir occasionally until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan.

2) Add onions and celery to pan. Stir, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Once onions and celery start to become translucent, remove from pan.

3) Pour in can of cream of chicken soup and 2 cups milk. Stir until smooth and combined, then add 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp each pepper, oregano, and thyme, 1/2 tsp of cayenne and the zest of 1/2 a lemon. Stir to combine.

4) Add previously cooked chicken, onions and celery, along with the potatoes, carrots, corn, peas, and rice. Stir until well distributed, cover, and cook on low for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to ensure rice doesn’t stick to bottom of pan.

5) After simmering for 1 hour, give it a final stir to ensure it has thickened properly and then ladle into shallow bowls and serve immediately.

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Potato-Sausage Hash with Scrambled Eggs

Everyone always seems to have creative, interesting, different ideas for lunch and dinner and even dessert, but it seems like breakfast is often thought of with very little care, or just cast off and forgotten entirely. As evidenced by past posts like my Apple Cinnamon Pancakes and 4 Simple Breakfast Ideas, I’m determined to give breakfast the credit it’s due!

This dish is great for mornings when you’ve got some time for a hearty breakfast to share, but you’re tired of the sweetness of pancakes, waffles, or french toast. This one will keep you full for hours and is really easy to prepare!

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Start by dicing a large red potato and coating a medium skillet in olive oil over medium-low heat. Add your potatoes to the heated pan, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Keep tossing them every minute or so. Meanwhile you can dice up about 8 inches of a smoked sausage.

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Once your potatoes have started to brown, add your sausage and season with some additional salt and about 1/2 tsp of thyme and 1/4 tsp of garlic powder. Toss to combine and continue to let this simmer for another 3-5 minutes, tossing every minute or so. Meanwhile, dice up 1/4 of an onion and 1/4 of a green pepper.

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Once the sausage is beginning to brown, add your diced onion and pepper into the pan and season with 1/4 tsp of cumin and 1/4 tsp of cayenne. (If you don’t like your breakfast to have much spiciness, leave the cayenne out.) Toss to combine, cover, and let simmer for another 3-5 minutes.

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While this is simmering, prepare your eggs. There is a real art to getting scrambled eggs perfectly light and fluffy without being overdone, and I’m here to reveal that secret to you!

Start by cracking three eggs into a small bowl and adding only 3 tbsp of milk (or less!) along with a few dashes of salt and then whisking this together with a fork.

MAKE OR BREAK TIP: You don’t need any more than 1 tbsp of milk per egg that you’re scrambling, and you don’t need to whisk them to death. Just get the eggs so the yolks are nice and broken up and it’s fairly well combined, but don’t try to beat out every last trace of the whites of the eggs.

Heat a small skillet over low heat and melt about 1/2 tbsp of butter in it. Then, add your eggs and LEAVE THEM ALONE!

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Let this cook nice and slowly (about 1-2 minutes) over that low heat until you see that the egg is starting to cook through (the clear portions will be turning white). The top layer will still be pretty much uncooked at this point.

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Once this happens, crank your heat up to high and quickly move the eggs around the pan with a spatula until they are almost all the way cooked. They should still be a little wet when you turn off the heat!

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MAKE OR BREAK TIP: Leaving the eggs just slightly wet when you remove them from the heat prevents them from getting overdone. The residual heat within the eggs themselves and the still-hot pan will finish the cooking process for you in the time it takes to get them from the pan to the plate!

By now, your hash should be perfectly done. Take the lid off the skillet and give it a final toss to get it ready for the eggs.

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Remove your eggs from the pan and then top the hash with the scrambled eggs. Of course, if you’re splitting this dish, you’ll want to plate this separately. 😉

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Full Recipe:

Potato-Sausage Breakfast Hash with Scrambled Eggs

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

1 large red potato, diced
8 inches (about) of smoked sausage, diced
1/4 green pepper, diced
1/4 onion, diced
1 tbsp olive oil

Salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne

3 eggs
3 tbsp milk
1/2 tbsp butter

Process:

1) Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat, then add potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and let simmer for about 5 minutes, tossing occasionally.

2) After 5 minutes once the potatoes have begun to brown, add diced sausage and then season with thyme and garlic powder. Toss to coat and let simmer for another 3-5 minutes, tossing occasionally.

3) After 3-5 minutes once the sausage has begun to brown, add diced onion and pepper and then season with cumin and cayenne. Toss to combine and then cover and let simmer for another 3-5 minutes.

4) While this is simmering, crack 3 eggs into a small bowl and beat together with 3 tbsp milk and a few dashes of salt. Melt butter in a small skillet over low heat, then add eggs and allow to slowly cook for about 1-2 minutes.

5) Once you see the eggs beginning to cook through, turn the heat up to high and move them quickly around the pan with a spatula until they are almost cooked through, but still a little wet.

6) Remove the lid from your hash and give a final toss before plating on two dishes. Divide the eggs between the two dishes and then serve immediately.