Friday, October 23, 2009

good eats

we had (sortof) last minute company last night. i say "sortof" because anyone we invite over after i've been to the grocery store for the week is considered "last minute". there are no quick errands with 2 kids, which means no running in the store to get something last minute. besides, i secretly love the challenge of knowing i need to make dinner with stuff i already have on hand. although we ended up not eating my "challenge" (why next), i came up with something i guess you would call a white bean chicken soup that i'll divide up and freeze for the coming weeks. it should feed our family 2 meals, took 5 minutes to throw everything in the crock pot, and was super inexpensive to make (about $7 for the whole pot). oh, and as always with my kitchen creations, it's low fat and full of fiber and protein. alone it's short on veggies, but pair it with a salad and dinner is ready! here's the breakdown of what all i dumped in the crock pot and what it cost...

3 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts, no need to thaw {i buy them from the tyson plant and they are 50 cents each}
2 slices of bacon {i buy a pack of bacon when it's on sale buy one get one free, so it ends up being about $2 a pack. i divide it up into 2 or 3 strip servings, wrap them in foil, then put all of my foil packs in a freezer bag and toss in the freezer. if i need a quick $2 meal, i put a bag of dried beans, which i always keep on hand, some water or chicken broth if i've got it, and the frozen bacon in the crock pot, salt and pepper it, and serve it with corn bread. it kind of ends up being like a bean soup. natural detox ;)}
a bag of dried navy beans {$1}
a bag of dried great northern beans {$1}
some minced garlic {really, really cheap. like 10 cents}
salt and pepper
a carton of organic chicken broth {$3}
water. probably 8 cups or so.

if it looks like everything is just kind of floating around in there after a while, stir it up and mush it around and it will eventually take on the look of a chili. i make cornbread muffins out of an organic mix from whole foods (it's their 365 brand), but if you're feeling really tight one month, jiffy is 40 cents.

okay, back to why we didn't eat it. our friend tommy married an italian; not just a girl with an italian name or dark features. actually, quite the opposite. she's a vibrant, energetic, adorable redhead with a thick italian accent who's taking english classes to learn our language. tommy moved to italy on missions after college, met sarah, and they lived there until a year or so ago, when they moved here so she could learn his culture. i love having them over and living vicariously through them as they talk about the slow, simple life of the italians (atleast in their valley). i love hearing about the food, wine, chocolate, and simple days, all staples of their lifestyle (i think i should have been born italian). i connect with sarah even when we can't fully understand each other (italy + dacula = language barrier). she has a neat way of seeing life and is really at a point where god has to be everything to her because she's been stripped of everything familiar. not to mention, i love just watching her mannerisms and the way she and tommy interact and the way she talks really fast in italian and he translates. anyway, a few months ago, sarah made an authentic italian lasagna, and it was truly the best lasagna i've had. so, yesterday before brett knew of my chili creation, he and tommy decided that we would have a lesson in italian cooking. they brought over all of the ingredients and we learned to make the amazing lasagna and these little almond shortbread cookies sandwiched between nutella. i can't remember the italian name, but tommy said it translates to "a dame's kiss". sarah took pictures that she's going to e-mail me, so i'll post them when she sends them.

i'm not sure i can type out an accurate recipe for either, but if you want to join the lanes for dinner, let me know and i'll make them for you.

ciao! (i learned that one too...thought it just meant hey.)




  1. wait. is that tommy annest?? i went to high school with him! i am a few years younger, so he may not remember me, but what a small world! on another note, we may need lessons from Sarah! CT3 and I will be in Rome in a few months and are "practicing" basic italian!...of course with our southern twang!