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Cook once, eat twice. Chicken tacos and West African Peanut Soup

Friday, January 03, 2014

I joined the January challenge. I'm a bit sore from the exercise and I take that as a good sign. My kids and husband have responded to my goals really well. They are exercising with me. No snacking is hard on these days that I'm home. I'm working on it. I've had some days off of work and I'm trying to prepare myself to have healthy satisfying things to take to work next week. I can make extra lasagne, soup etc. to freeze and take to work or to have ready for dinner. I have time on weekends and hardly any time at all Monday through Thursday. Two years ago when I was losing weight the best was when I planned ahead like this. It saves money too.

Menu 1/2/14: chicken tacos
Menu 1/3/14: Peanut Soup (You've got to try this! A friend of mine from Ghana taught me how to make it years ago. My college roommates were always asking me to make it.)

When I was putting leftovers away from chicken tacos last night, I realized that I had everything to make Peanut Soup and so instead of putting it in the fridge, I put it in a pot with water and let it simmer while we exercised and let it cool while I got the kids to bed. I won't have to cook tonight except to boil rice to eat with the soup. Every night when I cook I'm going to try to think this way. So tonight I will make extra brown rice and probably make Paella on Saturday, another favorite for lunches with me.
So when I made the cod cakes on 1/1/14 then I baked some potatoes while I was at it (it doesn't take more than 3 minutes to wrap a bunch up and throw them into the oven with anything you are baking.). So I had cooked potatoes on hand.

Chicken Tacos:
For the chicken:
Sauté in 1 Tbsp olive oil: 1 yellow onion, chopped, 1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts or tenders, chopped. When chicken is almost browned add 1 Tbsp garlic.
Add: 2 cans chicken broth. Add 2 cups tomato something (either tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, or canned diced tomatoes). Add salsa and whatever herbs and spices you want, until it tastes good to you and simmer on low until dinner. I like the Menudo mix from the Mexican isle. It's got oregano and crushed hot peppers and it's inexpensive. I add 1/2 tsp turmeric too, it adds yellow color and I add it to food whenever I can because it contains the antioxidant Curcumin. At this point I also chopped up 1/2 an eggplant and added it, because I needed to use it and thought I could get away with it.
For crispy diced potatoes:
In another frying pan sauté diced, cooked potatoes in a bit of olive oil until browned. I let them sit on one side for a while and then try to turn them. No big deal if they are only browned on one to two sides. The kids love these crispy little potatoes to add to tacos.

In little bowls on the table we had a chopped leek (standing in very well for green onions--I've figured out that I love the taste of leeks), tomatoes, cilantro. In addition we had shredded cheddar cheese blend and sour cream.

Most of us made tacos with all of the ingredients, but everyone could choose what they wanted. Serve the chicken with tongs to get extra moisture out. You'll need the liquid to make the soup.

West African Peanut Soup

Take all leftovers (leeks, potatoes, tomatoes, cilantro) and add them to the pot with the chicken. Place back on stove. Now go get about 1/2 of a small jar of peanut butter. Peanut butter kind of "dissolves" in hot tomatoey liquids. What I usually do to make it easy to stir in is put the peanut butter in a bowl. Add some hot liquid from the pot and I usually add 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce and mix until smooth and then add to the big pot. Now add enough water to make a thick soup consistency (like tortilla soup consistency). Add a few boullion cubes if you like. People will not know exactly what the flavor is---they won't think " oh yeah. This is definitely peanut butter!" They will only think it is absolutely delicious.

When making from scratch it's:
Sauté 1 onion in olive oil. Add 1 lb chicken and brown.
Add 1/2 jar (around 9 ounces) peanut butter. When it starts to melt a bit, add 2 ounces tomato paste and stir until the peanut butter-tomato is smooth
Add enough water to make a consistency that's like a thick soup. (Maybe about like tortilla soup). Add a couple of bullion cubes if you want for a richer broth.
Add about 2 cups veggies. Usually potatoes. I plan to do a combo of potatoes, okra, carrots, and green beans next time.
Add 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper......some times I use something else spicy instead. Like salsa or adding a dried red pepper.
Simmer until the veggies are cooked.
Add 1 bunch chopped cilantro. Serve.
People from Ghana eat this over fufu (look it up on Wikipedia, you'll also see a picture of Peanut Soup if you do.) But that's hard for me to find fufu, so rice works fine. Mostly I eat it on its own.

For freezing I put it into individual zip lock bags to take to work.






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    Great recipes Thank you ...
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