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After dining out for a majority of the weekend, I made chicken with red beans and rice for dinner. This was a welcome change, as I wasn’t sure what we had in the house to facilitate any cooking. It was slightly cooler than it had been all week (it’s been hot and muggy here all week and that just makes any kind of cooking in an un air conditioned kitchen dreadful) so I had no problems going with a warm dish. At my disposal were a box of red beans and rice, a can of whole green chilies, canned tomato sauce, salsa, and garlic.

The end product came out pretty good, but to get to that point, I had to get creative.

While trying to figure out what to do with the tomato sauce and green chilies, I got the red beans and rice started and went from there. 

I plucked three chicken breasts from the bag of frozen ones and got them into a pan of water. While they boiled, I had time to think about what I was going to do with the tomato sauce and chilies. 

Slowly, an idea began forming in my head. I would chop up some of the chilies, combine it with the tomato sauce and garlic, add salsa and hot sauce and then nestle the chicken in with it in a pan and let it cook. I began by getting the chilies from within the can and was completely surprised to see that it was whole peppers in water, not an adobo sauce. 

I wasn’t sure how spicy they were, so I handled the peppers with care and was careful not to cut myself while chopping. 

After getting the peppers into the bowl (that bowl is useful for everything, by the way), I added some pressed garlic to the equation. 

After I added the garlic, I poured in the tomato sauce and sat for a moment wondering just how much salsa I would need for this. I grabbed one of the tablespoons and began to add salsa. Seeing as I wasn’t going by a recipe, I added roughly 10 tbsp. 

By this time, the chicken had finished cooking and I strained it, washing out the pan before adding two of the chicken breasts back into the pan. 

Once the sauce mixture was well stirred, I poured it over the chicken breasts, covering them completely. 

The chicken had been cooked a bit from being boiled, so I set the timer to twenty-five (25) minutes, placed a lid on the chicken and left it to cook. While it simmered away, a delightful aroma enveloped the kitchen and I couldn’t help but to occasionally check on it. It smelled good and had I turned the heat down low and let it simmer for at least an hour, the chicken would have been fork tender.

I checked on the rice and found it was coming along nicely as well. Then again, you can’t really mess up box rice, right?

Before everything had finished cooking, I had the brilliant idea to two (2) “taco” sized corn tortillas into the toaster oven. As they cooked, I dished out some rice and accented it with the chicken and red sauce mixture.

The end result? 

Red beans and rice lay as a foundation for chicken that was cooked to near perfection in a spicy red sauce. Adding the toasted tortillas was probably a really good idea as they were excellent for getting every last bit out of the bowl when I finished.

~Recipe: Chicken and Spicy Red Sauce~

As the sauce is tomato based, this can be served over pasta. All you need to do is add diced tomatoes and mushrooms (yuck!) and you have a very basic cacciatore sauce! 

Serves 2

Ingredients: 

  • 1 15oz can Contadina tomato sauce
  • 1 Green Chili, chopped coarsely
  • 10 tbsp salsa
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp garlic, crushed

Method:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine chopped green chilies, salsa, tomato sauce, salsa, and garlic.
  2. **OPTIONAL** For those of you who like a more smooth sauce, run the mixture through the blender or food processor until desired smoothness.
  3. Pour enough of the mixture into the bottom of the pan to cover, add chicken and cover with remaining sauce. Place heat on medium, add lid and let cook for twenty-five (25) to thirty (30) minutes.
  4. Serve with your choice of pasta or rice and enjoy!
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