Enchilada Rice Bowl: Dinner Outta Nothing

Unlike the typical recipe blog, I’m putting the recipe first. Then maybe after you see how delicious it is, you’ll want to read my delightful prose. Either way, you’re here for this recipe, so here ya go:

2 large boneless skinless chicken thighs (this can literally be any chicken at all and it’ll be fine – the inspiration recipe called for canned chicken, so…)
1 teaspoon chili powder
like 2 cups of chicken broth (I used like 1/2 c chicken broth and 1 c beef stock and then 1/2 c water because I was out of like everything)
1 cup-ish of white uncooked rice
2ish cups of enchilada sauce
1 can of diced tomatoes and green chilies
(you’re supposed to use a can of corn but I was out)
some butter for cooking the chicken
Shredded Mexican cheese (I was out so I used cheddar and it was YUM)

You can see that my measurements aren’t exact because I was literally just trying to use whatever I had at my house. And so neither will the instructions be exact because, again, flying by the seat of my pants, as I do things best.

  1. Melt butter in a large skillet (preferably one with a lid – I don’t have one with a lid, so I used another skillet of similar size upside down on top of it during “lid time”). Cut the chicken into chunks and throw it in the melted butter. Cook for about 10-ish minutes at medium heat until the chicken is done.
  2. Remove the chicken from the skillet, but leave the crispies and remaining melty butter because yum. Add the stock/broth of chicken/beef and the chili powder and bring to a simmer, then stir in the uncooked rice. Cover (again, with another pan of similar size if you are lidless like me), lower the heat, and cook for about 15 minutes until most of the liquid is soaked up into the rice.
  3. While the rice is cooking, cut the chicken up into tiny little bite-sized pieces.
  4. Add all the other stuff except the cheese (the corn if you have it, the enchilada sauce, the tomatoes with green chilies, and the chicken) to the rice, stir, and bring to a steady simmer, stirring regularly so the rice doesn’t stick to the skillet. Take off the heat and let thicken for a bit.
  5. I added the cheese to individual bowls, but you could probably add it to the whole skillet. It’s all good and gooey and melty.

LITERALLY SO YUM. My entire family ate this. My baby. My son. My daughter. Me. My husband. Everyone ate it.

And now for the delightful prose and fun-filled photos:

chicken thighs, uncooked

It is April 17 and our grocery budget for the month has less than $8 in it. This is to be expected – we have been heading to the fridge way more lately for snacks because we’re majorly bored. The weather’s been ugly, and we’ve been watching too many Disney movies and eating too many snacks.

But, alas, we are sticking to the budget, dern it! So now I have to figure out how to make food out of nothing for about 2 weeks. It’s going to be fun! (That was somewhat sarcastic).

I was kind of out of ideas, so I google searched “recipes made from the stuff in your pantry” and saw one that was enchilada themed. I had enchilada sauce that I’d been meaning to use, and Mexican food literally always sounds delicious to me, so I went with it. The problem was, I really didn’t have much of what the recipe called for, so I did quite a bit of improvising.

The rice before it was cooked, and then the rice after it was cooked and the other ingredients were added.

The thing is – we always have tons of food, even when we think we are out of food. For example, we have two giant packages of frozen boneless skinless chicken thighs because the first week all this crazy COVID stuff was going down it was the only meat in the entire grocery store. We’ve managed to put off eating it because I’m not necessarily a huge dark meat fan. But now we’re out of all the meat I actually like, and we aren’t wasting this perfectly good chicken thigh meat! I only needed 2 of the pieces for this, and the package had like 8, so that’s quite a deal actually. I only paid $7 for the huge amount of them – proof that dark meat is cheaper. Something worth thinking about!

the mostly-cooked chicken

As I mentioned above, I didn’t have all the appropriate types of broth, so I made do. I also only had a huge can of enchilada sauce, so I only had to use like 1/3 of the can for the whole recipe, so I guess we’re having enchilada rice bowls for several more days so we don’t waste the sauce!

We are exclusive Aldi shoppers, folks.

So yeah, we’re gonna see how long we can go without buying groceries. It’s gonna get creative (and weird) up in here in the next few weeks. We have plenty of meat and carbs (pastas, rice, crackers, etc), but we’re going to run out of vegetables pretty quickly here. This’ll be fun!

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