A long run offers ample opportunity for quiet introspection. Running 10 miles around a lonely, nearly forgotten lake affords respite from snarling cars. Still, the stillness is nearly unnerving. As the miles passed and the disquieting sense of agoraphobia subsided, I began to focus on options for today’s meal. My chili train of thought was only interrupted briefly as two deer broke out of the wood and cautiously crept across the road. They were conscious of my presence and appeared to regard me with genuine curiosity, as someone may regard misfit pinto bean in an otherwise perfect bowl o’ red. As I drew closer and the wind carried my perspiration-laden scent toward their keen noses, they turned tail and quickly disappeared into the beckoning forest. So departed my new-found, white tailed friends. My focus returned to chili and leftovers and how ponderous it becomes triangulating perfect proportions when formulating chili from a gaggle of leftovers.
1 T butter
1 C leftover cooked chicken
¾ C chopped onion
1 T chili powder
1 t paprika
¼ t black pepper
½ t fajita seasoning
½ t Market Day “salt for all seasons”
2 C leftover cooked rice
1 C chopped cucumber
½ C diced fresh tomato
1/3 C pineapple juice
- Fry in chicken, onion, and seasonings in molten butter until onions are soft and fragrant.
- Add rice and stir well. Fry for another 5-7 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients and fry over low heat for 10 minutes.
Reflecting on this morning’s reflective run, not only did it provide the opportunity to mentally concoct a bewilderingly kick-ass chili, it provided some comic relief. I had taken my cell phone on this morning’s run, which was silly as my carrier’s often unadvertised “no-coverage-in-the-middle-of-nowhere plan” (oddly) has no coverage here. Mrs. Chili365 dryly pointed out that the only utility my cell phone has in the wilderness would be as a projectile- like ya’ know if I encountered a bear, I could hurl the Samsung at it. Well, had any grizzlies been prowling near the shack, they’d have likely gotten after today’s chili. It was lick-the-pan good. Somehow the various leftovers unified into an outstanding skillet meal. Bewildering, but in a happy sort of way. Cleaning out the fishing shack fridge finally pays off in spades.