Monday, June 4, 2012

Chicken Adobo & a Rant on Food Waste

One of my biggest pet peeves in life is wastefulness. More specifically, food waste. It's a waste of time (usually my time) and money, among other things. I come from the culinary world, and food waste meant time and hard earned money down the drain. Hard work should never go wasted.

One of the most crucial parts of cooking for so many people (8-12) at least 3 times a week is keeping food waste as low as possible. My main asset to the family is turning nothing into something. Majority of meals include a protein, a starch, and a vegetable. Luckily, we live in a straight farm town, and veggies are readily available. 

The day I came up with this blog, I was making Chicken Adobo in a crock-pot. My mom used to make this Filipino dish, and my Grandma before her. Everyone in our family has their own versions: chicken only, chicken/potatoes, adding hard-boiled eggs. All different, all great in their own right. You can do that, too! Change it up to make it yours

Chicken Adobo 
(can be substituted with beef*, pork**, etc.) 
-yields 20 servings (divide into 4 for a 5 person dinner)

My weapons of choice: 1 crock-pot, 1 cutting board (or two), 1 chefs knife, 1 really good peeler.

4 lbs. chicken thighs (boneless, skinless…will fit in the crock-pot better and faster cooking time!)
20 garlic cloves, crushed
1 yellow onion, chopped
1-2 c. vinegar (Heinz white distilled, not apple cider)
2-3 c. soy sauce (Kikkoman, the best and only brand I ever use. You can use their low-sodium if you want to cut down on salt)
5-7 bay leaves
5-7 medium Russet potatoes, peeled medium diced (smaller you cut 'em, shorter the cooking time) Pictured: Russets and reds. I had a few leftover so I decided to use them.
4-6 c. white or brown rice, cooked
Steamed vegetable of your choice, I chose broccoli!

Set your crock-pot to 6 hours on HIGH. Throw the garlic cloves and onion in. 

Add vinegar and let it warm up (about 7 minutes). Prep your chicken in the meantime; trim off all extra fat.

Add soy sauce and bay leaves. Taste. 

Sidenote: If it makes your eyes water, and clears your sinuses, you're going the right direction. (My family likes tart and tangy Adobo, so 1-2 c. is good for them. It may not be for you, so start with 1 cup. Go from there). 

Add chicken, stir it up, and make sure the liquid covers as much as it can. 
If it doesn't immediately, don't worry. It will. 
Add potatoes on the outside ring of the crock-pot. Cover and let it ride.

 About 3 1/2 hours in, give it one full stir. Serve with some rice and veg (suggestion: we are big broccoli eaters). 

* Cook on low for 8 hours, use stew meat if it's available ($15 per 4 lb. package)
** Cook on low for 8 hours

Important things to remember:

- Do not stir frequently while using a crock-pot. Doing so depletes the temperature by 25 degrees each time. Ever heard the saying, "A watched pot never boils"? YEAH. 
- Tip: Vinegar mellows out as it cooks. So, even though it's super eye-watering at first taste, it will turn out to be way smoother at the end of cooking time. You can always adjust at the end, too. That's the beauty of cooking! You can change things and make it seem like you did it on purpose :P

And hey man, clean up is easy. Remember you're working with poultry, so make sure your work area stays tidy and sanitary. Cross-contamination is not the business.

Total for this meal: $21.66 for 20 servings including starch and vegetable. That's two dinners for 8 people, which comes out to less than $1.50/person per night.

Print this recipe

Want the breakdown? I will post it if you want! Let me know in the comments :)

Hope you try this one out, it's forrealzies bomb. Let me know if you do!

Happy Cooking! (Sorry, Julia! Still working on it)



  1. I'm with you, I hate waste and this must have something to do with being from a good size family. Can you believe I've met people that don't like and never eat left-overs??

    1. I do think that's where it comes from, actually…and from not having a lot of money. Valuing food and the fact that sometimes you couldn't always get what you wanted (cue the Rolling Stones) was big in my huge family. You took what you could get and you didn't complain.

      And yes, I absolutely believe it. I know a few people that never eat their left-overs or don't even take the rest home at all. It makes me sad!

      -Thing 2

  2. Looking forward to this blog! The chicken sounds yum!

  3. Looks just great. I managed to miss the cut off for the linky this time ...sigh. Have a super week.

    1. Hi Carole! Thank you, you should give it a try! :)

      You did, but there will definitely be another one in the near future. Stay tuned and you have a great week also. Thanks for reading!

      -Thing 2

  4. Would you be happy to link this in to my Chicken Edition of Food on Friday? This is the link .

    1. Great that you linked this in. Have a super week.
      PS I put the title in for you

    2. Awesome, thanks for asking! Sorry about the title. Hope you have a great week, as well :)


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