My own redneck recipe for chicken stew. Easy to fix and good eatin' on a limited budget.
4 large potatoes, any kind, cut into chunks about half as big as your thumb (you can leave the skins on, I do.)
1 medium onion, chopped up kinda coarse.
2 cloves of garlic, sliced thin.
2 stalks celery, chopped like it's supposed to be. (so it looks like fat little "C's")
Leftover chicken meat, enough to fill a coffee cup after it's been deboned. You can use any kind; your own leftovers, KFC, or that bag of hot wings your gal smuggled out of the restaurant where she works.
2 carrots or equivalent, cut up about half as big as you cut the potatoes. I used a good sized handful of peeled baby carrots I found in the fridge. (My wife likes them, but I can't eat 'em 'cause of my teeth.)
Two or three tablespoons of leftover mashed potatoes. If you got KFC, you can even throw in the gravy. (Got no leftovers? you can substitute instant mashed potato buds instead.)
Vegetables, your choice, at least enough to fill a coffee cup, a little more if you got 'em. I used half a bag of green beans last time, 'cause that's what we had in the freezer. You can use mustard greens or okra, if you're partial to it. (I like to use something green so it stands out.) You can use corn or butter beans if you want, but they will kinda get lost in the sauce.
1 medium can of tomato sauce or other tomato product. A can of Stewed tomatoes or even that old half jar of Ragu you got in the fridge will work just fine. I used a small can of tomato paste I found in the cupboard last time. (If you're desperate you can even use half a bottle of ketchup, but I wouldn't recommend it.)
1/2 teaspoon Salt (I go kinda light on account of my blood pressure)
1/2 Teaspoon Black pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Oregano. Got no oregano? You can substitute Italian seasoning, parsley, or pretty much any other spice that has green flakes in it. (It's mostly for the color anyway.)
Barbecue Sauce, your choice. (KC, Jack Daniel's, or the bargain stuff from the Piggly Wiggly, they'll all work just fine)
2 Tablespoons Hot Sauce. You don't have to get all fancy, the kind from dollar store will do. Got no hot sauce? You can use Rajin' Cajun or Texas Pete or the like, or even straight cayenne, but be careful with it.
3 tablespoons vinegar, any kind. (Red, White, Cider, they'll all work.)
1. Grab yourself a beer to sip on while you're working.
2. Prepare all the ingredients (except the chicken) as described above.
3. Get yourself a stew pot big enough to hold everything.
4. Throw in the potatoes, onions, garlic, celery, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and tomato sauce.
5. Add enough water to cover all the above, plus another four finger's worth.
5. To prepare the chicken, If it's leftover KFC or other fried type, peel off coating first. (You can crumble it up and throw it in the pot for extra flavor, if you like.)
6. Then chop the chicken meat up on a plate and shred it up with forks, like pulled pork. (If you're worried about cholesterol you can throw away the skin. Otherwise just chop it up with the rest.)
7. Then wet the meat down with a healthy amount of barbecue sauce, but not so much as it would crumble the bun if you was to try to make a sandwich out of it. (No Randy, don't make a sandwich with it to try to find out.)
8. Don't worry, I ain't gonna make you cook it separate. Just scrape the meat and sauce off the plate and into the pot with everything else.
9. Add the spices, as I recommended earlier.
10. Turn on the stove, bring the pot to a boil.
11. Cover the pot and turn down the fire until it's just bubbling just a little. (It helps if you got one of those "Made in China" pots with the glass lids they sell at the Dollar General, so you can see how it's cookin'.)
12. Cook for about an hour, or until you can break the potatoes apart with a fork. (Grab yourself another beer while you're waiting. And add more water to the stew while it's cooking, if it needs it.)
Note on spices: I recommend you go light on the spices, taste the stew while it's cooking, and add more, gently, as you go. Be sure to taste a whole spoonful to judge what's needed. (Especially if you like to have a beer or two while you cook.)
If you just taste just a little you might think "I can't hardly taste the salt or the fire in this, I'll just add a bunch more hot sauce and another spoonful of salt." Then when it's done and you sit down to eat a whole bowl of stew, you'll see you put in way too much! (If you need to open a second beer to finish your bowl, it's too much.)
Better to go light on the spices while cooking, and leave the hot sauce bottle and salt shaker on the table so you can add more to your own bowl after it's dished out, if you need to.
Note on Substitutes: If you got no chicken you can substitute leftover ribs, pulled pork, or pretty much any other meat, just prepare as noted above. Went a little overboard on the new grill yesterday and you got leftover cooked burgers you couldn't bear to throw out sitting in a tupperware in the fridge? Crumble 'em up and pour on the barbecue sauce, they'll do just fine. You can even use hot dogs, if that's all you got to work with.
Hard Times: If you need to stretch this out to get yourself a few more meals to last till payday, you can always put more potatoes or whatever other vegetables you got available into the stewpot. Just add more water and spices as needed. And if you don't have much meat on hand you can throw in a can of beans or two.
On Following Directions: I always looked at cooking as more of an art than a science. Don't feel like you have to follow this recipe (or any other, for that matter) exactly. You don't like garlic? Leave it out. You wanta use brown gravy instead of tomato sauce? You go on and do it! Whatever tastes good to you, that's what's important.