Where has the time gone? I’ve spent much of the past two months on the road at various conferences and I just realized we’re nearing the end of April. I really enjoy taking these trips, meeting new people, and having the chance to sample some great restaurants in other cities. But what I miss most–other than my children–is cooking in my own kitchen. After several restaurant meals in a row, I am so looking forward to eating my own food!
In addition to missing the kitchen, another problem with being on the road is worrying about what my kids are eating back at the ranch. I’m the only one in the family who is gluten free, but I’m also a big believer in “cooking one dinner”, thus most of the family’s home cooked meals end up being gluten free. I let the kids eat pizza and pasta at school, but I believe the drastic reduction in their wheat consumption, even though not “medically necessary”, has had positive effects on their overall health. Usually by the time I return from a trip, they’ve completely overdosed on gluten. As much as I try to prepare meals ahead for the freezer or leave behind easy recipes, sometimes the “fun” caregivers (dad, grandma, babysitter) just want to get them fed. And I get that.
Inevitably I arrive home from these trips around 4 or 5:00 p.m., just in time for everyone to ask me what’s for dinner. Since I know the dining situation turned to mayhem while I was gone, I try to throw something together fast to get things back on track. One of my kids’ favorite go-to meals: nachos. Of course you could toss some tortilla chips and cheese on a plate and call it a day, but my simple black bean and chicken “stew” is more filling and nutritious while remaining pretty simple.
I add some cooked cubed chicken (grab a rotisserie chicken on your way home) to a pan with garlic, spices, and tomato paste and add some chicken broth to create a sauce. Stir in black beans and simmer until everything’s hot. Set out a big basket of tortilla chips, a bowl of the chicken stew, and cheese, cilantro, and avocado for toppings. Everyone assembles his own nachos for a family fun “nacho night”, quick and easy. What are some of your favorite last-minute dinners? Let me know in the comments section. Cheers! ~LbR