On any given weeknight, odds are pretty good that my dinner will be some haphazard combination of: pickles, cereal, limpish celery, expired yogurt, random leftovers, maybe a stray hot dog bun… I’m equal parts hungry and not picky.
The ideal checklist for a weeknight dinner, of course, is something delicious, healthy, quick, and not boring. That is the equation I try to crack once in a while, and lo and behold–here we have success.
Delicious: Must I really try to talk you into rice and beans?
Healthy: Beans and rice, dur. Not to mention that this is a recipe easily made vegetarian or vegan: you’d just skip the chicken and use vegetarian broth. Also, serving this on a bed of fresh spinach would make Paula Deen cry.
Quick: This can be as easy as you’d like, really. I cooked my own rice the old-school way and pan-roasted a chicken breast, but you could just as easily pick up a rotisserie chicken and one of those instant-rice-in-a-pouch dealios. ‘Cause you’re not a time-wasting sucker, like I can be.
Not boring: Hello, apple salsa! It’s the perfect crunchy, tart, fresh update to a classic dish. Even if you make this a vegan meal, the star of the show remains.
So, yes. Some quick chopping and mixing for salsa, then a sauteeing of bell pepper and onion (I left behind browned bits from the chicken breast I cooked in here), plus beans and broth left alone to simmer for a little while.
What’s that? No pickles and Cheerios for dinner tonight? My, how far I’ve come today. Adulthood: together we can rock it.
In solidarity with Other Kids Who Don’t Know How To Eat Dinner Good And Wanna Know How To Do Other Stuff Good Too,
Black Beans and Rice with Apple Salsa and Chicken
(recipe from Bon Appetit, Jan. 2012)
1 small Granny Smith apple, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, divided
1/3 cup red onion, chopped, divided
1 teaspoon (or more) fresh lime juice
1/3 cup green bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups cooked brown rice
1 2–3-pound rotisserie chicken, skin discarded and meat shredded (OR an equivalent of your favorite chicken parts, cooked and seasoned with salt and pepper)
4–6 lime wedges
Toss the apple, 1/4 cup cilantro, 2 tablespoons of the onion, and 1 teaspoon of lime juice in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large skillet or saucepan, over medium heat, saute the remaining onion and bell pepper in oil. Continue cooking, stirring often, until soft, 6–7 minutes. Toss in the garlic and spices and stir a minute or so. Stir in broth and beans, then bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce is thickened, 10-15 minutes. Season the beans with salt and pepper and more lime juice, if you’d like.
Spoon rice and beans onto plates, topping with chicken, apple salsa and remaining cilantro. Serve with lime wedges. Serves 4 or so.