Anything But Cattle Call Buffet
|mmm…please pass the Salmonella|
Whenever I ask my kids where they want to go for dinner they say one of two places:Chick- fil-A or Sweet Tomatoes. Chick-Fil-A is a Southern staple…a place out-of-towners wax poetic about when they visit. But if you live near one it’s just another place to get fat no matter how solid their chicken bits are. Add the waffle fries and you might as well keep the high rise jeans I told you to get rid of.
Now Sweet Tomatoes is a fantastic concept in theory. It’s a large salad bar filled with tons of pre-cut fruits and vegetables, soups, sides and low fat ice cream. But the problem with Sweet Tomatoes is that it represents everything about America that disgusts me. Think midnight buffet on a cruise. Think hordes of people cramming into one space, vying for the tuna fish, beef slabs and Alfredo sauce. Eating as quickly and as much as possible so they can get to the next course. Piling mashed potatoes with slathered butter into their faces while accumulating masses of dishes so that their tables look like clearing stations. Do I make myself clear? It makes me anxious. It makes me embarrassed to be American. It makes me sick. It makes me not want to eat there.
Just the concept of ‘All You Can Eat’ is one that should be eliminated from our gastronomic vocabularies. But that’s not really fair now is it? How do I deny my kids the opportunity to eat perfectly prepped pre-cut vegetables simply because I have a problem with gluttonous Americans seeking the Early Bird Special? Does that make me an ageist? A buffetist? I can whine, or I can attempt to create my own little mini buffet. One where each spoon isn’t a petri dish of germs waiting to afflict my family with some unknown virus. One where the concept of a sneeze guard (an absolutely disgusting visual) does not exist. One where my kids’ grimy hands are the only grimy hands touching the utensils.
This thought fills me with control freak comfort. So despite the fact that they’re begging me to go out (something I usually take them up on) I just can’t hack it tonight. Instead we’re headed to the grocery store to pick up a few packages of pre-chopped anything so we can make our own little assembly line.
Tonight’s choice is Chicken Fajitas. They may use up a lot of bowls, but they’re easy and fun to assemble. And whoever cleans up first gets an extra scoop of double chocolate chip ice cream with sprinkles and marshmallows that they can stuff into their little mouths like the gluttons they are.
All You Can Eat Because They’re Grilled and I’m the Only One Who Touched Them
- One or Two Packages Thin Chicken Strips
- One Lime
- Liquid Smoke
- Soy Sauce
- One Garlic Clove (minced)
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Vegetable Oil
- Chili Powder
- Red and Green Peppers
- One Package Shredded Lettuce
- Whole Wheat Tortillas or Hard Taco Shells
- One Can Black Beans
- One Packet Yellow Rice
- One Tomato
- One Package Shredded Cheese
- Wash chicken strips and put in bowl.
- Mix up next 8 ingredients (couple of splashes of each wet ingredient, couple of sprinkles of each dry) and pour over chicken.
- Cover and marinate for at least 30 minutes (better if you do this in the morning before you leave for work or school).
- Grill chicken (on low) or saute on stove top on medium. I like when the little black lines form from the grill…makes it looks more professional.
- Cut peppers into strips and saute in a little oil and a pinch of S&P. When chicken is done add to peppers and saute together for one minute.
- Put all other ingredients into little bowls and line up on the counter.
- Have everyone make their own fajitas, tacos, salad or anything else they can pile on their plate.
- Enjoy and save the extras for tomorrow!