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Easy Kid-Friendly Meals for Ski Weekends

During my last ski trip over President’s Day weekend, it dawned on my that one of the issues we always face when we rent a home or condo is what to cook for dinner.  After a full day of skiing and/or ski school, expecting kids to sit through a restaurant meal is a recipe for disaster.   Regardless if you spend the day on the slopes, the logistics alone of getting your kids and their stuff to ski school means elaborate meals if any kind are totally unappealing. Add in the fact that your favorite ski venue is unlikely to have your favorite grocery store and you’ve got a challenge.

What meals are easy, hearty, and doable with basic ingredients that you can get at any grocery store?

I asked Amanda Haas, a cookbook author, cooking instructor, and cookbook producer (ranging from A16 Food & Wine to Williams-Sonoma Roasting) for some help. She recently launched a brilliant new blog called One Family, One Meal where she provides all the weekly menus, shopping lists, and recipes you’ll need to feed a family of four on a budget for $200 a week.  The amazing part for me is that she has figured out a way to include organic and locally sourced ingredients in this budget, i.e. this is not about cheap and easy junk food.

Amanda lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two favorite test subjects—her two young sons. These recipes sound perfect!

Amanda’s Favorite Chili

Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cook Time: 2-2 ½ hours Serves: 6-8

Your kids will agree-this chili is perfect for refueling after a big day on the slopes. If you use dried pinto beans, make it a day or two ahead and it reheats really well. Or if you prefer to make this at the last minute, substitute two 15-oz. cans of pinto beans that have been drained and rinsed. Purchase a package of instant cornbread to bake while the chili cooks. With a big salad and a glass of Zinfandel, it doesn’t get any better than this.

1/3 pound dried pinto beans

28 oz. canned crushed tomatoes (I like San Marzano the best)

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 medium red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1 ¼ pounds lean ground beef and ½ pound lean ground pork, or 1 ¾ pound ground turkey

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon black pepper

Place the beans in a large stockpot. Cover with two inches of water and bring to a boil. As soon as the water boils, turn off the heat, then cover the beans and allow them to sit for one hour. (NOTE: You can substitute this method in any recipe that tells you to soak the beans overnight. It works like a charm!)

After one hour, bring the beans to a boil again in the same water, then cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until tender-about 1- 1 ½ hours. (Note: Pick it up from here if you’re using canned beans. Just place the beans in a stockpot with ½ cup of water.) Add the tomatoes and simmer 5 minutes longer.

While the beans are cooking, heat the oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers and onions and cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and parsley and cook for 1 more minute. Add the meats, the chili powder, salt, cumin, and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until the meat is crumbly and cooked through, about 8-10minutes.

When the beans are cooked through, add the meat mixture to the beans. Simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes to combine the flavors. Serve immediately or allow to cool before storing in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Recipe adapted by Amanda Haas from “Chasen’s Chili Recipe”

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