Meal Plan; 18 – 22 July

Mid-July 2022, and the World is still standing. We still face plenty of COVID-related incidents; countries have mostly removed various restrictions, and people are jumping into the travel frenzy to get out again.

My wife jumped on the bandwagon and took a road trip with our eldest daughter to Pennsylvania to explore a potential college. Driving limits the exposure to any COVID-related shit and gives you the freedom to explore more.

Selecting the right college depends on the academics taught, the quality of the facility, and access to resources. However, the community in or around the college is equally important. You don’t want to spend 3-4 years in an isolated area with limited opportunity to visit a mall, restaurant, bookstore, or other distractions.

From a dad’s perspective, living in a remote location with no temptation allows your daughter to save a lot of money—no option to spend money, although she does not share the same philosophy.

S’mores time

While the girls were away, I spent quality time with the two younger kids. We spend every day and weekend together as a family but rarely focus on one kid. So the opportunity to chat, laugh, and hang out with the kids is fantastic and should be happening more often.

We bought some snacks, had BBQ, made s’mores, ate some more snacks, drank ice tea (and I had some adult beverages), and watched a movie on the large screen in the garden.

Cooking with Kent Rollins

Over a year ago, I encountered a very charismatic cowboy on YouTube, Kent Rollins.

He was dancing somewhere on the prairie while cooking these delicious dinners on his grill, over the fire, and impressing me with simple yet beautiful meals. His dogs were running around, cattle in the background, and his wife took up the role of a camera operator.

Thanks to Amazon, I got some of his cookbooks delivered to the house using Prime. So I have been dappling a few of his recipes over the past few months. Excellent for the summer grilling season.

The Cooking Cowboy was born and brought up in Oklahoma, where he initially helped his dad with cattle operations. His uncle introduced him to making food and feeding the cowboys while they were working and driving cattle, and he soon started to feed other ranchers – the Rollins wagon drive began in 1993.

The governor of Oklahoma proclaimed Kent the Official Chuck Wagon of Oklahoma in 1996.

His enthusiasm and using simple ingredients for cooking delicious meals are the joy of cooking. The videos of him cooking display a guy whos happy in his element, enjoying whipping up camp cowboy dishes on his Big Bertha cowboy stove.

He is perhaps not widely known across the US or the Globe, but he’s a unique chef that works hard for his trade and has developed many excellent dishes. Check out his YouTube channel and website for incredible ideas.

This week’s meal plan is predominantly from his cookbook, “A Taste of Cowboy.”

The story of chili

No, this is not a historical section about the beautiful country Chile, where my wonderful wife is born. There’s simply insufficient time to write about Chile’s crucial historical role. Let’s just say that Chile was and is critical to the Americas.

Instead, since I’m cooking cowboy dishes, I want to share the humble beginnings of the world-famous dish – Chili or Chili con Carne. A dish that comes as varied as beer and BBQ enthusiasts around the US fight hard to win prestigious prizes for their Chili dish. Even hardcore chefs will argue which take on the Chili con Carne is the right way.

My attempt at the famous Chili con Carne

Chili con carne was introduced to America by the “Chili Queens,” women who served food in San Antonio’s Military Plaza as early as the 1860s. Chili stands were also common in Galveston and Houston; they were the taco trucks of the 1800s. Tamales with chili was the most common order—beans were often added.

Robb Walsh, Texan food historian and author of the Chili Book

Chili con Carne is a simple dish that families make, using the available ingredients from their farm or community. It is similar to gumbo, biksemad, and other excellent dishes that use simple ingredients to achieve a super outcome.

Chili con Carne is soul food. That’s a fact. Food enthusiasts around the world worship it.

Anybody can make Chili con Carne using a few essential ingredients; meat, beans, tomato, and chilies. Adding a few spices like oregano and cumin will elevate the spice buds. Thrown in some hot chilies, and suddenly your palette will travel to the food galaxy full of flavor experiences throughout your body.

Making great food depends on the effort and passion you put into it.

The Viking Heart Within

Let’s get back to history. Some believe chili con Carne has been around for hundreds of years, roughly 1731, while others speculate it goes as far back as the Aztecs.

The conquistadors’ documentation links Chili con Carne back to the Aztecs, who prepare stews from most animals and some humans. So it is not a stretch to think that they “invented” Chili con Carne, and the Canary people brought it to the Texas region.

Families would place a large clay pot over the fire, roast/fry the beef, and add beans, tomatoes, spices, and chilies. Let it simmer for a couple of hours and then serve it to the family when they return home from work. Perfect and simple.

Meals for the family

I’m continuing the approach for last week, where I make dinners that can be used for lunch too.

Most dishes are from Kent Rollins’ cookbook, but I’m also making the family-popular banquettes for a few quick sandwiches for the kids.

MondayBaguette – meat and cheese comboChinese chicken fried with small peppers – and perhaps rice on the side
TuesdayCowboy chili con carneCowboy chili con carne
WednesdayHush puppies with delicious salad; black beans, corn, tomato, cucumber, and cilantroCatalina taco salad
ThursdayGrilled cheese cowboy-style slidersBarbacoa taco time
FridayBreakfast (brunch) sandwichDrive-in movie night

One day, I might get so organized that I will link the meals below to my recipes. We can only live in hope!

Have a fantastic week, my friends. I hope you enjoy these meal plans. It is much easier to make food in advance, although you must invest several hours preparing meals during the weekend.

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