I hopped on my bike and headed down the country road with the white bridge in site. The creek was just a short ride and I leaned my bike against the rail and jumped over it into the tall grass. I shimmy-ed down the steep bank and found a foothold on one of the large stones my sister and I placed there. It was hot and I was eagerly seeking the cool, bubbly, water in the shade under the road. I carefully made my way across by jumping stone-to-stone and landed on the large flat one that served as my shoe stool. If I ruined another pair, I knew my days at the creek were numbered.
My bare feet sunk into the wet, sandy dirt and my body instantly felt the relief. This summer was boiling and the creek was lower than usual. I patted some water on my face and started turning rocks. Crawdads, minnows and tadpoles scurried along as I inspected the creek bed.
This last week I took my daughter ‘creeking’ for the first time. While it was not at ‘my’ creek, it certainly brought back many faded memories.
The summer heat is upon us, the kids have activities all over the place, and getting dinner on the table is getting harder and harder. This recipe has many perks – quick to put together, leave in it in the crock pot, no ovens to heat up the kitchen, and utterly cheesy and kid-pleasing. Add fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime and avocado, because it’s summer, and you can.
Cheesy Mex Chicken with Fritos
2 (10 ounce) cans Ro-tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies (Original), drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained (check ingredient label for gluten)
2 tablespoons instant tapioca (found in the baking isle of most grocers)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs*, trimmed
salt and pepper
1 cup Fritos corn chips, slightly crushed, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 cup Mexican cheese blend (grated)
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed (or one package freezer sweet corn)
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/2 lime, cut into wedges
*my grocer did not have these, so I de-skinned and de-boned two packs of regular chicken thighs
Drain tomatoes. Add to crock pot. Drain and rinse beans. Add to crock pot. Stir in tapioca and cumin. Nestle chicken into crock pot and salt and pepper.
Set crock pot on low for 4-5 hours.
Remove chicken and place on cutting board. Shred into large bite size pieces.
Stir one cup Fritos, 1 cup Mexican cheese blend, corn and cilantro into slow cooker. Gently stir in chicken and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook on high for about 10 minutes until cheese is melted in.
Portion into bowls and top with Fritos, cheese, avocado and a small wedge of lime.
Notes: If left in crock pot, it may thicken too much. Add very hot water, one half cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached.