Having a trusty fast-food strategy is the busy person's key to eating well. When I'm swamped with work, travel, kids' activities or whatever, I quite simply cannot be trusted to choose the healthy meal over the quick one.
Unless, that is, the healthy one is the quick one. Over the years, I have developed a repertoire of healthier fast-food options, dinners I can get on the table in minutes. A standby is, of course, the supermarket rotisserie chicken. Pick up one of those, add a quick spinach salad, and my family is eating before anyone even has time to ask what's for dinner.
I also always buy two rotisserie chickens (or roast two chickens when I'm bothering to heat up the house with the oven), so I have leftover chicken seasoned and ready to go for another meal a day or two later.
This week's chicken and black bean stew is a meal inspired by one of those weeks. The ingredients are all basic, simple stuff that I have on hand most of the time. I use canned chipotles in adobo sauce for tons of flavor and some warm heat (buy it canned, then store it in a freezer bag and just lop off a hunk for recipes as you need it).
Don't have or like chipotles? You also can use tomato paste and chili powder or whatever other warm spicy item you have in your cupboard. The secret to this quick stew is that the chicken already has so much flavor that adding just a little spice and a little acid (the lime juice) makes the flavors taste far more complex than the quick and healthy little dinner gem that this dish is.
Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."