SANTA FE — Now that Im a true road warrior I cant count the number of times Ive driven from Denton to Santa Fe in the last year Im becoming an expert on what to eat along the way. Depending on my route, there are a few places where I like to stop (Golden Light Cafe in Amarillo is a favorite), but I dont always time my driving to coincide with the lunch hour. Plus, as much as I love biting into that green chile cheeseburger, afterward, Im more in the mood for a two-hour nap instead of the five-plus hours ahead of me.So Im learning to pack my own road food. The requirements are simple: 1) It must be easy and quick to make, because who wants to spend hours in the kitchen the day or two before traveling? 2) It should be healthy and on the light side. 3) It should fit into a small cooler. 4) It must be delicious.It does not need to be something to eat while you drive. In fact, I strongly suggest that you do not do this. No matter where you are driving to and from, theres almost always a place to pull off and spread your things out and have a little picnic. The idea is to make it simple, whatever you do. Theres no need to go out and buy paper plates and plastic utensils. Use your own dishes and silverware. (If you feel like your dishes are too fancy, then go to the nearest thrift store, like I do, and buy some cheap white plates.) Then pack them in a few dishtowels to use as napkins and/or placemats. Not only is this easier and cheaper, its also better for the environment. You can wash them up and repack them when you get to your destination.All of these recipes are lightning-fast to put together 30 minutes or less and can be served cold or at room temperature. One small cooler will do the trick.Of course, if youre really in a time crunch, you can always make sandwiches. I still like mine best on a baguette. You can take the girl out of Paris.
Ellise Pierce is the Cowgirl Chef and author of COWGIRL CHEF: Texas Cooking with a French Accent (Running Press). Read her blog and watch her cooking videos on www.cowgirlchef.com. You can also follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/cowgirlchef