Nothing makes a parent feel better than when a child eats well and enjoys every bite. When you have a family, finding recipes that everyone agrees are appetizing can be difficult. Add to that an on-the-go schedule, and it can be even more difficult to make sure everyone is getting fed.
During the recent high school hockey season, finding time to sit down together as a family was nearly impossible because of a demanding practice and game schedule. We put aside leftovers for our son, but they didn’t always get eaten, and we hate to waste food.
So, always on the hunt for something that’s easy to heat up in the microwave and tasty, we tested one of those social media–based recipes produced by the folks at “Tasty.” (We’ve tried several of their recipes, and all of them have been easy to follow and, well, tasty.)
Knowing that our son likes Southwest and Mexican-style food, this burrito in a bowl spoke to us. It combined ease of preparation with a lot of fresh ingredients.
You start out with two boneless chicken breasts. You sprinkle them with the taco seasoning of your choice, and then put a store-bought salsa on top of them (we like mild because you can always add spice, but you can’t take it away.)
On the same cookie sheet, covered in foil, you can bake the peppers (we use red and yellow for color) and onions drizzled with olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. (You can also sauté these veggies on top of the stove, but putting them on the same cookie sheet is part of the ease of this recipe.)
Bake for about 25 minutes in a 400° oven. Let the chicken rest, briefly, before slicing it into strips. (We always seem to have leftover peppers and onions, which we use for some of our meals during the week.)
Meanwhile, you’ll also want to make some of his favorite boxed rice. The recipe calls for brown rice, but that can be bland and boring. We tried a Spanish rice that added a little too much spice, and now, like Goldlilocks taking that nap at the bear’s house, we have found a rice that’s just right — a Trader Joe’s rice that provides an excellent complement to all the other flavors.
While the chicken and vegetables are cooking, you can heat a package of frozen corn in the microwave. (Again, the grilled corn mix at Trader Joe’s goes particularly well with this recipe.) Open and rinse a can of black beans, get out your store-bought salsa, and chop up some fresh cilantro and put it aside as the final garnish.
Once the chicken is cut up, you’ll want to get out four microwavable containers. (Remember, this has to be as easy as possible for the teenager in your life.)
Put a generous serving of rice across the bottom of each container, add some chicken to each. Now in separate sections of the container, add the peppers and onions, beans, corn, and salsa. Sprinkle some grated Mexican cheese on top, as well as some fresh cilantro. The recipe also calls for a lime wedge, but he’d forget to take it out before hitting the button on the microwave, and a cooked lime would just be gross, so we skip that step.
Pop the lids onto each container, and put them in the refrigerator to be heated in the microwave and devoured by your hungry teen four nights in a row. (Don’t worry about him eating the same thing over and over again; it’s such a cacophony of flavors, he won’t get bored. Besides, Dad might steal one for a late-night snack or a weekend lunch.)
We still value those times when we can sit down together, sharing a meal and conversation. But the burrito bowl gives us some comfort that when we can’t do that, at least the boy is well fed.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 large bell peppers (we like red and yellow for color), sliced into strips
1 large onion (we like yellow, but you can use red)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. taco seasoning
1 jar of salsa (go mild, you can always add spice)
3 cups of cooked rice (one box will do)
1 can of black beans (drain ’em and rinse ’em)
1 bag of frozen corn (grilled-style from Trader Joe’s is best)
chopped cilantro to garnish (he won’t notice if you forget this step)
Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place chicken in the center with the peppers and onions on either side (we cook them separately, but that’s just us; this works, and it’s simpler.) Sprinkle the taco seasoning on both sides of the chicken breasts, and top each chicken breast with salsa. Bake for 25 minutes. Rest chicken before slicing into strips.
Add a base of rice to four microwavable storage containers. Add scoop to each of black beans, fresh salsa, cooked peppers and onions, and sliced chicken. Sprinkle with cheese (we prefer the shredded Mexican cheese). Refrigerate up to four days, and microwave when you’re ready.