My husband is a Chipotle feen … seriously, try as I might Chipotle will always have his heart and while there are much worse options for eating out it doesn’t help that he orders 3 scoops of chicken and extra brown rice (yes you read that right and no I promise it wasn’t a typo)! I can admit that I also love the burrito bowl from chipotle but what I don’t love is the super large portions that make this ‘healthy’ option not so healthy. One of the things I know my little family struggles with and probably 99% of families on the earth struggle with is different dietary needs! Let’s face it, as much as I would love to match my husband bite for bite at every meal the reality is I can’t do that without negatively affecting my health. So therefore I downsize my portions and try to eat as healthy as possible. My husband is that annoying person on the earth that can’t gain weight to save his life! He eats 4,000 calories per day, most of the time and will wake up complaining that he lost weight!! COME AGAIN HOMEBOY?!?! So this is just something I have had to learn the hard way, when we moved in together I gained 10 pounds in the first month and had to have a come to Jesus moment with myself that I wasn’t a growing boy and that type of eating wasn’t going to win me any ‘dietitian of the year awards’! So my plan became separate bowls and plates! Why does this work? Because instead of making a large bowl of everything mixed together, I make small bowls for each food item (most of the time I just use Tupperware for easy cleaning but lets keep things pretty for the blog). This way I am able to serve myself the portions I want to eat and not over do it and Ryan can have as much of the stuff he loves without feeling like he isn’t satisfied! I also think this is a great way to cook when you have kids with different preferences as well! Everyone gets to build their own bowl and you don’t end up making 5 different dinners! Here are a few of my favorite tips for making this process easy and enjoyable for everyone:
- Cook your grains in large batches 1 day per week! I know I have mentioned this a lot in the past but it really is key! Who has time to spend 45 minutes making brown rice every single night? Batch cooking your grains will save soooo much time during the week and you won’t have to scrub that stupid pot every night either!
- Pre-clean, cut or chop your vegetables! This is also another step I like to take care of when I am batch cooking my grains for the week. I don’t actually cook the vegetables I just cut and store them in ziplock baggies for each day on the week. One knife, one cutting board, 1 mess and 1 clean up! During the week the last thing I want to do is to be picking up bell pepper seeds that get …. everywhere!
- Don’t cook your protein until the night you are going to eat it! Say what?! We don’t pre-cook our protein in my house because it is the easiest thing to take care of the night of and my husband also HATES leftover meats (weird I know). So When I get home I usually turn on the oven to 400 degrees, line my baking dish with foil, a drop of olive oil, then the chicken and seasoning and in it goes for 20 -25 minutes. The foil liner goes in the trash and I don’t have to scrub another pot! Done!
- Cooking the vegetables. While the chicken is in the oven cooking I either start to steam or sauté the vegetables that are always finished before my protein and that is how I make a standard evenings dinner with only having to clean the vegetable pot! Everyone is happy and the damage done to my evening and kitchen is minimal!
Now for the main event… my burrito bowl bar!
- 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced
- 1/2 onion, sliced*
- 1 cup of brown rice, cooked
- 1/2 head of lettuce. chopped
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of chili powder
- 1/2 tablespoon of cumin
- hot sauce
- shredded cheese
- sliced limes
- Boil 1 cup of brown rice on the stove, or precook the rice ahead of time.
- In a saute pan, add the olive oil and chicken and stir until almost cooked and add in the chili powder and cumin (more to taste if desired). Once the chicken is finished cooking, place the chicken into a bowl and set aside. Then in the same pan sauté the vegetables in a little bit of olive oil and seasonings (chili powder/cumin) as desired. While the vegetables are sautéing heat the black beans on the stove or in the microwave (if you are short on time). Drain the black beans when they are done and pour them into a serving bowl. Remove from heat and place into a bowl to serve. Place all of the other ingredients and toppings into serving bowls and arrange on the table to serve and enjoy!
- *I used 1/2 an onion because that is what I had but feel free to use a whole one!
Prepping the vegetables with a little chili powder and a sprinkle of olive oil Chicken cooks much faster if it is cubed and smaller than the thick pieces! to cut down on dishes I cooked the chicken first and then used the same pan to sauté the vegetables right after. You can purchase precut lettuce for time saving but I find cutting your own lettuce is a lot fresher/crispier than the bagged kind! Not to mention it is also cheaper! Fresh limes are a must for mexican food! Hot sauce- even though I hate spicy food my husband loves it! Organic black beans, I heat them on the stove and drain them in the sink when they are done cooking. Group shot!
I could also see a burrito bowl bar being a huge hit at a party! Not only are burrito bowls pretty to make but you could make some skinny margaritas and go with the theme! I love a good theme party! Do you love to make burrito bowls at home?! I would love to hear your time saving tips for feeding a family or a party of two!