Sunday, April 22, 2012

Missing in Action

Hey, I've been missing everybody these past couple of weeks.  That's what being out of the kitchen will do to you.  Last Monday I had surgery and while I'm finally home from the hospital after a 5-day stay, I have a couple of weeks to recover before I can cook, do household chores and lift anything bigger than 5 pounds (that leaves out my cast-iron Dutch oven...)
With the help of some very wonderful friends and only one pizza delivery, my 16-year-old daughter has quite admirably managed in the kitchen for a whole week already.  She's quite a good cook, though she has some skills to refine.
I left her a detailed inventory of the meat in the freezer along with a "cookbook" of about 10 recipes that she could make from what was in there.  This "cookbook" came with directions for making the whole meal and having it all come out done at the same time.  I have discovered that there are two things I have neglected to include in this "cookbook":

  1. Mise en place.
  2. Defrost at breakfast what you want to eat for dinner.
She'll get there.  She is a bright and determined girl, and I have no doubt as to her ability.  Experience is the best teacher, and it's better that I'm out of the room and not hovering over her as she discovers how to get the meals on the table.
She even grilled!  (I don't do that.  And I fully intend to take advantage of her ability to do so!)
Meanwhile, I'm making a list of recipes I find that I want to try once I'm back in the kitchen.  (Cooking is the part of homemaking that I miss the most.)  I'm drooling over the Penzeys catalog that arrived yesterday and planning a field trip to their Philly store in a month or so.
And coming up--as soon as I can get it done--a product review and giveaway of a cool cooking tool from OXO Good Grips!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Burrito Bowls: a Secret Recipe Club Reveal

I'm a big fan of the Burrito Bowls at Chipotle Mexican Grill, and in the past I've enjoyed making these at home.  But these bowls rely on fresh ingredients, and you can really only get good tomatoes in the summer and early fall.  The rest of the year, the pico de gallo falls short and I shy away from making this family favorite.

Thanks to the Secret Recipe Club, I've found a way to have my Burrito Bowls any time of year.  How did that happen?  My assignment for April was The Cookaholic Wife's blog.  What a great name--I instantly relate, since I'm a cookaholic myself.  There were plenty of tempting recipes from which to choose (I still want to try the Asian Chicken Noodle Soup) but I settled on the Red Bean, Rice and Meat Burritos.  They looked like a great alternative to the Burrito Bowl recipe I'd worked out last summer.  Here's how I made them:

Burrito Bowls
Printable Recipe

2 cups rice, cooked
1/2 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 TBL homemade taco seasoning
3 TBL water
1 small onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 can petite diced tomatoes, UNdrained
1 can pink beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp chipotle chili powder
olive oil for the pan
tortillas
Cheddar-Jack blend cheese
1 lime
sour cream

After you start the rice, season the browned ground beef with the taco seasoning and water and keep warm.  Warm a little olive oil in a skillet and add onions and peppers.  Cook 5 minutes, then add tomatoes, corn, beans, chili, cumin, garlic and chipotle chili.  Continue cooking until most of the liquid has cooked off and everything is hot.
Serve in bowls or warmed tortillas.  Top with a squeeze of lime juice and a dollop of sour cream (optional).

Things I changed:  In the original recipe, the rice, vegetables, and meat were all mingled before adding them to burritos.  I doubled the rice (we like rice) and cut the meat in half.  I kept the three separate (putting all the vegetables together) to make it easier for family members to customize their own burrito or bowl.  Because I didn't mix the vegetables with the meat, I seasoned them as well.  I only had a red pepper, but red and green would be great.  I used pink beans instead of red, because that's what I had in the pantry.  I'd like to make this again using red beans, and again using black beans--I think it would be amazing with black beans.  And I added a fresh lime on the side so we could flavor the rice with a little lime juice.

Survey SAYS!  This was delicious!  It was easy to customize the meal to personal tastes and to accommodate the vegetarian in our midst.  I ate a big bowlful and was ready for more.  It's a healthy, great-tasting, easy high-protein meal.  Everyone enjoyed it and will be happy to eat it again!  Next time, I'm going to top it off with some fresh cilantro.  Best of all, this was much easier to make (and clean up) than the Chipotle-clone recipe I'd been using.  Since I love the cooking part but not the cleaning part, that was a most welcome development.

This one's a keeper!  And I'll be back to visit Nichole's blog again very soon.


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