I’m happy to share our beautiful granddaughter was born this week! She joins her almost two year old brother ~ sweet, loving and yes, a bundle of energy ~ fun, funny and so much more. I’ll get to the recipe very soon I promise because I really do remember our pre-grandparent days. We’ve all been there – crazy card-carrying Grandparents whipping out photos (later just their phones containing the photos) of smiling grandchildren and reciting stories about them, so I’m only going to say that being a grandparent really does exceed all expectations. We care for our grandson two days a week and later this summer we’ll have his sister on board too. As much as my husband and I love a classic comfort meal ~ meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy ~ we feel so much better and have more energy when we eat smarter and a bit lighter, but we still
want need delicious because who wants to eat bland food? We want to be able to have fun with our grandkids which means especially on the days we care for them eating food that will even the playing field against them. Keeping up with a toddler (whether you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle) when you’re not at your best is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. This Mexican Bowl gives you just what you need.
I’m a fan of all Mexican food and most Mexican restaurants and yes, that includes Taco Bell’s Bean Burrito. My husband likes to say Taco Bell is still the best value around and he’s probably right. I eat it sometimes when I’m running errands at lunchtime and I’ve been known to
request demand a Taco Bell drive-through on the way home after an evening out. No further explanation needed. Though Taco Bell tastes really good, it always leaves me feeling sluggish. Mexican Bowl has all my favorite fresh Mexican flavors all in one convenient bowl ~ seasoned chicken, black beans, avocado, tomatoes and more ~ but if you feel like rolling it into a tortilla, roll on! You can also serve it with some crispy tortilla strips, but I’ll get to that later. The bottom line is eating healthy doesn’t mean compromising taste and with this Mexican Bowl I guarantee no bloated feeling afterward.
I start by marinating the chicken in olive oil and Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch. I like to give it a good couple of hours to marinate ~ overnight is even better and adds more flavor to the chicken. Another tip is giving each chicken breast a few narrow slits before adding it to the marinade so the seasonings really get right into it.
In a large skillet over medium to medium high heat, cook the chicken breasts completely, about 5-7 minutes per side. When you turn the chicken over, squeeze a wedge of lime juice over the top.
While the chicken is cooking, start getting the other components of the Mexican Bowl ready.
- Dice the avocado and drizzle some lime juice over the top.
- Chop the tomatoes.
- Chop the lettuce.
- Drain and rinse the beans.
Cook the rice according to the package directions. You can use any rice you like, but we’re huge fans of Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain Brown Rice that cooks in only 90 seconds. The taste is great and seriously, 90 seconds?
Once the rice is cooked, empty it into a bowl, add 3 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lime juice, cilantro and 2 tablespoons of the Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch seasoning and mix it together really well. Gently fold in the beans. The hot rice will warm them.
If you have little hands in the house, this is a great time to get them involved in assembling their own bowl. I start with the lettuce, adding chicken, cilantro-lime rice, tomatoes and avocado, but there’s no wrong way to do it.
- Cheese. You may have noticed I didn’t include cheese in this recipe ~ I don’t miss it, but feel free to add some of your favorite shredded.
- Plain Greek yogurt. We love plain Greek yogurt as a delicious substitute for sour cream in Mexican recipes, baked potatoes or to even lighten up those famed Cheesy Potatoes.
- Chopped bell peppers.
- Crunchy tortilla strips. Cut a tortilla into approximately 1/2″ strips using a knife or pizza cutter. Lay them on a baking sheet. Lightly spray with cooking spray and bake at 400° for about 3 minutes per side or until crisp. They add a nice little crunch to this bowl.
I’m working a salmon bowl recipe right now and will have it up very soon. Thanks for stopping by!
- 2 - boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 4 tablespoons of Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch Seasoning, divided
- 1/2 cup of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 - lime
- 2 cups of lettuce or greens of your choosing
- 1/2 cup of tomatoes, diced
- 1 - avocado, diced
- 1/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt
- 1 - package of Uncle Ben's 90 second whole grain brown rice
- 2 - tablespoons of cilantro, finely minced
- Optional: 1 flour tortilla for crispy tortilla strips (see narrative for further instructions)
- In a large ziplock bag add the olive oil and two tablespoons of Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch seasoning and blend.
- Make several shallow slits in each chicken breast and add them to the bag, moving the chicken around until coated.
- Marinate the chicken at least 2 hours or up to overnight (longer time = more flavor)
- In a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat cook the chicken breasts 5-7 minutes per side or until no longer pink inside.
- Dice the avocado. Drizzle lime juice over the top and reserve.
- Chop the lettuce and tomato.
- Cook the rice according to package directions.
- Empty the rice into a bowl.
- Add 3 tablespoons of lime juice, cilantro and 2 tablespoons of Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch seasoning and blend thoroughly.
- Gently fold the beans into the rice.
- Assemble in serving bowls beginning with the lettuce, adding chicken, rice blend, tomatoes and avocado.
- Top with a dollop of yogurt and (optional) crispy tortilla strips.
- shredded cheese (Sharp or Monterey Jack)
- red bell peppers, chopped
- crispy tortilla strips