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Chicken & Rice Burrito Bowl

Spice up tonight’s dinner with my Chicken & Rice Burrito Bowl. This is my kid’s favorite meal because it combines layers of delicious flavor in one big bowl. It includes cheesy rice, spicy shredded cooked-to-perfection chicken, sour cream, homemade guacamole, Black Bean & Corn Salsa (recipe on my blog) mashed black beans, shredded cheddar cheese along with the crispy flour tortillas for dipping – everybody’s happy when this is served for dinner! If you are a vegetarian, skip the meat altogether, and pile on the mashed black beans, cheesy rice, and toppings – equally as good! It doesn’t get any better than this delicious and nutritious meal!

Here are the directions which may be adapted based on your time constraints.

In advance, you will want to prepare 2 whole cooked chickens. We are always pressed for time, so I use rotisserie chickens.  If you have the time to cook the chickens – be sure to add some butter under the skin and salt it generously. Always check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer, best to be safe. Then let it rest and remove the skin and pull off all white and dark meat.

Next, dice five garlic cloves. Then dice a half of a yellow onion. In a large non-stick skillet heat a few drizzles olive oil and add the garlic and onions. Add a few sprinkles of ground sea salt as well. Let this simmer on low heat until they become translucent, maybe 6-8 minutes.

Next, dice up the cooked chicken and add it to the skillet along with the garlic and onions. Add 1 can of crushed tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, 1 teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon chili powder, 1 packet of taco seasoning, 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, and 1/2 of the diced scallions (reserve some for later). Using a flat-edge spoon break up any chunks of chicken. Let this simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes. You may add in a small handful of shredded cheddar cheese toward the end of the cooking time.

While the chicken is simmering, prepare the mashed black beans. Drain a can of black beans and rinse. Add them to a small skillet along with a drizzle of olive oil. Dice 1/2 of a red onion and add it to the pan. Mash the black beans with a spoon. Add in some chopped parsley or cilantro for added flavor and a pop of color. Cook for 4-5 minutes until warm. Drizzle in some olive oil and a dash of ground sea salt. Take off the heat, so they don’t dry out.

In the meantime, prepare the rice mixture. In a small skillet toss in the remaining scallions along with some olive oil.  Open the can of corn and drain. Then add that to the skillet and let it heat up for a few minutes until it is slightly charred. This is an optional step. You may just toss the scallions, and corn into the rice without heating it, but we like the taste of charred corn.

Cook the Basmati long grain rice according to the directions on the box, or if you are pressed for time use the microwavable kind. Super easy! Once the rice is cooked (you’ll need enough for about 6-8 servings), add it to a large bowl along with the scallions, charred corn and season with sea salt and black pepper. I also add a few drizzles of olive oil to make it moist. Alternatively, mix the rice with a cheddar cheese sauce to make it rich and creamy.

To make a cheese sauce, start with a roux, add 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour into a small sauce pan and heat on low.  A roux creates a nice flavor base for any sauce. Just keep the heat on low. Then add to that 1/2 cup of warmed milk and a few handfuls of shredded cheddar cheese. Season with paprika to develop that bright orange hue along with a sprinkle of black pepper and sea salt. If the sauce appears too thick, add in more warmed milk not cold because the milk will curdle. If the sauce is still too loose, add in more cheese.  Then mix with the rice.

Taste the chicken and be sure it doesn’t need further seasoning like salt, pepper or chili powder. Taste, taste, taste – a very important step in the cooking process! Take it off the heat. You may garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro.

Next, heat the flour tortillas in the skillet about 3 minutes a side. Don’t forget to first add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan.

Be sure to get the recipe for my Black Bean and Corn Salsa  on my blog, which will bring this dish to the next level! Great for dipping some spicy tortilla chips in as well.

Now for assembling your burrito bowl.  You may serve this meal arranged on a large platter and let everyone create their own individual bowl combinations. This is a photo of my family burrito bowl served in one big tortilla bowl.  In this case, I added multiple layers of tortillas overlapping in a pie shell and sprayed with a cooking spray. Then placed a cake pan inside to flatten out the bottom. Then I baked it at 375 degrees (with a cake pan still inside) for about 12 minutes. Take the cake pan out and cook another 5 minutes until crispy and golden brown. Then load up your ingredients inside the bowl. For a pop of color and a finishing touch add some fresh chopped cilantro or parsley. Also, you may take the burrito bowl out of the pie shell and place on the platter for serving. It should hold together.

This is a great meal for the family. Everyone digs in and gathers around the bowl. Put a little salsa in your step with this delicious Mexican-inspired meal!

Fun fact: Cilantro is a pungent herb commonly found in Mexican cooking and very popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. It is also infused into many Indian dishes. It’s fun to explore other countries’ cuisine and expand your palette.

Hint: make a quick guacamole by mashing a few ripened avocados, a squeeze of lemon, diced red onion, and ground sea salt. Cover so it doesn’t brown.


Topping recommendations: light sour cream, guacamole, Black Bean & Corn Salsa (recipe and ingredients on my blog), and hot sauce

Cheese Sauce Ingredients: (optional)

This recipe is from my cookbook Mariooch’s Kitchen Food That Will Gather Your Family which is available on Amazon. My blog is where you can find other creative and healthy recipes for the family