I don’t really get the appeal of Chipotle. Maybe it was because I grew up in Southern California where you could find really great Mexican food on every corner, but I’ve never eaten anything at Chipotle and thought, “Wow, this was really good!” I’ve left full, and I suppose that is good enough.
But perhaps I’m in the minority because I know plenty of people who are obsessed with Chipotle, and consider me a Mexican food snob (which, okay, fine, I probably am). I once had a boss who ate Chipotle every single day for lunch, and more than anything, I thought about all that money spent on food I found so unsatisfying. In New York, a chicken burrito or burrito bowl with guacamole will run you $10.50, which is a pretty outrageous amount of money to pay for a lunch you think is only “okay.” I was sure I could make the same thing at home for much cheaper—and better! So I made my own Chipotle, and you guys, it was good. And easy!
It took 30 minutes to do everything, and I had enough food to feed at least four people. I got all my ingredients from Trader Joe’s because they were cheap, and I trust their meat products more than the average grocery store:
I used 1/3 of the rice I bought, 1/3 of the salsa, 1/4 of the sour cream, 1/8 of the cheese, and 1/2 of the cilantro. My calculations showed that each of my “chicken burrito bowls” would cost about $4.03 each. Not too shabby.
The first thing I did was make the cilantro-lime rice. I cooked two cups of rice in a pot, and while that was on the stove, I put a fistful of cilantro, two garlic cloves, juice from half a lime and a little bit of olive oil into a food processor (you could also mince and mix by hand). Once that was blended, I mixed the mixture into the cooked rice. That’s it! It gave the rice a really good flavor, and you could eat this by itself as a side dish.
I mixed the can of corn, the can of black beans and two diced tomatoes in a bowl. Easy.
I took the avocado and mashed it with a fork and added a little bit of lime juice so it could retain its green color.
I seared both sides of the chicken breasts in a pan on high heat with some salt and pepper and a little bit of olive oil to give it a nice brown crust, and then finished cooking it in the oven at 350 degrees for seven minutes. I then sliced the breasts on a cutting board. Two breasts should be enough for four people after it’s been diced. Chipotle is certainly not giving you a full chicken breast.
Get a plate or bowl and layer the bottom with the cilantro-lime rice. Add a second layer on top with the corn/bean/tomato mixture. Add a serving of chicken. Top with salsa, the mashed avocado, sour cream, and sprinkle with cheese. Eat. Be satisfied.
Note: I skip the tortilla because it’s made of lard and has 300 calories in it, but you can wrap all of this in one if you want. That’s what Logan did when I brought her leftovers the next day for lunch. It’s great with Cholula hot sauce.
If you have your own terrific “make your own meal for less” to share, let me know!