30 Minute Thursdays: Chicken & Bean Burrito Bowls & Mexican Chunked Vegetable Salad

It’s Thursday, and you know what that means – it’s time for another 30 Minute Thursday! For those of you who missed last week’s 30 Minute Thursday (the first one on this blog), I’ll fill you in: each Thursday (ideally), I will be telling you about a recipe I made from one of the cookbooks I own, Rachael Ray’s Classic 30 Minute Meals. It’s a way for me to crack into my cookbooks that too often are forgotten about with all of the tantalizing recipes I find online, plus you get to hear about some pretty fantastic dishes – because so far, the majority of what I’ve made has been excellent.

This week, I have a Mexican-inspired meal that’s easy and really, really good. I mean, really good. I tend to make a lot of burrito/fajita type meals, so in the end this meal comprised of a Chicken & Bean Burrito Bowl and Mexican Chunked Vegetable Salad wasn’t all that spectacular simply because I’ve made variations of it so many times in the past, but I don’t want that to deter anyone from trying the recipes out. The combination is one of the more subtler ones I’ve come across in my Mexican-themed forays, but the colors are phenomenal and, true to the cookbook’s title, the meal is easy to throw together. Just be warned that there is a lot of chopping with the salad, and if you have a moment earlier in the day to get it out of the way, that’d be even better. As the title of the dish suggests, I ate mine as a “Burrito Bowl” rather than a burrito, but it’s meant to be served in some sort of bread and I’d imagine it would taste very good that way, too. The next day for lunch I added some grilled corn to the salad, which was also pretty great. Lastly, don’t tie this salad down to this meal alone, because it would be so great in so many other ways – as a dip with chips, served over grilled chicken like a pseudo-salsa…anything, really. The sky’s the limit!

Chicken & Bean Burrito Bowls, adapted from Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals
Yield: 4 servings

The Ingredients
3-4 (1-1 ½ pounds) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
hot sauce, to taste
1 tablespoon corn oil
½ medium red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
optional: romaine lettuce, shredded or chopped
                 2 tomatoes, chopped
4 tortillas

The Method
Cut the chicken into chunks or slices. Cover both sides of the chicken with the cumin, chili powder, and hot sauce and set aside while you heat a sauté pan to high. Grease lightly and cook the chicken until browned all over, roughly 8 minutes total. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

While the chicken is cooking, start to prepare the salad. Once the chicken is out of the pan, add the oil, onions, and garlic into that pan and cook until the onions have softened, roughly 5 minutes. Add in the beans and barbecue sauce, stir to incorporate, and then add in the chicken breasts and allow to heat through. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the mixture over or alongside the Mexican Chunked Vegetable Salad (recipe below) and/or in a wrap with lettuce and tomatoes.

Mexican Chunk Vegetable Salad, courtesy of Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals
Yield: 4 servings

The Ingredients
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cucumber, cut into bite sized chunks
½ medium red onion, chopped
1 medium red or green bell pepper, cut into bite sized chunks
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley
2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and black pepper, to taste

The Method
Combine all of the vegetables in a medium mixing bowl and sprinkle with the cilantro or parsley. Add in the hot sauce, lime juice, and oil, and toss well to combine. Season with salt and pepper, toss once more, and adjust seasonings to taste.

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