When it comes to building excitement around family dinnertime, there are few hard-and-fast rules that work like a charm every time: 1. Give everyone a choice as to what’s on their plate (without having to make a separate meal for every person!) 2. Give yourself a break and put the kids in charge.
This recipe from our Junior Chef Master Class Cookbook is easy enough for kids to make themselves, but delicious enough for every member of the family to enjoy. All the burrito elements can be prepared in advance and set into different containers on the table, ready for everyone to customize a bowl according to personal preference. Start with a bowl of seasoned rice (or even one of greens), then encourage everyone to add toppings as they see fit.
- 1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 or 3 breasts)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup long-grain white rice, such as jasmine or basmati
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Canola oil for the grill
- 3 cups steamed white or brown rice, warm
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 can (15 oz) black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 2/3 cup corn kernels
- 1/2 cup guacamole
- 1/2 cup salsa or pico de gallo
- 3/4 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Lime wedges
- PREPARE THE CHICKEN
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and place on a plate. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil and rub to coat evenly. Season all over with salt and pepper.
- COOK THE RICE
In a saucepan, bring the rice, water and 1/4 tsp. salt to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, give the rice a stir, cover, and cook, without lifting the lid, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
- GRILL THE CHICKEN
Meanwhile, prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct-heat cooking over medium heat (about 400 ̊F) or heat a stovetop grill pan over medium heat. Brush the grill grates or grill pan with canola oil. Grill the chicken, turning once, until grill marks appear on both sides, the meat is opaque throughout when cut with a knife, and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165 ̊F, about 12 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest while you prepare the bowls.
- SEASON THE RICE
To the rice, add the lime zest, 2 Tbsp. of the lime juice, and the cilantro. Fluff with a fork. Season to taste with salt. Keep warm.
- WARM THE CORN & BEANS
In a frying pan, warm the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Add the beans and remaining 1 Tbsp. lime juice to the pan and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
- ASSEMBLE THE BOWLS
Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Divide the rice among 4 bowls. Top with equal amounts of the chicken, beans, corn, guacamole, salsa, and cheese. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with lime wedges on the side.
Recipe adapted from Junior Chef Master Class (Weldon Owen, 2019)