So, I’m thinking of starting a new series on the blog called, weeknight dinner 101. It’s something new that I’m testing out and playing around with, so I really want to get your input and see what you all think. I’m not sure how I feel about the formatting of it all. I may just link you all to the actual recipes next time rather than putting them directly into the post, and then just explain all the steps to you. This is my first draft, and first drafts may not always be the best, but you have to start somewhere and give it a shot, right? So, take a look at the post and let me know if you have any ideas, tips or feedback. If you like this type of post, then let me know, or if you don’t, then I want to know that as well. This blog is for you, my readers, so your input is greatly appreciated! Thanks peeps! 🙂
This weeknight dinner 101 idea came to me last week as I was making up one of my staple weeknight dinners, burritos and a mixed green salad. I thought why not explain to my readers what steps I go through to make this simple dinner, as well as provide them with a grocery list, just to make it that much easier. You see I’m really thinking about you guys all of the time. I want to make your life easier in the kitchen and get you all cooking more.
This is also a great dinner that the family can pitch in and make together. Have one of your kid’s make the guacamole and another one make the salad dressing. I found that kids that cook with their parents and are part of the dinner making process, are less picky when it comes to meal time, and are willing to try new things.
I see a lot of you out and about and you’re all asking for the same thing, easy, simple, family approved weeknight dinners that can be made and on the table in an hour or less. So today I’m serving up and easy meatless Monday dinner, brown rice burritos with a simple mixed green salad, and today is the perfect day to post it, as it’s Taco Tuesday. By the way, you can also substitute any kind of salad, I often make up my kale salad ahead of time and serve it up alongside these burritos.
Burritos are one of my go-to dinners when I can’t think of anything creative to whip up and need something quick, easy and kids approved. I love burritos because their portable, and something the kids can grab and eat in-between weeknight activities. I always have most of the fixings on hand like; brown rice, chicken broth, cheese, black beans, red onion, mixed greens and cilantro, (these are staples in my house) so all I have to do is pick up a batch of fresh tortillas and the fixings for guacamole, but if you’re pressed for time, you can also pick up store-bought guacamole.
I wasn’t quite sure how to format this whole post, so what I decided to do is start by giving you all a printable grocery list for all of the dinner components. I’ve organized the grocery list by section, so produce is all together as well as the pantry items. Some of the items listed you may already have in your pantry, (garlic, olive oil, coconut oil, pepper, sea salt and Dijon mustard) but I wanted to give you the full list anyway, just to be on the safe side. Once you have a fully stocked pantry, you will only need to run out and grab the fresh ingredients, like the items for guacamole and the salad greens.
Grocery list for burritos and mixed green salad
- 1 large bunch of cilantro
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1 lime
- 2 lemons
- small red onion, or ½ regular sized red onion
- 1 container of mixed greens
- 1 cup brown rice
- 2 cups chicken or veggie broth, stock or water
- coarse sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 15-ounce can of black or pinto beans – I love Eden Organic Black beans, as they have BPA free cans
- shredded Monterey jack and cheddar cheese combination
- burrito size whole-grain or flour tortillas
So, the first thing you want to get started on is the rice, as it takes exactly 1 hour exactly to cook in the oven and about 5 minutes to prep before it goes into the oven.
Note: If you’re pressed for time, you can make up the rice ahead of time and just re-heat it. You can re-heat it by steaming it in a covered saucepan with a bit of water. Just put a tablespoon or two of water in a saucepan, add the rice, give it a stir, cover it and let it steam over low heat. Keep stirring the rice occasionally until it’s warm and heated through.
For more recipe details and step-by-step photos, you can click on each recipe’s title, and it will link you over to the full recipe post.
- 1 cup short or medium grain brown rice, sorted and rinsed
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, broth or water – I usually use either chicken stock or broth
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
- Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Bring the stock/broth/water to a boil in a small saucepan.
- Place rice on the bottom of the baking dish, making sure to make it level. Top the rice with the sea salt and coconut oil.
- When the stock comes to a boil, pour it over the rice.
- Quickly cover the baking dish tightly with a layer of parchment paper and then aluminum foil. Make sure that it’s a tight fit, as you want the rice to steam, and if it’s not tight then the stock will evaporate.
- Bake the covered rice in the pre heated 375 degree oven on the middle rack for exactly 1 HOUR! Do not check the rice, just set your timer for 1 hour and walk away. Pull the rice out of the oven, remove the parchment and foil, fluff the rice up with a fork and serve it up! The rice will cook up perfectly if you followed the above instructions. I’ve done this method 20 times and my rice cooks up perfectly every time! That’s why I LOVE it so much!
While the rice is cooking in the oven, you can make up the black beans, guacamole, the salad and dressing. Let’s start off by making the beans, as they will need to cook for a bit.
If the beans finish up before the rice is finished, just keep them on the lowest heat setting and be sure to stir them every so often, you can also just turn off the heat, as they don’t need to be hot.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced or finely chopped
- 1 15-ounce can of black or pinto beans – try to get BPA free cans if you can. I love Eden Organic Black beans, as they have BPA free cans
- 4-6 sprigs of cilantro
- hefty pinch or two of coarse sea salt
- Heat olive oil in a small heavy bottomed pan set over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring until just fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. You don’t want to brown or burn the garlic, so keep an eye on it.
- Add the entire can of black beans, (including the liquid) cilantro sprigs and a hefty pinch of coarse sea salt.
- Turn up the heat to high and bring the beans to a boil.
- Once the beans have come to a boil (this will happen pretty quickly) turn down the heat to low/simmer and simmer the beans until they have lost their tin can flavor and thicken up in consistency, about 15-20 minutes.
- Taste the beans, and add some salt to taste. I always add a bit more salt, but I use unrefined coarse sea salt, so it’s not your typical super salty salt!
- Remove the cilantro sprigs before serving.
While the beans are simmering, let’s make up the guacamole. The guacamole seriously takes 10 minutes to make. The guacamole can be made up ahead of time, but it’s always better fresh in my opinion.
- 2 ripe avocados
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- ¾ cup red onion (approx ½ of a red onion), finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
- Cut avocados in half lengthwise (around the pit) and give them a twist to pull them apart. Remove pit by firmly striking it with a chefs knife so it lodges into the pit, then gently give the pit a twist to dislodge it and lift it out. The pit will be slimy, so the best way to remove it from the knife is to grasp it with a paper towel and gently pull if off the knife.
- Using a pairing knife, score the avocado crosswise and lengthwise, creating ½-inch cubes. Then using spoon, scoop out the diced flesh from the skin and place it into a bowl.
- Add the lime juice, cilantro, red onion and sea salt.
- Using a fork, gently mash and toss all of the ingredients together until the guacamole is well blended, but still chunky.
- Give the guacamole a taste and add in more salt, lime juice, cilantro or red onion if desired. Give the guacamole a taste and add in more salt, lime juice, cilantro or red onion if desired. I always add a touch more sea salt, as we like our salt.
Now that we’ve made the guacamole, let’s whip up the salad dressing and toss the salad.
Note: You can also make up the dressing ahead of time, like the day before, and store it in the refrigerator. Just be sure to give it a good whisk to emulsify before using.
Mixed greens with simple mustard vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper – we love pepper in our salad, so I used a bit more than ¼ teaspoon
- ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil
- optional – pinch of red pepper flakes
- mixed greens – the amount you use will depend on the crowd you’re serving
- In a small bowl or small glass jar with a lid, whisk together the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, sea salt, freshly ground pepper and red pepper flakes if using.
- Slowly add in the olive oil, whisking until emulsified. Once the dressing is mixed, give it a taste and adjust the seasonings. Tasting tip: For the most accurate idea of what the dressing will taste like on your salad, dip a leaf into the dressing, shake off the excess, and give it a try.
- Add the bunch of mixed greens into a large salad bowl, lightly drizzle vinaigrette over the greens and toss gently to combine.
Now it’s time for the fun part, putting together the burritos! I always heat up my tortilla and melt my cheese. I mean who wants to eat a burrito with cold unmelted cheese in it, not me!
You can heat up your tortilla and melt your cheese anyway you wish. I’m giving you three methods to choose from below!
This first method is the one that I use all of the time, as I’m trying to get away from using the microwave. Preheat the broiler in your oven. Get out a large baking sheet and line it with parchment paper (remember what I said about the dangers of aluminum foil and aluminum baking sheets). Place a tortilla or two on the parchment paper. Add to one half of each tortilla the shredded cheese, and place the baking sheet on the middle rack in your oven under the broiler until the cheese melts a bit. You don’t want to place the oven rack too close to your broiler, or the tortilla will crisp up and be hard to roll.
The second method is to melt your cheese via a skillet. Get out a tortilla and place it in a dry skillet over medium heat. Add to one half of the tortilla the shredded cheese. Flip the other half over like you’re making a quesadilla, and let the cheese melt.
The third way is melting the cheese via the microwave. Place the cheese on half of the tortilla and melt it in the microwave.
Once the cheese is melted, pile on the fixings! Top the melted cheese with some brown rice, black beans, a bit of guacamole and a few cilantro leaves. Roll up your burrito and dig in!
You can move to the bottom of the post and see my instagram video on “how to roll a burrito” if you’re not sure how to roll a burrito!
If your kids are not fans of guacamole, then top the cheese with just the rice and black beans.
If I have leftover roasted sweet potatoes, I love tossing a few into my burrito.
You can also skip the burritos and make brown rice bowls, you might have to double up the brown rice recipe though.
You can add to these burritos whatever your heart desires, add in some fresh tomato salsa, roasted chicken, grilled steak or any roasted vegetable. Rice, beans and cheese are just the base fixings, but work great on their own.
I’m inserting a video that I made for my Instagram account to show you all how to roll a burrito. I served hot lunch at Zoe’s school years ago, and worked on burrito day where we had to hand roll 400 burritos a day, so I sort of became a burrito rolling expert. I figured there may be one or two of you that didn’t know how to roll up a burrito, so here you go.