It is always challenging to find a meal that will appeal to group of people of all ages. A game night, weekend lunch with friends, child’s birthday party or play date are all occasions that require feeding a group of both children and adults. Balancing the picky eating habits of children with the desire of adults to eat something other than pizza or chicken nuggets can be tricky.
One of my cousins, who is the mother of 4 small children under the age of five, always seems to effortlessly produce a lunch that appeals to both the children and adults. During a recent lunch-time play date at her house, she made a meal that was perfect for a mixed-age group. Â Inspired by the burrito bowls served at Chipotle, she served a burrito buffet consisting of Southwestern spiced chicken tenders, rice, corn, beans, tortillas, and lots of different toppings. This idea is so genius because it allowed the children to pick and choose just the foods that they liked from the buffet while the adults could enjoy a delicious, healthy burrito. The meal was fairly easy to prepare (even easier if you made the chicken and rice beforehand and just reheat them), healthy and had something for everyone. Not only does this meal appeal to children and adults, but it also easily accommodates different dietary needs and preferences, as people can create a meal that suits them from the ingredients provided. I told my cousin I would be stealing her idea for this blog, and the “recipe” below is more like a list of ideas to inspire your own burrito bowl fiesta!
Serves 6 adults or 8 children
Southwestern Chicken Tenders
1 Tablespoon canola oil
2 pounds chicken tenders or boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1/2 lime
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Â Once the oil is hot, add the chicken tenders.
2. Sprinkle the chili powder, cumin, salt and lime juice over the chicken and stir to coat the chicken evenly. Â Continue to cook the chicken until it is browned and cooked all the way through, about 5 minutes on each side.
Lime Cilantro Rice
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 cups long grain brown rice
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth, water, salt and lime juice to a boil. Stir in the brown rice, reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer until rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes.
2. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve warm. This rice can be made up to 2 days ahead. If made ahead, leave out the cilantro and reheat the rice in the microwave. Once the rice is hot, stir in the cilantro and serve.
Suggested toppings and Accompaniments:
Grated Monterey Jack cheese
While perusing the frozen foods aisle for corn for this recipe, I discovered a bag of mixed southwestern veggies that is perfect for this meal. This vegetable blend included corn, black beans, and bell peppers all in one convenient bag. Definitely worth looking for to save some time!