Monday Dinner: Chicken Burritos

My parents had my high school graduation party catered, which was a necessity when you plan on 200 people. Dinner was roasted chicken from Beau Quest, a now shuttered restaurant/catering company on Syracuse’s northside. As I have noted, my immediate family is a group of large eaters and large people, so naturally when placing the order, my parents figured that everyone would eat like they would. Makes sense, right?

Right?

Wrong. There is this inherited gene of excess that I’m working hard at breaking, as you will continue to read this Wednesday. We had so much chicken. I can’t quite explain how much leftover food we had. There was so much that when I came home from St. Bonaventure during my October mid-term break, we had leftover chicken. We had two freezers in our basement, typically loaded to the gills with sauce, pasta and other staples. Yeah, for months one of the freezers had pans of roasted chicken.

I tried to take this into account when cooking for The Baby’s first birthday. I don’t mind one night of leftover meat, but I have an aversion to eating the same food night after night. Sunday, I chopped up a couple of chicken breasts and tossed it into the leftovers of my the chef salad my mother-in-law brought. Monday it was burritos.

Quick and easy was the theme of Monday night. The Baby had her one-year well-child visit tonight, which meant three vaccinations and a blood draw. Yikes. The end result was a really cranky baby. So, tonight’s prep and consumption needed to be quick. The chicken was already cooked and had the double luck of being marinated it in Goya mojo criollo marinade. I used a bed of Wegmans‘ baby spinach blend for some greens, shredded Mexican cheese blend, fresh chopped cilantro from the garden, and whole wheat tortillas. For a little bit of bulk, I simmered a can of black beans in Goya sazon — literally translated, sazon means “seasoning”…basically, it is a little flavor packet that brings the full thrust of traditional Mexican flavor…chili pepper, achiote, cilantro — and water, and added those to the burrito. As you can see, I’m lousy at rolling burritos, but a quick shot in a hot oven gave us an easy leftovers dinner.

Chicken Burritos
By Jared Paventi

  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cooked
  • Handful of salad greens, preferably baby spinach
  • Two 10-inch tortillas
  • One cup shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese blend
  • One can black beans
  • One packet Sazon Goya with coriander and annatto
  • 3-4 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Heat one can of black beans with about one-third a can of water and one packet of Sazon Goya in a small saucepan. Allow to boil then add a pinch or two of cilantro. Reduce heat to simmer and let sit on the heat.
Chop your chicken into 1/4-inch cubes and set aside. It’s easier to do this with cold chicken, as you won’t burn your fingers.
Set a small handful of greens on your tortilla. Using a slotted spoon, add the desired amount of beans. Add a desired amount of chicken and sprinkle with cheese and chopped cilantro. Roll your tortilla, tucking in the ends, to close the wrap off and form a burrito.
Bake 10 minutes to melt cheese. Serve hot with chips, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, Spanish rice or whatever else you fancy. (Yeah, I said fancy. What are you going to do about it? That’s what I thought.)
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