Posts tagged quick recipes

On-the-go burritos

Raise of hands, who has no time to cook because their kids are in choir/basketball/theatre/piano lessons/girl scouts or all of the above? Me too. What is it about this time of year that piles up one activity after another (despite my best efforts not to over-schedule)?

Now you know I love to cook, but lately I’ve been running from one kid’s activity to the next after school so that by the time I get home I don’t have much time to whip up dinner. Take my Monday: I came home after watching one child’s basketball game at 5:30pm, checked my email and found out my other’s daughter’s coach had moved up her practice by ½ hour. And could I have her there by 6pm? Yikes.

Luckily I knew I’d have a tight schedule that night (although I wasn’t thinking it would be quite THAT tight). I had put chicken breasts in the crockpot in the morning and all I needed to do was shred them, add some beans, salsa, a little cheese, roll ‘em up in a flour tortilla and I had a tasty chicken burrito. To go. I heated it then wrapped it in tinfoil and my daughter ate hers on the way to practice. (I know, I know, you’re not supposed to let your kids eat that close to exercising…) I was able to sit back and eat mine while I watched her play. Yeah, eating around the table is definitely preferred, but sometimes, it just doesn’t happen. And eating out is only exciting for a couple nights before my kids start asking for something homemade.

So if you’re looking for a quick dinner that packs well–it’s crockpot time! And don’t forget you can shred the chicken and keep it for a few days–or even freeze it. (Then again, it’s so nice to have the whole house smelling good when you get home after a long day.)

Zesty chicken burrito

Prep time: 5 minutes (or less!)

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (fresh or frozen)

1 onion,  chopped coarsely

1 clove garlic (or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder)

½ tsp. chili powder

½ tsp. ground cumin (optional)

1 poblano pepper (optional)

1 can pinto beans

About 1 cup cheese (mozzarella or Monterrey Jack work well)

About 1 cup salsa

4-6 large flour tortillas

Directions

  1. Place the chicken in the crockpot along with the onion, garlic (you don’t even need to remove the skin, just chop it in half), chili powder and 1 ½ cups water or chicken broth.
  2. Cook the chicken on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4.
  3. Once the chicken is tender, remove from the crockpot and shred using two forks.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste (and more chili powder, if desired).
  5. Drain the pinto beans.
  6. In the center of the tortilla place about ¼ cup chicken along with a couple tablespoons of beans, a handful of cheese and a tablespoon or two of salsa.
  7. Bring two opposite sides of the tortilla together.
  8. Beginning on the non-folded side, roll the tortilla.
  9. Heat for 35-45 seconds in the microwave. Wrap in aluminum foil.

Your turn–have any favorite on-the-go meals?

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Chocolate cake in 3 minutes

My mom sent me this recipe from the newspaper years ago. But I didn’t make it. The recipe was marked “dangerous chocolate mug cake.” The danger was in the ease of making a chocolate cake in 5 minutes–2 minutes for throwing together the ingredients (all right into the mug) and another 3 for baking.

There’s a couple of reasons I held out making this recipe. The first? I didn’t think it would work. I mean, mixing up a chocolate cake in a coffee mug? And even if it did work I figured it would be tasteless, or at best, grainy.

The second reason: What if it was good? Being able to put a individual-sized piece of cake together so quickly is downright dangerous for your waistline.

But that torn piece of newspaper had been nagging at me, so I decided to give it a try. Result: it’s good. I don’t know if I’m happy or disappointed about that. You really do put all the ingredients together in the order of the recipe and cook for 3 minutes to turn out a moist piece of chocolate cake. You can serve the cake in the mug or turn it out onto a plate.

I’ve now made the chocolate mug a few times (trying to keep myself from making it too often) and let me give you a few hints.

  • The cake turns out better if you mix the ingredients in the mug. When I mixed it in a separate bowl and then placed it in the mug, the top of the cake didn’t end up round, it was more flat. Plus, you can avoid cleaning up another bowl by just using the mug.
  • I’m an almond extract fan so whether you choose almond extract or vanilla you do need a bit of a flavor boost in the cake.
  • Okay, this one is a bit obvious, but I’m always anxious for a bite of cake: give it at least a couple minutes to cool before you eat it.

Recipe

Ingredients

1 regular-sized coffee cup

¼ cup flour

½ cup sugar

2 Tablespoons baking cocoa

1 egg

3 Tablespoons milk

3 Tablespoons oil

¼ teaspoon almond extract

3 Tablespoons chocolate chips

1 Tablespoon nuts (opt)

Directions

  1. Add all of the dry ingredients to the mug and stir.
  2. Add the egg and mix.
  3. Pour in the milk, oil and extract.
  4. Mix the chocolate chips and nuts (if using) into the batter.
  5. Place the mug on a small plate.
  6. Bake in the microwave for 3 minutes on high.
  7. Note: The batter will rise above the top of the mug. Not to worry, the batter shouldn’t overflow.
  8. Allow the cake to cool for a couple minutes before eating.

This is the perfect recipe to make while thumbing through a few real-life Valentine’s stories available at Parents.com. I’ve been looking through the site as part of the Motherboard team. Once a week, I’ll be posting about the exciting things not to miss on the their site, and their affiliates.

What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day sweet? As you’ve probably gathered, mine is anything with dark chocolate.

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