A Cheap, Easy, Fun Dinner: Burritos!

Chow on 01.21.12
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Photo: Emma Alter

If you have a family with lots of different likes and dislikes, then burritos are a great way to cater to everyone's tastes without feeling like a short order cook. It does take a bit of prep work, but you can get the kids to help with some of that, because it's really just chopping stuff. Then everything is laid out on the table and the whole family gets to choose exactly what they would like to put on their own burrito. The possibilities for fillings are endless, and you can tailor it to your family.

This is a great Saturday meal to cook with the kids, because it's a relaxed, simple meal that even the youngest children can get in on. Got a toddler? Give them some lettuce to rip up. Give them a fork and a half an avocado and ask them to squish it up. How fun is that? Older kids who can be given a small paring knife can help cut tomatoes and peppers, or grate some cheese. While that is happening the attending adult can be making the refried beans and browning the beef or chicken.

To serve the meal lay everything out and let each person dress their own tortilla. My husband likes hot food, so he added some hot sauce to his, but Emma and I didn't. Then fold it up, hand around lots of napkins and dig in. One of the joys of burritos is that they make a bit of a mess when you eat, and it's okay.

My daughter made burritos for us last night for dinner and this is what she put out on the table:

Large tortillas
Refried Beans
Sauteed ground beef seasoned with 1 tsp cumin and 1 tsp chili powder
Avocado, mashed with 1 tbsp lime juice and a pinch of salt
Sauteed onions, green and red bell peppers
Grated cheddar cheese
Sliced tomatoes
Basmati rice

Some other possibilities

Monterey Jack cheese
Pulled pork
Sauteed chicken
Green onions

You'll notice that I mentioned that my daughter made dinner. I sat in the living room in front of the fire place with my book and a glass of wine while she did everything. Not only she cleaned as she went, so there was almost nothing to clean up after dinner. It pays to teach your kids how to cook!

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