Sunday, January 1, 2012

The First Miracle of 2012: My Kids Liked Dinner!

I am a huge believer in cooking with fresh ingredients, and I try to avoid shortcuts that diminish the flavor or freshness of a recipe. Tonight, on our first dinner of 2012, I decided to try two new recipes that I discovered on Pinterest, which is my favorite spot on the Internet. I think it is also important to include your children in the cooking process because it makes them more likely to at least try what they helped cook. Tonight, we had Beef and Bean Chimichangas and a modified version of Deconstructed Guacomole Salad. Links will be provided to the recipes at the end of the post.

I put Avery, my seven year old (she turned seven yesterday!), on the time consuming task of taking cilantro leaves off the stems. Our family loves cilantro, but it is a flavor that not all people enjoy. It could easily be left out of the dishes I made tonight. If you would like to read a fascinating article about why some people hate cilantro, click here. My husband shared this article from the New York Times with me a few months ago. Avery happily took the leaves off an entire bunch of cilantro, which actually took a lot of time, but allowed me to have great conversation with her!

Here is a picture of the bean and beef mixture that you make for the chimichangas. You use a lot of fresh spices, instead of a packet of taco seasoning. If you want to save time, you could probably use a packet of taco seasoning....but no guarantees that it will taste as amazing!

You spray nonstick cooking spray in a skillet. Then you roll the bean and beef mixture with cheese into flour tortillas that have been heated in the microwave for 20 seconds. Traditional chimichangas in restaurants are deep fried. This is a healthier alternative, and tastes just as good. I did grate a block of sharp cheddar for the cheese. Grating cheddar yourself makes a huge difference in how the cheese tastes and how it melts. However, obviously, it would be a time saver to just buy pre-shredded cheese.

I do not have a recipe for this rice because I totally winged it! My kids LOVE the cilantro rice at Chipotle and Qdoba, so I kind of guessed what was in it, since we have eaten it so many times. I made regular rice, then added a small amount of seasoned salt, lime juice out of a fresh lime, and a generous handful of cilantro. The girls went bonkers over this rice! Avery asked me how I managed to make Qdoba rice!

I really wanted to make the recipe for Deconstructed Guacomole Salad as it is written in the link below, but our grocery didn't have any avocados. I made my own modified version. I made the dressing exactly as it is written on the link. I included chopped romaine lettuce, which is not in the recipe. I also used premade guacomole, since there were no avocados available. I would definitely make this again, only do it the way it was written. My husband and I loved the flavor of the homeade dressing, which was so easy to make. I love making homeade dressings. They taste so much fresher than bottled dressings.

This is what it all looked like plated up. Your kiddos may not be fans of cilantro lime rice or the salad, but they may just love the simple yummy flavor of these chimichangas. My kids have become very, very picky recently. I never jinx myself and say, "You guys will love this." I just hold my breath and wait for the reaction. I can't tell you the last time BOTH of my girls said "yum" about a meal that I cooked. I was so excited! Avery ate seconds, which also never happens.

Here are links to the recipes!

Bean and Beef Chimichangas
Deconstructed Guacomole Salad
Please note: In the salad recipe, the author refers to coriander leaves. That is the exact same thing as cilantro, as far as I can tell, based on his photographs. The author is Irish, so this may just be a more common name for cilantro in Europe.

May your new year be filled with successful dishes!


Lindsay said...

This entire meal cost $24, which is cheaper than eating in a restaurant for us, and we had a lot of leftovers.

Leslie Boruff said...

It looks amazing! I love cilantro too! My mom thinks it has a metallic taste to it. Funny how things taste differently to different people.

Anonymous said...

Looks yummy! And cilantro rice is the best. Randomly, I know that coriander is from cilantro. If you grow cilantro and let it flower the seeds are coriander or something like that. I grew cilantro this summer and it wad on the label of my seed packet.

Elizabeth said...

That looks awesome!! You should totally have a dinner party at your house;)

Amber Risk said...

I will definitely have Daniel make this for me!