About Me

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Born and raised in Southern Indiana, this Hoosier transplanted herself to the Windy City after graduate school. Her passion is teaching, with writing come a close second and gaining momentum. She currently teaches College of DuPage as an adjunct professor in the physical education department and runs a martial arts studio in Naperville, IL. She holds the rank of 3rd Dan in the United States Hapkido Federation.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Love Chipotle? So Do I, Just Not Their High Prices

I absolutely love Chipotle burritos. While still calorie bombs, they are at least a bit more healthy than Mickey D's Big Macs with lower fat and sodium contents - well, based on what you put in them.

When I treat myself, it's the shredded pork burrito with the white cilanto-lime rice, mild garden salsa, sour cream, cheese and yes, I do spend the extra $2 for guac. I realized one day that I could probably make my own burrito for less, much less, so I thought I'd try. I found some recipes on-line, tweaked them over a couple of tries at it and came up with the perfect shredded pork burrio at a cost per burrito that Chipotle can't touch.

First, the grocery list (prices are rounded and based on suburbs of Chicago; your price will probably be less):

3-4 lb pork loin roast - $10
1 lb. basmati rice - $3 (you will only need about 1/4 of the bag per recipe)
12 oz sour cream - $1
12 oz. cheddar-jack shredded cheese - $2
1 pint garden salsa - $2 (I get the pre-made, you can certainly make your own for about the same cost)
1 pkg flour tortillas - $1
1 bottle lime juice - $1
1 bunch cilantro - $1
1 jalapeno - $1
1 red onion - $1 (only need about 1/4 of it)
3 avocados - $3
16 oz. chicken broth - $1
1 gal orange juice - $3 (only need about a cup, but I know I'll drink what's left)

You will also need a variety of spices which if you're a cook, you probably already have on hand. If I had to guess, the spices would add up to about $0.50, so pretty negligble when considering recipe cost:

garlic powder
bay leaves

Total cost - about $30. This recipe makes approximately 10-12 burritos depending on how full you stuff them, so making the burritos at home costs less than $3 a burrito (and you will have rice and OJ left over, so the cost per burrito is even less). One burrito with guac at Chipotle is $9. You do the math.

The recipes are really, really easy and prep time is less than 30 minutes. Cooking time, well, to do it correctly, needs about 9 hours. The pork is slow-cooked, but again, toss everything together in the morning and you have burritos for dinner.

First, the pork:

Combine the spices listed above sans the bay leaves. Coat the pork with the rub. You'll need between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoon of each spice, depending on the size of your roast.

Put 2-3 bay leaves at the bottom of a slow cooker and add the rubbed pork. Carefully poor 16 oz. (2 cups) of chicken broth into the slow cooker, trying to not rinse the rub off the pork. Add 1 cup of orange juice. Cook on low for 9 hours, until the pork falls apart.

Be sure to retrieve and discard the bay leaves!

The rice:

At hour 8 of the pork cooking, start the rice. Melt one tablespoon of butter (or use canola oil, but the butter tastes better) in a sauce pan with a lid. Saute on high 1 cup of the rice in the butter for five minutes. Add two cups hot water, stir and cover. Cook on low for 15-20 minutes, until the water has been completely absorbed. Turn off heat, let rice sit with lid on for 30 minutes. Do NOT open the lid.

After 30 minutes, add 2 tablespoons of lime juice and kosher salt (to your taste) and about 1/4-cup chopped cilantro to the rice. Stir well and put lid back on.

The guac:

After the rice is ready, mince about 1/4 of the red onion. Take out the seeds and ribs of the jalapeno and mince. If you're not into jalapenos like me, only use 1/2 of it. Extracate the flesh of the 3 avacados and chop coarsely. Put everything in to a mixing bowl, add salt to taste and if you want, some lemon juice (adds a little more flavor and helps the guac from turning brown) and a little bit of lime juice (again, the salt and lemon/lime juices should be to taste). Mash away. I like mind a little more lumpy than usual, so again, do smash to your liking.

Now you're ready to assemble. Pull out the flour tortillas, sour cream, shredded cheese and garden salsa and have at it. I personally stuff it so full you have to eat it with a fork, but you fill it to your heart's content. You of course can add different salsas, lettuce, beans, but that will add a little to the cost, but still, no where near the $9 you'd spend at Chipotle. It is SO worth it as you can add/subtract ingredients to your own taste. Plus, this being in your own home, enjoy with a margarita!

And believe me, it tastes even better the next day after the flavors have had a day to meld.

If you like this recipe, leave me a comment. If you want more recipes, let me know - I've got quite a few classics with my own touch added.

Beat The Heat Blog Hop - Damn it's hot out there!

Okay, I do live in Chicago and we're used to weird weather (Tornadoes in February? Snow in May? Heat wave in December? Yep, we got it all.) But this year has taken the cake. Polar Vortex (windchills -50 degreee F) this winter, spring didn't come until May, no summer until the last two weeks of August (and counting - seems summer wants to take over September according to the long-range forecast. What's a girl to do in regards to her wardrobe? I never put away the sweaters and long-sleeve shirts, so my closet is overflowing now with all my clothes. I've reached the point that tank tops can be worn for Christmas and sweaters can be worn for Memorial Day. I'm not digging this weather. 

One way to beat the heat or to escape the cold, depending on the day ... hell, depending on the hour ... is to curl up on the couch with a good book. What is that you ask? Do I have any recommendations? Well, of course I do! How about a free read? It's a little short story I wrote years ago and was originally published by XoXo Publishing. Unfortunately they closed their doors, so I'm offering it as a free read and hope you'll come back in a couple of weeks to check out the sequel. 

Without further ado, click here for link to Smashwords for the free read of Twenty-Four Hours, the first story in The Guardians Series. Then be sure to hop on to the next author in the tour for another chance at the raffle and for more book recommendations. Then don't forget, the second story, Michael's Journey, will be available September 9th.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway