Chipotle CLONED!

22 Sep

Northern Virginians love Chipotle.  When they opened one up essentially across the street from my house (in Northern Virginia when I was in high school), my life immediately got 100% better.

I have so many great memories of eating there with my friends, and it was always where we would all meet back up and reconnect over holidays (that and Ben and Jerry’s for Vermonsters).  Plus it’s where we go at home when we’re too lazy to cook dinner.

But I haven’t been to Chipotle in ageeessss for two reasons:

1)      A chipotle burrito is the size of a newborn baby, and in my circle of friends, you don’t want to look weak by ordering anything other than a burrito, or not finishing it.  This is not attractive and I immediately regret it afterwards.
2)      The boyfriend doesn’t like Chipotle (I know!)

But with an intense craving for that sweet, sweet Chipotle, you know what we were eating tonight:

That’s right, Chi-FAUX-tle!  (okay, I’ll stop with the faux stuff now…)

The best part about homemade cooking is that you can control exactly what goes in everything.  This is great for counting calories, or for food allergies.  Also good for eating a burrito bowl without facing the judgement of your friends.  And the price?  Loads cheaper than what Chipotle will charge.  It all comes together in about 30 minutes too, so going to Chipotle would maybe be  faster, but overall a quick dinner.


Start by slicing up a chicken breast into thin, bite sized pieces (I had a 2/3 lb. chicken breast…depending on the size of your chicken, you may need two to feed two people), then squeeze the majority of the juice from one lime over that chicken and toss to coat.  Set aside while you make the seasonings.

It’s basically a homemade taco seasoning…lots of spices, but you probably have them all in your cabinet: paprika, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, ancho chili powder, and ground pepper.

Mix together and sprinkle most of it over your chicken and toss to coat.  I didn’t use all my seasoning on my chicken, I just kept sprinkling and tossing until it looked well enough coated.  But save the leftover spices for your beans.

Set that chicken aside and start your rice.  I’m sure there’s a better method to cook rice, but here’s how I do it.  Because it’s easy and I’m not especially picky: dump ½ cup rice into a saucepan with 1 cup water (2:1 water to rice ratio), then bring it to a boil and reduce to a simmer until the majority of the water has evaporated and the rice is tender.  Keep an eye on it and give it a stir when it starts to get close, to prevent burning (it’ll take 10-15 minutes)

While the rice cooks and the chicken marinates, make your salsa!  Tomatoes, onion, garlic powder, a squeeze of lime, salt, and a bit of cilantro into a food processor, and pulse until it reaches your desired consistency (you could also dice it up by hand, but who wants to do that?)

Before we continue, I need to tell you: I HATE cilantro.  I omit it from almost every recipe.  In the case of Mexican food though, especially salsa and guacamole (and, well, lime-cilantro rice), it’s SO necessary to achieving the correct flavor.  *sigh*  So I chop it VERY finely.  There’s nothing worse than biting down on a large leaf of this vile, vile herb…That being said, I bought a whole tube of it (because it was on sale for $3.50 and fresh looked wilty), so I guess I need to figure out what to do with it…

Anyway, with your salsa done, check your rice and get a pan up to medium-high heat and cook your chicken.  Be sure to season with salt.  It doesn’t take long—about 2-3 minutes per side.  Pull the fattest one when you think it’s ready and cut him open to make sure, then transfer to a bowl for serving.  Give it a squeeze of lime juice if you’ve got some left.  Mmmm.

By now, your rice should be cooked.  Remove from heat and stir in a bit of butter, salt and pepper, most of the juice of half a lime, and cilantro.  Taste this and adjust seasonings appropriately.

Once everything else is cooked and off the heat, warm up some rinsed and drained black or pinto beans and season to taste with salt and the leftover seasoning from the chicken.

This would be fantastic with avocado slices, guacamole, or corn if you’ve got it.  You could also stir everything together and eat with tortilla chips.

The verdict?  Honestly, it’s been so long since I’ve been to Chipotle, I’m not sure if this tastes like the real thing or not.  But delicious?  Oh most definitely.  This completely satisfied my craving for a burrito bowl—southwestern seasoned chicken and beans with bright cilantro lime rice and fresh salsa? The boyfriend and I both cleaned our plates tonight!


Chipotle Fake-Out
Serves 2

*I don’t like cilantro, so I went pretty light.  If you (I can’t imagine why) like cilantro, you’ll especially want to up the amounts from what I’ve indicated

1 large chicken breast, sliced into bite sized pieces
The juice from ½ a lime
Most of the following seasoning blend:
½ tsp paprika
¾ tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder (I used ancho)
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp ground pepper

Cilantro-lime rice
½ cup rice
1 cup water
Most of the juice from ½ a lime
1 tsp butter
¼-½ tsp fresh cilantro to taste
Salt to taste

1 cup grape tomatoes
¼ cup onion (red or yellow)
1 tsp lime juice (use what’s left of the lime from the rice)
¼ tsp garlic
½ tsp cilantro
¼-½ tsp salt to taste

½ cup black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
Leftover chicken seasonings and salt to taste

  • First, combine chicken and lime juice.  Set aside while you make your seasoning blend.  Sprinkle most over the chicken and toss until well coated.  Set aside.
  • Start cooking ½ cup rice in 1 cup water in a small saucepan.
  • While rice cooks and chicken marinates, combine salsa ingredients in a food processor and pulse to desired consistency.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
  • Check and stir the rice and start warming a sautee pan over medium-high heat for the chicken.  Once the rice is tender and most of the water has evaporated, remove from heat and stir in butter, cilantro, lime juice, and salt to taste
  • Sautee chicken, 2-3 minutes per side until the largest pieces are fully cooked through.  Transfer to a serving dish and finish with a squeeze of lime juice.
  • Combine beans and seasonings in a small bowl and warm in microwave.
  • Serve rice, chicken, salsa and beans with avocado, guacamole, corn, tortilla chips, etc.  and enjoy!

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