Finding the time and energy to get dinner on the table is challenging enough during the week. Add picky eaters to the mix — the child who won’t eat anything green, the teenager who has gone vegetarian — and it can be a nightmare.

It’s a good reason to embrace burritos as a mainstay of your weeknight repertoire. Not only are they speedy to assemble, they also are incredibly versatile. Stuff them with greens, or not. Meat, or not. Make them as healthy (or un-) as you like.

My basic assembly starts with a flour tortilla, which can be had in whole wheat, white, even low-carb varieties.

For the filling, I like to use a can of refried beans (available in traditional, spicy, vegetarian and fat-free varieties) as my base. I then add ready-serve rice (heat-and-eat variety), a bit of salsa and whatever else moves me.

If you have leftover cooked chicken, that’s a great option. If not, deli sliced chicken breast is an easy alternative. For vegetarians, roasted vegetables, fresh baby spinach or steamed green beans are fine choices.

A bit of shredded cheese (low-fat, if you like) completes the package. And to make life easy, the cook can just heat the stove, set out the ingredients and let people assemble their own burritos.


Start to finish: 40 minutes (10 minutes active)

Servings: 4

15-ounce can low-fat refried beans

81/2-ounce package heat-and-serve brown rice

11/2 cups shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, divided

3/4 cup salsa, divided

4 large flour tortillas

8 deli slices chicken breast

Sour cream, for serving (optional)

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced

1 large tomato, cut into wedges

Heat the oven to 400. Lightly spritz a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix together the refried beans, rice, 1 cup of the cheese and 1/4 cup of the salsa.

Arrange the tortillas flat on the counter. Arrange 2 slices of chicken over each tortilla. Spread a quarter of the bean and cheese mixture in an even layer over each. Roll up each tortilla, tucking in the ends as you go.

Place the burritos on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the burritos, then bake, uncovered, for another 8 to 10 minutes.

To serve, top each burrito with a bit of the remaining salsa and a dollop of sour cream, if desired. Accompany with slices of avocado and tomato.


Nutrition information per serving: 798 calories; 245 calories from fat; 27 g fat (11 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 51 mg cholesterol; 104 g carbohydrate; 33 g protein; 16 gm fiber; 1,523 mg sodium.


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