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Posted on Sep 27, 2011 in Food | 35 comments


Okay, first things first: thank you all so much for your waywayway too kind comments on yesterday’s post about the Navy 5 miler. Not only am I proud of myself for finishing, but you guys make me feel like Wonder Woman! Even though we all know it wasn’t the best race ever (um, I think I’ll try actually training next time.) Best. Readers. Ever. πŸ™‚

So unfortunately, last night I had plans to meet up with some old friends for, you guessed it, sushi that didn’t end up happening. My dinner plans may have fallen through, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t do up something grand(Γ©). It wasn’t long before our cucina was hustling and bustling with alimento mexicano!


Taylor suggested we make homemade Chipotle for dins, and I couldn’t say “sΓ­” fast enough! I looooove me some Chipots, but I certainly don’t love dropping $8 per bowl (when did they make the switch from calling them burrito “bols” to “bowls”, by the way?) We got to save some dinero and ensure some clean, lower-sodium eating in one fell swoop! (How are you liking the remnants of my 8th grade Spanish peeking out here? De nada.)

More kitchen therapy for me! Mince, chop, slice!

Now, we’re no homemade Chipotle n00bs here, but our recipe is definitely still a work in progress. We get closer and closer every time we make it though! The only thing that I think we’re still unable to get a close match on is the chicken.


Not that our chicken isn’t mighty tasty, but it’s just not quite the same. We’ve been seasoning it with a chile powder blend + ground chipotle pepper. Anybody know the secret? Maybe a wet marinade?


I guess for now we’ll just have to keep taste-testing. Hey, it’s a hard job, but somebody’s got to do it!


One thing I do think we have down pat is the corn salsa. Muy delicioso. Who says salsa needs tomatoes?

Corn Salsa: Step 1Corn Salsa: Step 2Corn Salsa: Step 3
Onion, jalapeΓ±o, corn, cilantro, salt, pepper, and just a squeeeeze of lime!

Making this kind of dinner at home can be time consuming, just because it has so many components. But if you have the time to commit, it’s totally worth it!


Variety is the spice of life, after all.


All together now:

Me Gusta

In total, and from the bottom up, we have: cilantro-lime rice, black beans, peppers & onions, chicken, plain nonfat greek yogurt (a healthy, lower-cal sour cream substitution), corn salsa, and a pinch o’ cheese.

Burrito Bol



Gretchen tested…

Thumbs up!

… and brother approved! Te gusta. Er, gusto? Okay, okay, I give up.

Let’s instead focus on the slightly disturbing fact that Ben and I essentially have the same haircut right now. Awk.

What’s your favorite at-home restaurant re-creation? You’d think that homemade sushi would top my list, but unfortunately the level of difficulty (I mean, if you think this was time consuming…) doesn’t exactly make it a feasible go-to. So homemade burrito bowls are definitely my #1, followed closely by home-baked pizza. Trader Joe’s ready-to-go pizza doughs just make it so easy!


  1. My favourite restaurant recipe to recreate at home is a boneless stuffed duck. It literally takes me all day to make, mostly because I have to debone the duck without tearing the skin. Some think it’s gross, I look at it like a challenge! You then proceed to stuff it with onions, goat cheese, spinach, and maybe a few cranberries if you want a fruitier one, slow cook in the oven for a couple of hours, then BAM! delicious duck you can just slice through, filled with goodness.

    By the way, I might be biased here, but you rock the haircut better than Ben. :p

    • Wowwwwww. That sounds uhhhhhmazing! But yes, it also sounds like a lot of work! Have you ever tried getting a pre-deboned duck from a butcher? They usually will follow whatever instructions you give them too!

      • I guess I could ask that of the butcher… but I do get a certain amount of accomplishment when I succeed at this most challenging task. Some people think it’s gross and would rather skip that step. I like knowing/bragging that I did it from start to end. Call me vain!

        • That is TOTALLY a bragworthy accomplishment! If I knew how do to it, I would be too!!

  2. I think your haircut is much more defined than Ben’s. It looks like you did it on purpose. I hold any further comments on Ben, noble photographer at my sister’s wedding. HI!!

    Yum. You may or may not know this, but due to my Mom’s time in Iran, anytime we have rice at Casa W., we have yogurt.

    My cousins make sushi every year the night before Thanksgiving. They also made it for my sister’s wedding shower. I think they took classes. Right now I’m so worried about the whole soy factor, I am making almost everything at home so your blog is a great inspiration.


    • Mmmm, pre-Thanksgiving sushi sounds like a tradition I need to institute!! πŸ˜€

  3. Your dinner looks great! I am too lazy to do all the fixin’s like cilantro-lime rice and corn salsa. I, too, enjoy making homemade pizza with TJ’s dough. I also have heard from my hubby that my sesame chicken is quite tasty (and SO much healthier than Chinese delivery). Probably risotto is the other “fancy” (yet so-ridiculously-easy-i-don’t-know-why-more-people-don’t-do-it) make at home dish.
    Now i’m hungry.

    • You make a good point about risotto! It really isn’t that hard, but is so, so impressive. However, what with either mascarpone or heavy cream or both, maybe it’s a good thing that more people don’t know how to make it, haha. I should do some experimentation there…

      • We do tend to put a dollop of heavy cream but we’ve made it without any dairy before (with white wine) and it’s also muy delicioso so you CAN make it healthified πŸ™‚

    • Oooh – Jen will you please share your Sesame Chicken recipe? That was my favorite Chinese dish, but I haven’t eaten it in years (as I only eat local/humane meat). I would love to make it at home! πŸ™‚


      • http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/perfect-sesame-chicken/detail.aspx

        This is the allrecipe that I use- my modifications:
        red wine vinegar in lieu of sherry
        regular soy sauce in lieu of dark
        half the sugar (i also tend to use splenda instead of white sugar)
        2 cloves of garlic (i like more garlic taste)
        and I usually use a cup of canola oil for frying (vs a quart of olive oil) in a sauce pan

        I promise it’s super easy!

  4. Yum homemade Chipotle! I recreate Gen Tso’s at home by using Trader Joe’s sauce, skinless chicken breast and a veggie stir-fry. Not quite the same but very tasty!

    I can also make a mean chicken parm thanks to Cooking Light. It takes forever but it so yummy!

    • Ooooh, yum! I’ve always wanted to try the General Tso’s sauce from TJ’s, but I never get it. Looks like it’s time!

  5. Nice use of Spanglish to go with our usual Chinglish! Nice job. You can make that for us anytime!! (And I have no objection to pre-turkey sushi.)

    • Yay! New family traditions!! πŸ˜€

  6. Your recipe looks great! My favorite at home creation I call salmon crackers. I found them at a fancy wine bar and they were delicious, but SO expensive. They are simple…I mix dill, garlic and onion into laughing cow cheese, spread that on Carr’s water crackers (or the store brand). And smoked salmon, capers and chopped red onion and then sprinkle with more dill. Fabulous!

    And congrats on your 5 miler!! Awesome!

    • Those crackers sound awesome – you know I love my smoked salmon!! They sound like a great party appetizer!

      • I love smoked salmon too…you must try them…they are delicious. They are a great party appetizer, except they don’t sit well for long since the crackers will get less crispy. Luckily they are so good they usually go fast!

  7. Yum – that all looks delish. It’s not likely that I would take the time to do all of that prep work for that, but bravo! Chipotle is my weeknight I-don’t-feel-like-cooking-dinner-tonight-can-we-just-get-takeout? choice. I’d hate to give up that “out”. πŸ˜‰ It’s really about the only take-out we get without me putting up a fuss.
    But you can come make it FOR me, anytime!! πŸ™‚


    • Hahaha, it can be a bit heavy on the prep work for all the different things, but it’s fun to make if you have other people helping you in the kitchen! It’s not like making it at home prevents me from getting it at actual Chipotle either, haha… more frequently than I should, probably. πŸ˜›

  8. Congrats on the 5-miler! I’m signed up for the Hot Chocolate race in December. Are you going? On a different note, I may or may not imagine you eating a whole Chipotle bowl with your “Rawr! Yummy Food!” face. (Does that face have a name? I totally make it too!) Even though making all the stuff is time consuming the first night, leftovers are really easy to assemble again, if you have any.

    • Bahahaha, well your imagination is pretty spot on. I can’t help it, food is GOOD. πŸ˜€ I agree with your point on this making easy leftovers… although I wouldn’t really know, considering my bottomless-pit brother pretty much covers all of that before I get the chance! Haha

  9. These photos are beautiful and I want to eat this for dinner – even though we had fajitas last night! We do a marinade for 20 minutes on our chicken before grilling/skillet-frying it up: lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt/pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne. It is really delicious.

    • Mmmm, that marinade sounds great. You don’t find that the lemon juice affects the chicken by cooking it too much beforehand or anything? That’s always my fear with using lemon juice to marinade meats. But I definitely think that a wet marinade versus just a spice rub is the way to go to get more of that tried-and-true flavor… Chipotle chicken is always so juicy!

      • You are right about that — can’t marinade with lemon juice for more than 45 minutes max with chicken, and much shorter with fish. But 20-30 minutes here and you are good to go.

  10. HI Gretchen. Wow…for a “plan b” dinner, that looks AMAZING!!!! I’m late to the party to add “yay on the 5-miler”! Have a great Tuesday.

    • Thanks Roz! And yeah, lucky for me that my brother and his girlfriend already had all the supplies in the house, because it might not have been sushi but it certainly hit the spot!

  11. myfriends and I were just saying I delicious this looks!
    And I just tried trader joes pizza dough for the first time yesterday. I wanted to eat the whole thing!

    • The herbed pizza dough is WHERE IT’S AT. I want a pizza stone soooo bad.

  12. Yum!!! That looks super tasty!

  13. Chipotle has a specific adobo marinade that they put on the chicken and let marinate overnight (it’s on the steak too, but they use the same amount of marinade for half as much steak, which is why the steak is spicier).

    I used to be a Chipotle manager. πŸ™‚

    • I knew it had something to do with marinading! The experimentation shall continue! πŸ˜€

  14. Hi, I am a new commentator (not sure if this term can be used here but whatevs!). Your blog is great πŸ™‚ I crock my chicken with the spices. It becomes super infused with flavor! Plus you can just put it in there and leave it. Also, on your 5 stages of grief post about weight loss – I have been there. I usually try and figure out where it all came from. And since I take on water like the Titanic, I usually convince myself it’s water. This helps! Yay denial!!

    • Hahahaha, “Yay denial!!” is pretty much how I live these days. πŸ˜€

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