homemade chipotle chicken burrito bowl

Greetings from New York!

Since June 3rd, I’ve been spending this summer in lower Manhattan, where I’m interning from June through August at Betterment, an tech startup in the financial services industry.  Although I’ve always appreciated Boston’s cozy feel, I’ve fallen head over heels in love with the city and all of its beautiful chaos.

classic Times Square at night

Times Square at night. Obligatory first picture of New York.

The company is located at the intersection of Little Italy and Chinatown, just a few blocks northeast of Lafayette, where I’m living this summer in an NYU apartment-style dorm.  Food and souvenir vendors populate the alleyways, and I’ve taken a particular liking to this one Asian lady at the corner of Lafayette and Canal who sells strawberries for $1.50 a carton.  $1.50 a carton! 

The beautiful view from Central Park

Although I’ve yet to explore even the most basic of attractions of New York (I keep putting off going to the Met and MoMA…) I spend much of my weekends exploring Manhattan’s many restaurants, skyscrapers, shopping districts, and parks.

Liege waffles with strawberries, belgian chocolate and whipped cream from the wafles and dinges truck outside Central Park. HEAVEN.

Liege waffles with strawberries, belgian chocolate and whipped cream from the wafles and dinges truck outside Central Park. HEAVEN.

Sunset on the Brooklyn Bridge.  Such a beautiful view on my daily runs!

Sunset on the Brooklyn Bridge. Such a beautiful view on my daily runs!

On top of the world at the Empire State Building!

On top of the world at the Empire State Building! Let’s be real: I totally blasted “Empire State of Mind” in the car the afternoon I first moved in.

But anyways, to get to the real motivation behind this post: food!  Living in my own apartment-style dorm suite also means I also have access to my own kitchen, which is pretty sick.

[picture of my awesome fridge of delicious food coming soon]

Although I’ve been pretty good with cooking my own meals and eating healthy so far, the other night I ran flat out of ideas for what to make for dinner.  I had half a tomato, a quarter of an onion, a bag of rice, some leftover sliced cheese, frozen chicken breast and an avocado lying around.

For awhile, I considered ordering from Chipotle, and then it hit me: why order from Chipotle when I could just make my own?

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Homemade Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl

Ingredients: (serves 1+)

2 tablespoons guacamole – raw ingredients below
1 cup basmati rice
1 chicken breast
1 clove garlic, minced
mozzarella cheese
1/4 onion, diced
1/2 tomato, diced
2 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped
lemon/lime juice
salt and pepper
optional: tabasco sauce

Cilantro Lime Rice:  Sautee one cup of basmati long-grain rice in a saucepan in one tablespoon of oil until almost translucent.  Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes until all is cooked through.  Turn off the heat and let it “steam” covered for 15-20 more minutes, then transfer to a bowl and toss with salt, cilantro and lemon/lime juice as you please.

Grilled Chicken:  Marinate one boneless chicken breast in lemon juice and rub generously with salt, pepper, and cajun spice.  Heat up a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan, and add the minced garlic.  Transfer the chicken to the pan when the garlic is barely yellow (wait too long, and it’ll come out charred and bitter!) and flip frequently.  Remove from heat when cooked through but still tender.  Cut into thin, mouth-watering strips.

Guacamole:  Mash one medium to large avocado in a bowl with 1/2 clove garlic.  Add lemon juice and salt, and stir in half a diced tomato, a quarter diced onion and cilantro to taste.  Vegetable proportions may vary, but be careful not to let any one vegetable dominate the taste of the guacamole!  One time I added too much onion to my guac, and I ended up with onion breath for the rest of the night.  Gross. (and TMI, sorry)

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braised balsamic chicken with bacon rotini pasta

Today I surprised my family by making a full-course dinner consisting of two dishes: braised balsamic chicken  and a variation of this penne pasta with spinach and bacon.  Having still not finished the blueberry yogurt cookies and apple pie from two days ago, I thought it would be a good idea to transition into cooking “real” food (a.k.a. attempt to cook meat without hideously charring it to bits).

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As it turns out, dinner was a success!  The chicken came out perfectly juicy and the pasta light and crunchy with bacon bits.  As I was clearing away the dishes, my mom jokingly suggested that after tonight’s dinner, she might never have to cook again.  Ha!  Good one.

Braised Balsamic Chicken with Bacon Rotini Pasta

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Braised Balsamic Chicken:

Ingredients: (serves 4)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into pieces
ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tomatoes, vine or roma, diced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Season chicken breasts with ground black pepper and garlic salt.  Heat olive oil in a medium skillet, and brown the onion and seasoned chicken breasts.  Pour tomatoes and balsamic vinegar over chicken, and season with basil and thyme. Simmer until chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear, about 15 minutes.

Rotini Pasta with Bacon:

Ingredients: (serves 4)
1 (12-oz.) package of rotini pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 slices bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tomato, vine or roma, diced

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add the rotini and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water (so the noodles don’t stick) and set aside.  Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon until browned and crisp, and then add garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook until heated through.  Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl, and toss with the remaining olive oil, and the bacon and tomato mixture.