Chicken and Bean Faux-Ritos

I have one more recipe for you this week that I made from my cookbook… I had saved this one from June’s Cooking Light Magazine (my favvv) and the only thing I had to buy was another package of chicken breasts.

The original recipe was supposed to be a Burrito that was folded and grilled in a pan to seal it and make it nice and warm and toasty.  My tortillas that I picked up were too “healthy” for it and I think the Flax seeds and multi-grain factor made the wraps crack when I tried to fold them properly.  Instead of getting all frazzled… we just ate them as a sloppy mess.  I think they may have tasted better 🙂 … but you should use Flour Tortillas if you want to make them into actual burritos as the recipe suggests.

To make the recipe go even farther and healthier, I added an entire bag of Baby Spinach to the mix.  We love doing that- it’s a really easy and delicious way to take a recipe to the next level!

Chicken and Bean Burritos Faux-Ritos

Recipe Adapted from:  Cooking Light


1lb Chicken Breast, thinly sliced and cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 Sweet Onion, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons Chili Powder

1/2 teaspoon Cumin

1/8 teaspoon Sea Salt & Black Pepper

1/2 Can Small Red Beans (calls for Black but I didn’t have any left!) rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon Garlic, minced

1 Bag Baby Spinach

2 10-inch Flour Tortillas (I used multigrain from Trader Joe’s which would NOT fold properly)

1/4 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, reduced fat

Cooking Spray

Fresh Cilantro, Hot Sauce, Salsa  (I used TJ’s Fresh Mild Salsa) & Fat Free Sour Cream


1.  Combine chopped Chicken, Onions, Chili Powder, Cumin, Salt, and Pepper in a bowl.  Mix well to combine.

2.  Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan.  Add chicken mixture and cook for 8 minutes while stirring occasionally.  Add beans and garlic- cook 2 minutes while stirring.  Add whole bag of spinach (maybe 1/2 at a time if need be), stirring to combine and wilt spinach.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Remove mixture from heat and put into a bowl.  Clean the pan and get ready to use again if you’re going to be making them into actual burritos.

3.  Put about 3/4 Cup of mixture into the center of the tortilla.  Top with hot sauce, cilantro, and cheese.  Fold the burrito (if you want… if not skip to step 5).

4.  Re-heat the pan over medium-high.  Coat both sides of the burritos with cooking spray and place in the hot pan.  Cook for 2 minutes on each side or until it is browned.  Cut in half.

5.  Top with Salsa, Hot Sauce, Cilantro, Sour Cream, or any other desired garnish.

Ready to heat up the chicken and onion mixture.

Ready to heat up the chicken and onion mixture.

Gorg!  Loving our new Fiesta dishes from my Mommom and Poppop :)  They make everything so pretty

Gorg! Loving our new Fiesta dishes from my Mommom and Poppop 🙂 They make everything so pretty

So in typical Beth fashion, I put too much hot sauce on my Faux-Rito 😦  I had just opened a bottle of Trader Joe’s Habenero Hot Sauce… and should have known better.



Beth:  How’s the new hot sauce?  Is it really hot?

Dave:  No, not at all.

Beth:  Even with it being Habenero??!

Dave:  Habenero is just the flavor, it’s really good, not too spicy.

Beth: (as I liberally shake some ontop of my entire meal) That’s weird, Habenero Peppers are usually really ——- (I take a bite) SPICY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

Typical, typical.  My mouth was burning for maybe a half hour.  Nice.

Destroyed.  MMMMMMM

Destroyed. MMMMMMM

This recipe was great for a late, rushed dinner… it was super easy to make but was a little more special than my typical Mexican Night dinners.  We had about 2 servings of filling leftover which we ate without the tortilla, so you could probably stretch this to 4 servings- or you can use the full can of beans!


You may also like these recipes:

Simple Guacamole

Simple Guacamole

Tex-Mex Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Tex-Mex Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken and Broccoli Fajitas

It’s been a while since I’ve done my go-to “when I dont feel like cooking but wanna eat something good” Fajita dinner.  Last night was one of these types of nights, getting home at 8pm (gag) and not having stopped at the grocery store.  Let’s throw everything into a big saute pan with some sauce and call it a night.

But like, how often do you find yourself doing this… whole throw it in a pot and see what happens… thing, and having it end up amazing?!  It’s not always about finding super-awesome recipes from Cooking Light or on Rachael Ray’s show, or even really pretty or creative ones on Pinterest… it’s about those random nights where you just do your own thang and it turns out AWESOME that are the best.  Like this meal, which I’ll call:

Chicken and Broccoli Fajitas

A recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook


2 Chicken Breasts

Sea Salt & Pepper

1 Tablespoon Oil (I use Sunflower Seed Oil, you can use any kind)

1 Green Bell Pepper, cut into strips

2 Jalapeno Peppers, cut into rings (seed it if you don’t like spicy!)

1 Onion, cut in half then into thin slices

1 head Fresh Broccoli, cut into smaller florets

1 bag Frontera’s Classic Fajita Skillet Sauce

1 Can Light Red Kidney Beans

Garlic Salt

1/2 Avocado

Sour Cream

Cheddar Cheese 

Wheat Tortilla (Medium Size) Soft Shells




1.  Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes until they become soft and are starting to brown.  Add the pepper and jalapenos.  Cook for another 5 minutes.  Add broccoli.  

2.  Meanwhile, spray a different pan with cooking spray, and cook the chicken on medium-high heat.  Sprinkle both sides with just a touch of salt and pepper.  

3.  When the chicken is finished cooking, cut it up into strips and add into the veggies.  Add the Fajita sauce and stir.  Cook for another few minutes over medium heat.

4.  In a separate pot, dump 1 can of beans (drained) and sprinkle some garlic salt.  (I did not measure, just do it by taste).  Heat over medium-high heat while stirring.  Test a bean and once they are hot take them off the stove and smash with a potato smasher.  They don’t have to all be mashed.  Put in a bowl on the side.

5.  Serve chicken/veggie mixture with the bean smash over warmed tortillas with Avocado, FF Sour Cream, and RF Cheddar.  Delish!


YUMMY!  I’ve been waiting to use this skillet sauce, since I got it from my Foodie Pen Pal back in May.  I really want to buy it again, it was so good.  I want to mention that while Broccoli isn’t typically found in fajitas- it was great in there.  First of all, the fresh broccoli soaked up tons of the yummy fajita sauce.  The broccoli was also great because it’s so big that it takes up a lot of room and will make you put less in your tortilla wrap!

The beans are awesome too- while they seem super simple… which they are… they taste great.  My friend Allie from taught me how to make these beans with Black Beans, which I actually had run out of.  They’re just as good with the Kidney Beans.  They were a great healthy addition to bulk up the fajita.  (I’m currently wishing we had saved more while I’m eating the leftovers for lunch!)


What kind of great things have you made up without trying?  

This fajita had a ton of green in it! Here it is sizzling in my saute pan.


Two thumbs up for this easy to use sauce.


I served the veggie/chicken mix in a big bowl so everyone could take their own.


My dish- one tortilla with the beans, veggies, chicken, a SPRINKLE of Reduced Fat Cheese, 3 slices of Avocado, and a dollop (a ‘Daisy) of Fat Free Sour Cream. MMM!






California Tortilla

I was spoiled rotten my Junior summer of Penn State when I lived a block away from Belly Buster Burrito.  Belly Buster Burrito was similar to Qdoba/Chipotle, etc… but it wasn’t a chain.  It was owned by the nicest man who was always behind the counter putting together our burritos and nachos… and most importantly- he didn’t charge extra for Guacamole.  Loved him.  Obviously.  

Besides enjoying the satisfaction of sticking it to “the man” (McDonalds) and not ordering from Chipotle, everything was better about Belly Buster Burrito.  The price, the quality of the food, the ingredients, the menu, the service, just about everything.  They even had Diet Dr. Pepper “on tap” with free refills and free wifi.  I miss this place.  

Sadly, Belly Buster closed down sometime after I graduated (:(:(:() which was a huge disappointment.  I’ve tried the chain burrito places, and none of them do it for me.  My fast-food Mexican cravings soon subsided (you’re crazy if you’re thinking TacoBell) and I finally accepted the fact that I was never again going to enjoy another Make-Your-Own burrito.  That was… until Dave discovered California Tortilla.

Cue the heavenly choir sound effect… ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

The first thing you need to know about California Tortilla is that they have a “Wall of Flame”.  Yup.  They have an entire wall of ranked hot sauces with 75+ varieties.  OMG.  How much fun?  Also, have you seen any of those new spaceship-like soda machines?  Yup, CA Tortilla has those too.  It’s so much fun!  You can pick any type of soda (and so many diet ones too) and add your own flavor.  I obviously stare at this thing for a good 5 minutes before deciding on some type of Diet Dr. Pepper- already beats Belly Buster in one category!

The “Wall of Flame” so many to choose from!

Okay so now onto the food-  they have fresh ingredients, and many of them.  They have a bunch of different options and pre-put together meal ideas that are pretty interesting.  You can get almost anything you want in a burrito, a burrito bowl (everything in a bowl, no tortilla), or a salad (everything in a bowl, no tortilla + a bed of lettuce).  Oh, and then you get to smother whatever it is you decide to get with tons of hot sauce!

Okay I gave in and got cheese on it… but it was sooooooooooo good!

The California Tortilla location that Dave and I went to is right before we get to Delaware (we go there to shop, tax free!).  Not too long ago when I took a few days off of work for some vacay, we went to my new love- CA Tortilla.  We both got whatever was on special- I know it had spicy chicken, and I know it had mango and black beans involved.  Delish.

Why the sad face when I’m eating a delicious Burrito Bowl in my new favorite fast-food Mexican spot?  I put WAY too much SPICY Jamaican Jerk Hot Sauce ALL over it!  😦  Oh well!  I learned my lesson for next time 🙂

Trader Joe’s Carne Asada

Trader Joe’s makes an amazing pre-marinated steak that I love to pick up every once in a while. It’s a great change of pace from my typical asian-flavored marinades I normally use.  This Carne Asada packs a PUNCH of Mexican flavor.  It is a bit spicy but super flavorful.  The steak is also sliced so thin that all you have to do is put it over some high heat (pan or grill) and it’ll be done in just a few minutes.

I cooked this batch up with some Parmesan Garlic French Fries and Sauteed Spinach.

For the Parmesan Garlic French Fries, I took a good ol’ bag of frozen fries my Dad keeps in the house and fried them in a pan with some Sunflower Seed Oil.  I added Minced Garlic, Sea Salt, Black Pepper, and some Smoked Paprika.  Once the fries were all crisped up, I removed them from the pan onto a wad of paper towels and shook off some of the oil.  Next, they went into a brown paper bag with a few shakes of Reduced Fat Parmesan Cheese.  I added a few shakes of Sea Salt too.  YUM.  What a great combination with the garlic and parmesan… seriously yum.

The spinach was frozen also, I just took a big hunk of it and threw it into a saucepan with maybe 1/4-1/2 Cup of water.  I let it cook over medium-high heat until all of the spinach “melted” and was stirable.  It is a pain in the ass (using frozen spinach) but you have to drain the water.  I take a colander and cover it with a few layers of paper towels, then use some paper towels for my hands and squeeze it all out.  Careful though, it can be really hot!  When serving, add a squeeze of lemon juice, a few sprays of butter spray, some salt and pepper and another shake of that Reduced Fat Parm Cheese.  That’s all you’ll need!

Deelish! Super fancy on our paper plates 🙂

Thank you, Instagram!

Foodie Penpals: May

The day is here!  I get to reveal what I received from my Foodie Penpal!

Who doesn’t love getting a package in the mail?  This is the first month I participated in the Foodie Penpal program.  It’s simple:  spend $15 on goodies for a fellow foodie, someone else will do the same for you!  It’s open for both bloggers AND readers, so if you’re interested, definitely read below!

My fabulous Foodie Penpal in May was Kristi Baldwin.  I could not wait to receive my package once I heard from her… she warned me it was Mexican themed (YUM!)  and that she makes her own salsa.  I was super excited.

The package came to my house the day I was packing to leave for the beach for Memorial Day Weekend.  Perfect.  I ripped it open and here’s what I found:

My yummy package!

Tortilla Chips
Fajita Skillet Sauce
Chile con Queso Dip
Dolfin Lavendar Chocolate

Dave wanted to pop open the jar of homemade salsa right away, but I made him wait until we got to the “shore”.  However, the Somersaults weren’t as lucky.  They were ripped open and devoured by myself and Dave almost immediately.

YUM! Love Somersaults!

I had never seen these babies before, but I’m glad Kristi introduced me to them!  They are a delicious perfect little snack.  I will have to buy some online ASAP!

Dave and I finished Kristi’s homemade salsa in one sitting.  It was so tasty.  I am dying to know what she used in it.  It had a great kick but wasn’t too spicy, and even some bites were a little sweet.  It tasted so fresh, I’d love to try to make one on my own.

Thank you, Kristi, for your awesome package!  It made my day, and I loved trying all of these new products 🙂

As for the package I sent, I got fellow blogger, Steph… who is a dairy-free Mommy of THREE adorable little girls.  She blogs @ Dairy-Free Omnivore, giving some awesome recipes, stories, and fun pictures of her and her family.  Check out her site! 

& Click HERE if you want to see what I got her!

And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.

If you’re interested in participating for June, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

The Lean Green Bean

Cinco de Mayo Corn Salsa

Ever since I started to eat tomatoes, I’ve had the urge to try to make fresh salsa.

For as long as I can remember, I wouldn’t even look at fresh salsa.  The chunks of raw tomato seriously disgusted me, and fresh salsa was just one thing I was missing out on for years and years.  With Cinco de Mayo quickly approaching and nothing to eat for dinner last night, Dave and I decided to give it a-go!

This recipe sounds like a lot of ingredients, but I promise it’s so easy and you probably have mostly everything already in your house.

Cinco de Mayo Corn Salsa

Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook
1 Can Whole Kernel Corn
1/2 Red Bell Pepper
1 Jalapeno Pepper
1 cup Grape Tomatoes
1 Avocado
1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1-2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
a few shakes of Green Tabasco Sauce
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt (or to taste) & Ground Pepper
a pinch Cayenne Pepper
1.  Finely chop all veggies except the avocado.  Place in a bowl with the garlic, parsley, vinegar, lime juice, and Tabasco sauce.  Add the sugar, a little at a time and stir everything together.
2.  Add Salt, Pepper, and Cayenne.  Again, add everything a little at a time so you don’t overdo it.
3.  Pit and slice the avocado into small hunks, then add to the bowl.  You want to add this last so it holds its cubed shape.  If you stir it too much after this point, the avocado will mush up.  It will still be delish but it won’t be as pretty.
4.  Stir lightly and serve with tortilla chips!  I recommend UTZ Baked Tortilla chips or any Corn Tortilla.

Everything chopped!

all ready to eat 🙂

Results:  OMG!  Loved it.  Both Dave and I were impressed with our ability to throw this one together… together!  He was really helpful, besides just being a wonderful taste-tester…hehe.  This was the freshest “fresh” salsa ever (it was my first ever! lol) and had great bold flavors despite it not being very spicy.  You could remove or add more jalapeno, cayenne, or hot sauce to add or remove the spiciness.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!