This has been a really tough month, understandably, but it’s had ups and downs. Some of the ups:

  • Had a nice off-season trip to OCMD with GG and his family to attend a hotel and restaurant convention (aka: excuse to eat and drink all the samples). We found a nice new (to me) restaurant down there, Hooked. And it was nice to just get away for a few days.
  • Went to a middle school play… The play itself was cute, but the real highlight for me was my band friend C yelling at the rude middle school boys next to us during the intermission, then ending with a threat, “You don’t know who I am, but I know who you are, and I’ll see you when you get to high school!”
  • Had another great event for my second side business! I’d been working with this hostess for months, and she just did not have any confidence in herself – so it made me so happy to see what a great turnout and event she had, and how that made her feel better about herself, too!
  • And of course … the new guy. I’ll have to write more about him later.

My Version of the Chili’s Fresh Mex Bowl

I few weeks ago, I had dinner at Chili’s, which I hadn’t been to in a couple years. There were a few new items on their menu in the “Fresh Mex” category, including two versions of a Fresh Mex bowl. The one I had was really good, just the right amount of food, and still felt light and healthy. So the next week, I decided to make my own version at home.

The nice thing about this recipe is that you could totally customize it. Leave something off, add something in. When I ate at the restaurant, my bowl had some sliced chicken on it, so marinate a chicken breast and add it to the recipe below. If you’d like something a little spicier, you can adjust the seasonings, or add some jalapeno or maybe chipotle in adobo. But here is the recipe for two of the bowls pictured above:

Ingredients: (these are all kind of estimates because I “cook from the heart”)

  • 2 cups brown rice (dry)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 15 oz. can of black beans
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • salt & pepper

Rice: Prepare rice in a pot with boiling water, according to its directions. When almost finished, add about 3 tsp vegetable oil, salt, 1/4 cup cilantro, juice of half a lime, and combine. Keep warm until ready to assemble.

Beans: Heat about 1 tsp of oil in a pot, add rinsed and drained beans. Sprinkle with chili powder and cumin to taste. Cook until warmed through and keep warm until ready to assemble.

Corn: Heat about 1 tsp of oil in a pan, add thawed corn. When almost fully cooked, add about 1 Tbsp lime juice, 1/8 cup cilantro, salt and pepper to taste. (This would be a good place to add some chopped jalepenos, too.) Keep warm until ready to assemble.

Sour Cream: To 1/2 cup sour cream, add 1 Tbsp lime juice, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/8 cup cilantro. Combine and keep cool until ready to assemble.

Assemble the bowl: starting with a base of rice, add beans, corn, half a sliced avocado, shredded cheese, and sour cream.