When I teach cooking classes, I just…go with the flow. Other than knowing the recipes and doing the pre-prep, my presentation is far from scripted or rehearsed. I interact with the group, ask questions, and tailor the message to the audience. I improvise, if you will.
As someone who HATED and FEARED public speaking in high school, I started giving presentations on a regular basis in college. It started with a speech class my first semester of freshmen year and when I started leading Weight Watchers meetings soon after, I quickly learned how to speak publicly. In no time, I was accustomed to presenting, to speaking on my toes, and in truth, had come to enjoy speaking to groups. I am by no means an excellent public speaker, but I’ve become much more relaxed, confident, and effective in delivering messages.
Last week during my cooking class on World Diabetes Day I ran into a bit of a…disaster.
I had recently learned that you can squeeze an egg in your hand as hard as you can…and it won’t break. Except, I either learned the trick wrong, remembered the trick wrong, executed the trick wrong…or just had really bad luck. Or bad eggs? Doubtful as I’d purchased them the day before.
In case you’re having trouble reading between the lines here, I cracked an egg all over myself (mostly all over my cashmere cardigan) in the middle of my cooking class. In order to try and save face, I attempted the trick a second time…and had the same result.
Note to self: don’t try any kitchen tricks in the future.
In truth, improvising in the kitchen, I’ve learned, is risky enough. Throughout the creation of my gluten-free cookbook, COUNTLESS recipes went straight into the trash. My improv skills in the kitchen are not always as effective as my improv skills in speaking to groups (the speaking, not the tricks, that is).
But, there’s always the exception. I’ve never made burritos at home. At least not that I can recall. They’re not my favorite because they tend to get soggy…and I hate soggy tortillas. But these, I baked to a soft crisp…and then smothered with my oh-so-simple enchilada-like sauce that contains all of 3 ingredients. With this particular recipe, I improved, and I got lucky with a huge winner. We ate these 2 consecutive nights and loved every last bite!
- 1 (15 oz) can no salt added tomato sauce
- 2 tsp taco seasoning
- 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup dry instant brown rice
- juice of 1 lime
- ½ cup cilantro, minced
- 6 whole wheat burrito-sized tortillas
- 1 cup part-skim pepperjack cheese, shredded
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- ½ head of lettuce, chopped
- In a crock pot, combine the tomato sauce, taco seasoning, and green chiles; stir. Add the chicken to the crock pot and turn to coat in the sauce. Turn the crock pot to low and cook 6-8 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Remove chicken from crock pot and shred between two fork; transfer to a large bowl and top with 3-4 tablespoons sauce from the crock pot. Reserve remaining sauce in the crock pot and turn crock pot to high.
- Cook the rice according to package directions. Once cooked and hot, stir in the lime juice and cilantro; keep warm.
- In each tortilla, add ⅓ cup rice and about 5 ounces of shredded chicken. Roll the burritos, folding in the sides to contain the filling. Place the burritos seam side down on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until tops begin to brown.
- Top each burrito with about ¼ cup reserved sauce from the crock pot, a few tablespoons of cheese, tomato, and lettuce. Serve immediately.
Weekly Menu: November 17th – 21st
- Sunday: Crustless Broccoli Cheddar Quiche adapted from this Leek and Cheddar Crustless Quiche
- Monday: White Wine Steamed Mussels
- Tuesday: leftovers
- Wednesday: Crock Pot Meyer Lemon Chicken with green beans
- Thursday: Greek Stuffed Peppers
Excited for a lazy day followed up with a hockey game -and- a hockey practice. 🙂