This week will be my first week back in the classroom with students since March. Back-to-school time is always super busy and tiring, but this year with the added impact from COVID-19, there’s a lot more to worry about, and prepare for.
I’m doing everything I can right now to get myself organized, so I don’t have to expend unnecessary energy on things like meals, and can focus on navigating the back-to-school-during-a-pandemic obstacle course.
Prepping these Chicken Burrito Bowls ahead of time, and having them waiting in my freezer to grab-n-go is a big help.
Cook Meat Ahead of Time
My husband had the day off on Thursday, so he used his smoker to cook a big batch of chicken breasts. This was great, because we were able to have it for dinner that night, and then we sliced the rest up and put it into the freezer.
The leftover smoked chicken breast was perfect for these Meal Prep Chicken Burrito Bowls. You could also use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, cook chicken in your Crock Pot or Instant Pot, or drizzle some chicken breasts with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and then bake in the oven.
Whichever method you choose, consider cooking extra, so you can put it in the freezer and have it on hand for other quick meals in the future.
I made another batch of my Garden Salsa with Fresh Tomatoes, specifically to use in these bowls. We are still harvesting so many tomatoes right now, that I am using them in all the things!
You can use any kind of salsa that is your favorite.
Rice & Black Beans
I went the easy route for this, and used Rice-a-Roni’s Cilantro Lime Rice from a box, and black beans from a can.
I had extra fresh cilantro and fresh limes leftover from making the salsa, so I added a bit into my boxed rice just to amp it up a bit.
You can use any kind of rice you like for this. You can make your own cilantro-lime rice using Jasmine or Basmati, which I often do. Any kind of flavored rice in a box, such as Mexican or Four Chese would also be good! Or, you can go super healthy and make brown rice or even quinoa.
For the beans, I just drained and rinsed, and seasoned them with a little fresh lime juice and some freshly ground pepper.
After I had the basics of the bowl in place–the chicken, beans and rice– I added in a few extras to jazz it up.
I put a big spoonful of my Garden Salsa with Fresh Tomatoes in the middle, some shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, and a lime wedge.
Ready for the Freezer
After filling them this to this point, I put the lids on and stacked them up in my freezer.
These Pyrex 3-cup rectangular glass containers are my favorite for work lunches and freezer meals. Some of mine were already being used in the freezer for other things, so I had to sub in a couple of plastic containers this time.
The nice thing about these burrito bowls is that I can just pull them out of the freezer as I leave for work in the morning. I store them in my work fridge, and by the time I am ready to eat lunch, they are partially thawed. Just 3-4 minutes in the microwave, and they are ready to go!
Plus, to jazz them up even a bit more, I like to quickly add in some fresh ingredients in the morning, depending on what’s available, or what we may have as leftovers. This is a great way to mix it up, so you don’t feel like you’re eating exactly the same thing over and over.
Some great fresh topping ideas:
- sour cream
- guacamole or avocado slices
- leftover corn
- sauteed pepper strips
- grilled or caramelized onions
- grilled zucchini
- tortilla chips
- fresh cilantro
- lime wedge
These Meal Prep Chicken Burrito Bowls will keep in your freezer for at least a month. Not only are they tasty, but they are good quality, real food that is more nutritious than so many other quick lunch options.
Personally, if I don’t plan ahead like this, I end up either skipping lunch altogether, or just nibbling on things at my desk like trail mix. Since I’m doing evertyhing in my power to stay healthy during this time, this is a much better lunch option.
If you have other quick and nutritious meal prep ideas for breakfast or lunch, I’d love to hear them!
Wishing you all a safe and healthy start to school,
Instant Pot Duo Nova 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Sterilizer, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker, and Warmer, 6 Quart, Easy-Seal Lid, 14 One-Touch Programs (This is the Instant Pot I have…)
This is the WiFi controller my husband uses to control the temp of his Kamado Joe smoker from his phone. He loves it! He can smoke big batches of meat like this, without being tied to home. On this day, he went on a bike ride while the chicken was smoking, and could still adjust the temp while he was gone.
This post contains affiliate links.