Thomas J. Story
Full story: Buy-and-serve burrito party
Notes: At many Mexican delis, you can find great cooked filling choices like carnitas (slow-cooked pork) and carne asada (marinated beef steak). And meat sections often carry ready-to-grill marinated meats such as lomo de res (beef), puerco adovado (pork), or fajitas de pollo (chicken). If those options aren't available, look for rotisserie chickens from a supermarket deli.
1. Crumble cotija cheese and put in a bowl. Place crema and salsa in containers. Rinse lettuce, cilantro, and green onions. Finely shred enough lettuce to make about 5 cups and place in a container. Chop cilantro and thinly slice onions (including green tops); put in containers. Pit and peel avocados, thinly slice into a bowl, and mix with 2 tablespoons lime juice.
2. In a 2- to 3-quart covered pan over medium heat, stir beans often until hot (adding a little water, if needed, to refried beans), about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm. Or heat, covered, in a microwave oven at full power (100%), stirring once, until hot, 3 to 4 minutes. If using whole beans, lift beans from liquid with a slotted spoon or drain in a colander.
3. Tear cooked meat into coarse shreds or cut into thin slices. If using a whole roast chicken, pull meat off bones and shred; sliver skin and include (or discard if desired). If meat is raw, grill it, then slice into bite-size pieces. Serve warm or at room temperature. To reheat, place meat in a microwave-safe bowl, cover, and heat in microwave oven at half power (50%), stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Drizzle 1/4 cup water over a dish towel. Wrap tortillas in towel and overwrap with microwave-safe plastic wrap. Heat in a microwave oven at full power (100%) until hot and steamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and set towel-wrapped tortillas in a basket or covered casserole.
5. Arrange cheese, crema, salsa, lettuce, cilantro, onions, avocados, beans, meat, and tortillas on the table. Makes 10 servings.
Per burrito with chicken: 611 cal., 44% (270 cal.) from fat; 36 g protein; 30 g fat (12 g sat.); 53 g carbo (7.9 g fiber); 1,744 mg sodium; 134 mg chol.
Next: How to make Mexican Slaw
1. Squeeze 3 tablespoons juice from limes into a large bowl. Add vegetable oil and mix.
2. Rinse cabbage, radishes, and cilantro. Finely shred enough cabbage to make 3 quarts. Thinly slice radishes to make about 1 cup. Chop enough cilantro to make about 1/2 cup. Add cabbage, radishes, and cilantro to dressing. Mix gently. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 10 servings.
Per serving: 60 cal., 65% (39 cal.) from fat; 1.2 g protein; 4.3 g fat (0.5 g sat.); 5.4 g carbo (2.4 g fiber); 19 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
Notes: Scoop balls of ice cream onto a baking sheet and freeze for easy serving. Cut pineapple into bite-size chunks. Put pineapple, caramel sauce, coconut, and ice cream balls into bowls (see notes). Makes about 10 servings.
Per serving: 503 cal., 32% (162 cal.) from fat; 6.2 g protein; 18 g fat (12 g sat.); 85 g carbo (2.3 g fiber); 304 mg sodium; 58 mg chol.
More: Great Mexican recipes