Earlier in the week, I cooked up a big crock pot of delicious shredded chicken for my Slow Cooker Spicy Chicken Thigh Tacos. The tacos were awesome – with just the right amount of chicken to spice. The recipe made a giant pot of filling, more than we could possibly eat in one meal. Tonight I took that filling and created super quick, oh so delicious Chicken and Rice Burritos.
One bite, and I was transported back to a warm afternoon in April many, many years ago. Hubby and I once co-chaired an organization of volunteer mentors that worked with homeless families to help them get back on their feet again. The organization was called Homeless Haven, an outreach program of the largest Food Bank in our city. Quick side story – the Food Bank began during the 60s, when Father Dan noticed more and more people coming to the church in search of food. He began collecting canned goods and other donations from his parishioners, and eventually began speaking at various churches. Before long, the collection exceeded what could be housed in the basement of his church. Father Dan could talk people into just about anything. He talked a landowner into donating a large warehouse in a poor area of town, and opened up the food bank. People could come and get whatever they needed, no questions asked. From there, he convinced people to donate other things – a small fleet of trucks to drive around the city picking up donations, and homes – actual homes. By the time we crossed paths with Father Dan, he had six homes in a predominantly poor area. A screening process was put into place, and families from shelters were housed “rent free” for an entire year. Mentors worked with the families, one-on-one. We taught them how to budget, fill out job applications, how to handle themselves in interviews, navigate public transportation and so forth. They had to be families – as in with children. They had to stay drug and alcohol free, actively seeking employment or attending a training program of some sort to develop marketable skills. From the Homeless Haven experience came other service not only for the families within the program, but the surrounding neighborhood. A clothing bank that specialized in work attire for adults as well as clothing for the children, a parenting program, before and after school programs for the children with tutoring available. The tutoring grew to include music and arts programs. Although Hubby and I are no longer associated with Homeless Haven, we developed life-long friendships with fellow volunteers and I keep up with the developments within the Food Bank’s vast array of services.
Back to that April afternoon so long ago – Hubby, Dad and I once volunteered for the Christmas in April program. It was one of the most amazing, fulfilling experiences of my life. In a single day, an army of volunteers descended upon a broken home and walked away at the end of the day having re-roofed, re-wired, re-plumbed and re-floored the entire house. Basically, the house was gutted and rebuilt from top to bottom in a day. The work was physically hard but spiritually uplifting.
The matriarch of the family we were helping wanted to show her gratitude the only way she knew how. She served us lunch – and there were a lot of us to serve. Lunch consisted of a refreshing lemon punch of some sort and the most wonderful Chicken and Rice Burritos. She must have spent days cooking, rollings and wrapping these simple yet delicious burritos. They were amazing. When I told her how much I enjoyed the lunch she and her family had provided, she packed a bag of burritos for me to take home. While my burritos aren’t exactly like hers, these are the closest I’ve tasted since.
Spicy Chicken and Rice Burritos
6 Burrito Size Flour Tortillas
1 1/2 Cups Shredded Chicken Filling
6 Tablespoons Sour Cream
6 Tablespoons Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
1 Package Uncle Ben’s Quick Spanish Rice
6 Teaspoons Chopped Nacho Jalapeno Peppers
Pam or other Cooking Spray as needed
Heat griddle to 300 degrees. Spray with cooking spray. Working with 1 tortilla at a time, place on griddle, spray top with more cooking spray. Warm for about a minute, then flip spray side down and warm for about a minute. This will make the tortillas pliable and easy to roll. Place warmed tortilla on a plate. Repeat with remaining tortillas, stacking on plate, until all the tortillas are warm.
While tortillas are warming, place chicken taco filling into a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 3 minutes on high. Remove from microwave, stir and heat for an additional 3 minutes. Once chicken is warm, cover and set aside until ready to assemble burritos.
Heat Spanish Rice according to direction. Vent package and heat in microwave on high for 90 seconds. Remove and set aside.
Chop Nacho style Jalapeno Peppers. Set aside.
Working with one tortilla at a time, spread 1 tablespoon of sour cream on tortilla. Place a line of Mexican Cheese down center of burrito, about 1 tablespoon per tortilla.
Place a line of Spanish Rice along side cheese, about 2 tablespoons or so. Top rice with chicken filling, about 4 tablespoons. Sprinkle with Jalapeno Peppers.
Fold tortilla over filling, tuck in sides to create an envelope. Roll and place on griddle, seam side down. Repeat until all the burritos are on filled and placed on the griddle. Increase heat to 325 degrees. Grill until nice and golden, turn and continue to grill until golden.
Plate burritos and serve. If desired, serve with a side of Super Easy Refried Beans.