Frugal Woman’s Taco Bell: an ‘Adult-ing’ Story

WARNING. The following is another chronicle in my newfound role as an adult.

So, today at the gym, I was on the bike doing a cardio warm-up before my upper body lifts and I started craving a cantina bowl from Taco Bell for dinner. (Apparently, some things just never get left behind in college.)

For those of you who are unfamiliar with cantina bowls, they are a ~MaGiCaL~ combination of your basic chicken, beans, rice, guacamole, tomatoes and corn mix conveniently prepared for your devourment in a bowl.

YUM.

Anyway, I realized that 1 — I was not about to drive 15 minutes just to eat dinner, and mostly importantly, 2 — I was not about to drive 15 minutes just to pay to eat dinner. I’ve acquired more expenses since college in becoming a renter and new car owner, so I’ve been trying to be mindful about money, even little stuff like grabbing drive-thru food.

It hit me during my cool down that I had almost all of the cantina bowl basics in my pantry at the apartment. None of the “luxury items” like avocados, hot sauce, tomatoes and Mexican seasonings were on hand because only the good Lord is perfect, but I did have frozen, pre-diced chicken breast, ready-to-steam brown rice, canned sweet corn and black beans.

I was officially a hungry woman on a mission. And, just wait, it gets better.

Luckily, in my flurry to stock up on kitchen essentials, I had thrown a freezer bag of ready-to-steam brown rice in a shopping cart weeks ago to help dress up future dishes. I wish you could have seen me throw some Praise Hands up in the air over the mind-blowing convenience of having rice ready in as short as three minutes.

While the rice was microwaving, I poured one can each of sweet corn kernels and black beans into a colander to rinse and drain until the water the clear. Once most of the water was drained, I dug around in my cupboards again to find two sets of Tupperware to prep two more meals out of the homemade cantina bowl mixture to eat throughout the week.

GENIUS, RIGHT!?

Burrito 4

After the rice finished cooking and the corn-bean mix was ready, I spooned equal portions of each into my containers and generously seasoned with salt and pepper. While doing this, the frozen pre-diced chicken breast unthawed in the microwave; once it was finished, I just topped each of my containers with equal portions of the chicken while warm.

Just give it a good mix and you’re good to go!

I can’t even begin to describe how filling of a meal this was and how healthy I felt afterward.

OK, and proud that all it took was a little creativity to put together a dish that not only saved me both money and calories burned at the gym, but was also stretched into extra meals for throughout the week.

For all of you New Adults out there, here is the complete ingredient list so that you can try it out for yourself (bonus points if you actually do have avocados on hand):

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can sweet corn, drained and rinsed

1 bag of Steam Fresh brown rice

6 oz. of frozen chicken breast, pre-diced

Salt and pepper to taste

Prep time: 12 minutes

And that’s it! It’s as simple as that.

Please enjoy this picture of happy-me right before I inhaled my frugal-woman cantina bowl for dinner tonight.

Burrito 1

Cheers!

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