School nights around here are crazy – the bus rolls in around 4:30 and then we run non-stop until the kids crash in bed. It is so important to me to feed the kids a healthy dinner and most nights I am able to pull something together between work, homework and baseball practice. But, somedays I just can’t get it done. Maybe I forgot to put dinner in the crockpot. Maybe I got caught late at work. Whatever the reason – some nights I just can’t pull it all together.
Last Tuesday was one of those nights – the kids had to be picked up from school, they all had piano lessons and then we had a baseball game at a field 40 minutes away. Confession – I wasn’t even working that day. I thought I’d have time to make dinner but one thing led to another and I was out at Costco when I realized there was no way the kids were getting a homemade meal that night. I looked around – not pizza again, they won’t eat the prepared meals from Costco – nothing will accommodate all three picky palates. I left Costco with the full intent to serve eggs for dinner – again.
Then I looked in my purse and saw three coupons for free kids meals at Chipotle (Thanks summer reading program!) and figured “what the hell”. I’ve never taken the kids to Chipotle before and the thought of my picky princess eating Mexican food made me laugh. But I had nothing to lose. Turns out the kids meals are pretty amazing – you get a serving of meat plus 2 sides along with 2 tortillas to “build your own taco”. Now there is a lot at Chipotle that my kids won’t eat – but rice, chicken, beans, corn – we could make a meal of it.
I picked up the food on my way to get the kids from school so I did some quick thinking. It made no sense to waste a side dish on things I had at home. So, I filled those meals with high quality meats, beans, rice and veggies. Each kid also got their own bag of chips and an organic milk. By bringing the meals home and adding toppings I already have in my refrigerator I was able to save money and give the kids and even more filling meal.
What are the options?
You can choose either a Build Your Own Taco meal or a Quesadilla meal. Both come with the same foods – just prepared differently. The Quesadilla has meat and cheese melted in a flour tortilla with rice and beans served on the side. The taco meal has a few more options for fillings and everything is served in separate compartments – very important for kids who don’t like their foods to touch. If you are planning on getting Take Out and serving it later in the day like I did – I would highly recommend the Build Your Own Taco.
- Carne Asada – thinly sliced seasoned steak
- Barbacoa – seasoned chunks of brisket or chuck roast
- Carnitas – shredded pork with minimal seasoning
- Pinto Beans
- Black Beans
- White Rice
- Brown Rice
- Fajita Veggies – peppers and onions
- Sour Cream
- Roasted Corn Salsa
- Guacamole *extra charge*
Save Money on Toppings
When we got home, I set up my own buffet. I laid out the food from Chipotle and then added shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, chopped tomato and lettuce from my own fridge – multiplying the toppings. If your kids are more adventurous you could add peppers, salsa, hot sauce, chopped avocado – the options are endless. The kids loved the taco bar. They made their own creations and devoured them. Even the picky princess liked the carnitas (the guy at Chipotle promised me it is their most mild meat). We even had leftovers that my husband piled on to his own tortilla for a quick dinner. I ate the majority of a shrimp cocktail platter from Costco!
I love that I could feed all three the kids a reasonably healthy and fun dinner for about $15 (FREE this time) and still have leftovers. We will definitely be doing this again!