We love Chipotle.
But for our family of ten, buying Chipotle would cost over $100, with extra guacamole and chips all around.
Aldi to the rescue!
For those of you that do not have an Aldi’s in your town, I am so sorry. Aldi’s is a discount grocery store, a relative of Trader Joe’s. Their food is good and it is so.much.cheaper.than.a.regular.grocery.store.
One day I was browsing in my favorite Aldi’s and I really looked at their Mexican/Spanish food section. And my brain lit up with one thought: Chipotle. I grabbed some “copycat” Chipotle recipes off of the internet and began playing.
I will not lie; creating a Chipotle Bar takes some effort. But it makes me happy to feed my big people so much food at such a nice savings.
Bonus: This makes enough for the strongest to have leftovers.
What I paid for our last Chipotle Bar using ingredients found at Aldi’s:
- Meat: Four pounds chicken breasts: $8
- Marinade: $3
- Salsa: I get almost everything out of my garden: Free
- In the winter: Jar of salsa: $3
- Corn salsa: $3
- Cilantro Rice: $1
- Fajita Peppers and Onions: $4
- Black beans: $1
- Romaine Lettuce: $3
- Cheese: $2.69
- Avocado: $1 (if unavailable, I buy guac for $3)
- Sour Cream: $1.19
- Big Dipper Chips: $1.79
When making this recipe, I try to buy everything at Aldi’s. This means that the chile powder is not ANCHO CHILI POWDER. I found Tajin Clasico Seasoning at Aldis and it contains chile peppers, lime and salt. Good enough for me, Czech native that I am. If you just had a little heart attack, then you might want to traipse over to your nearest grocery store and get an official Ancho Chili Power. (In a taste test, Tajin ranked 23 of all chile pepper powders because it’s so mild.)
Also, you should probably know that the Adobo sauce from Aldi’s is hotter than hell. You will literally only use a small portion of sauce from the can; 2 T for the marinade and 1 tsp for the corn salsa. You won’t use the actual peppers in the can, which seems like a waste until you taste test a pepper. Oh.My.Stars. That’s a good way to get hair on your chest. (If your can has lots of sauce, you could freeze a portion of it. That way you’d have a little fire in your freezer.)
We love two things from Chipotle: the chicken and the corn salsa. We wanted those two items to be fantastic. See below for those two specific recipes. I looked up copycat recipes for the fajita mix and the beans and various salsas; I am not about spending my entire day in the kitchen. Opening a can of black beans = success.
You will love this one, too:
OKAY, the most difficult part of this meal is ORCHESTRATING IT.
Here is how Lori does it:
Day before or morning of the meal:
- Make the marinade. Chop the chicken breasts into bite-sized chunks, put into a large Ziploc, pour the marinade over, seal and put into fridge.
- Make the salsa. This is my favorite recipe: Got Romas? Make Salsa!
At least 2 hours before you eat:
- Prepare the Corn Salsa. Put in fridge.
- Rice: I use a rice cooker; right before we eat, I add lime juice and cilantro, see below.
40 minutes before you eat:
Fajita Peppers: rinse then open peppers, remove stems and seeds. Slice into pieces. Same with the onion. Add oil to your wok or heavy skillet. Saute the peppers and onions for 5-10 minutes, depending on how “done” you want them to be. Place in a bowl to keep warm.
30 minutes before you eat:
Cook the chicken. See recipe for instructions.
While chicken cooks have a child:
- Prep Black Beans. Open the can. Rinse. Put in a bowl.
- Prepare rice. Add the juice of one lime and about 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro. Mix thoroughly.
- Rinse Romaine Lettuce and chop; place in bowl.
- Put Cheese in a bowl.
- Put chips in a bowl.
- Cut up an avocado. (Or can mash and add salt, lime juice, jalapeno bits, finely chopped onion and tomatoes)
- Grab the sour cream.
Pray and eat!
Our version of Chipotle is now in rotation about twice a month. The kids love it. I hope yours do, too. Let me know what they think!