Earlier this year at an activity with the youth of our church congregation, we had the kids answering questions that they pulled out of a hat. One of the girls pulled out a slip of paper that asked what her favorite thing to do with her family was. I expected an answer along the lines of “going to the movies” or “going to Disneyland,” so her answer caught me by surprise, “Eating dinner with my family.” She went on to explain that she loved that time they had to talk and laugh together without having to worry about other things. Her response reminded me of my own childhood family dinners. My mom was religious about making sure a home-cooked meal made it to the dinner table each night and that we were all seated at the table together before the blessing was said on the food. Dinner wasn’t over when you were done eating, dinner was over when everyone was finished and the table had been cleared. I too, loved those dinners, but it wasn’t until I became a parent that I truly appreciated the hard work that it takes to make regular family meals happen. We live in a hectic world and our lives tend to be filled to bursting with things like piano lessons and baseball games. Add to that the alluring distraction of our electronic devices and it’s a wonder that anyone ever has a conversation at the dinner table anymore, let alone actually makes it to the table to be together.
Family mealtime is a topic that has gotten a lot of attention in the social science world over the past 10 years. Some evidence suggests that children who eat meals with their families are less likely to be overweight, eat more healthy foods, have greater academic achievement, have improved psychological well-being, and more positive family interactions. I’m a huge believer in the power of family mealtime, whether or not any of these studies are correct. Family mealtimes provide a guaranteed way for us to connect as families. They provide the opportunity to put away those electronic devices and find out what is happening in each other’s lives. They give us the chance to show each other that we care because we make the effort to be together around the table. That being said, I know from personal experience how hard it can be to make those mealtimes happen. It’s exhausting! We may all do family meals differently, but I believe that each of us has room for improvement. Whether it’s making the effort to have one more meal a week together, or instituting a “no electronic devices at the table rule,” or just making the effort to laugh a bit more together, there is something we can do better. Small changes can ripple out into big results! So I’d like to challenge you to take a look at your own family mealtime routine and pick out one thing that you can do to make that special time together better. In honor of this challenge, I’m sharing one of my favorite “last-minute” dinners—B.E.A.Ch. (beans, egg, avocado, and cheese) burritos. They hardly take any time to put together. You could even just put the ingredients out on the table and let everyone assemble their own.
B.E.A.Ch. Burritos (Beans, Egg, Avocado, and Cheese)
Makes 4 burritos
3 ripe avocados
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon tabasco sauce (or sriracha!), optional
4 large eggs
1 can (15.4 ounces) refried black beans
4 large burrito-sized flour tortillas
2 cups shredded cheese (we like using cheddar jack, but choose your favorite!)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional garnishes: salsa, sour cream, slices black olives, pickled jalapenos, chopped cilantro, lime wedges
1. In a small bowl, mash the avocados with the lime juice and sea salt to make guacamole. You can make it as smooth or as chunky as you like. Taste and add additional lime juice or salt as needed. If you want your guacamole to be spicy, add the tabasco sauce, taste, and add additional tabasco sauce as desired. Set the guacamole aside.
2. Fry the eggs: Lightly grease a skillet and put it over medium heat. Crack an egg into a measuring cup and gently tip it into the skillet (or if you’re sure of your egg cracking skills, crack it directly into the skillet). If your skillet is large enough, add all of the eggs. If not, cook them one at a time. Let the egg cook without moving it. The whites will begin to set after a few minutes, followed by the yolk. Cover the pan partway through cooking, so that the steam will gently cook the top. You can also flip the eggs over and cook for a minute on the other side if you prefer. When the whites are set and the yolk is cooked to your liking, remove the pan from the heat and gently slide a spatula under each egg and transfer them to a plate.
3. While you are frying the eggs, heat the refried black beans, either over low heat on the stove, stirring constantly, or in the microwave.
4. When you are ready to assemble the burritos, warm one of the tortillas for about 10 seconds on each side in a hot skillet. Make sure you do not let it get crispy, just warm, so that it is easier to roll (a cold or crispy tortilla is likely to split).
5. Spread 1/4 of the refried beans over the tortilla, leaving a 1 ½–inch border around the edge of the tortilla. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the cheese over the beans. You can put the tortilla in the microwave for 30 seconds, or briefly in a frying pan, to further melt the cheese, or you can just let the heat of the beans melt the cheese. It’s your choice!
6. Spread 1/4 of the guacamole over the cheese, then top it with one of the fried eggs. Season everything with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
7. Fold the sides in so that they cover about 1/4 of the filling.
8. With the sides folded in, use your thumbs to bring up the bottom of the tortilla, and wrap it over the filling, as tightly as possible. The filling will want to squish out the other side, so you will use the tortilla to press it back and keep it inside. Keep rolling until the burrito is completely sealed. I like to place the burrito with the seal side down on a plate.
9. Repeat steps 4 through 8 with the rest of the tortillas and ingredients. Serve immediately with other garnishes as desired.