Better-than-Chipotle Burrito Bowl


I remember the first time I went into Chipotle. It was awhile ago – probably 7 or 8 years ago – and everyone at my office had been raving about it.  I always liked Mexican but I couldn’t imagine how fast-food Mexican could be different than Taco Bell.  But one afternoon, I decided to go and fell in love.  There was so much goodness in that one bowl…the creamy guacamole, the spice of the salsa, chicken, beans, rice…it was like someone managed to take all of the best parts of a plate of nachos, throw them on rice, and call it a day.  It was like heaven and I think I went back at least a dozen times.

And then two things happened: 1. I read an article online about the calorie and fat content of Chipotle and nearly fell out of my chair. My amazing dream of a lunch was close to 52 grams of fat and 1,000 calories (and that’s without the side of chips). And did I mention the sodium?  It was more than half of the recommended daily intake.  And then a couple of years later, #2 happened: I went on the CKD diet and all thoughts and forms of fast-food became a hazy memory.

But in my quest to find food that fit the diet and I enjoyed, I was in my office, watching someone eating Chipotle, and it occurred to me that the basics of the burrito bowl I had fallen in love with a few years ago were, in fact, on the diet.  If I removed the beans and the cheese, all of the individual items I included in my bowl were acceptable. I ran home that night to make it, so here is the recipe.

I will note that there are two ways to make this: 1. With rice as your base and 2. With lettuce as your base. Sometimes I make this for dinner (see #1) and sometimes I make this for lunch (see #2) – it’s flexible and easy.

Original Recipe: Chipotle (Chipotle’s Nutrition Link)

Revised Recipe: Me 🙂 Jackie

Serving Size: 2 people, if you want more, just double it

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Cook Time: 30 Minutes


  • 1 cup uncooked white rice (if you want to make this for 4 people, just double this)
  • 4 peppers (I prefer red)
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1-2 chopped jalapenos
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 small red onion, chopped finely
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • Sour Cream (optional)
  • Avocado (Optional)
  • Hot Sauce (Optional)


  1. Roast the Peppers (This step is optional): If you prefer your peppers roasted, set your oven for 400 degrees. Slice the peppers into thin strips and toss them in 1 tablespoon of canola oil.  Roast them in the oven for 20 minutes. Flip them onto the other side and put them back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.  Once at room temperature, dice them into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
  2. Cook the rice according to the package instructions. Set aside.
  3. Defrost the corn in the microwave by adding corn and a tablespoon of water in a microwave-safe bowl.  Depending on your microwave, start at 90 seconds and see if it’s done.  Add another 15-20 seconds until defrosted. Drain and allow to cool.
    • ALTERNATIVE: You can make the Corn Salsa from my recipe and use this instead.  If you choose to do this, omit the jalapeño and red onion from this recipe.
  4. Pour 1 tablespoon of canola oil to a large pan on medium heat and add the chopped red onion.  After 2-3 minutes when it starts to soften, add the raw ground turkey.  Break up into small pieces and allow to cook all the way through, about 8 minutes.
  5. After all of the pink has disappeared from the ground turkey and it is cooked through, add your spices – the paprika, cumin and cayenne pepper.  Stir together so all of the turkey is coated.  All to sit for 3-4 minutes so the oil/juice is soaked up and the meat has turned a dark red color from the spices.
  6. While the turkey is cooking, start to assemble your bowl.  Place some rice at the bottom, then add the roasted red peppers and corn.  Then add some of the jalapeños (be careful not to add too many if you don’t like it spicy…remember, the turkey is spicy too).  If using avocado, cut up a few small chunks and add it to the bowl.  When the turkey is done cooking, add it to the top.
  7. If you’re using sour cream, add a tablespoon on top of the turkey and then sprinkle on your chopped cilantro.  If you like hot sauce, add this as well.  Finally, squeeze the lime over the whole bowl.  Repeat for multiple people/bowls.


Veggie Dumplings


I will forewarn that this is one of the most time-consuming recipes that I have, but in the end, the results are absolutely amazing.  They’re a really great dinner on their own or maybe a side dish or appetizer for parties and gatherings.  But be warned, this requires an assembly line of activity, so you need to allow yourself enough time so you can properly pull all of this together.

I love a good dumpling and I order them wherever I go. Even now, with my diet, I still order dumplings. I assume there’s soy sauce in them and lots of salt (and probably some veggies I can’t eat) but one good dumpling makes me unbelievably happy. I prefer them steamed, but this recipe uses a light sear + steam method.

There are a few shortcuts in this recipe that you can use, which will help speed up the process a bit.  But note, it’s not the actual cooking that takes time – this is the quick part – it’s the creation of the dumplings themselves. I am just not good at filling and folding the dough. I constantly struggle with this.  I really hope you’re better but please let me know if you have any tricks!

Original Recipe: HERE

Revised Recipe: Me 🙂 Jackie

  • Prep: The official recipe says 5 minutes, so I guess someone somewhere is able to do this in 5 minutes. I am not. For me, this takes about 40-45 minutes to prep.
  • Cook: 15 minutes
  • Total: 30 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cup coleslaw mix (found in the lettuce section with the bagged lettuce)
  • 1/2 cup chopped bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup button mushrooms
  • 4 scallions, chopped (light green and white parts only)
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos (see HERE for the brand I prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 15-20 dumpling wrappers – you can find these in the freezer section or the refrigerator section, usually near the tofu products


  1. Prep and chop your ingredients: Note – I throw all of the vegetables (coleslaw mix, bean sprouts, mushrooms, scallions) into a food processor and chop them that way. This is MUCH easier and creates greater consistency with the filling.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the coleslaw mix, chopped beansprouts, scallions, soy sauce/coconut aminos, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and ginger.
  3. Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium. Once its hot, add the contents of the medium bowl. Cover the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover, stir and let cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until most of the liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat.
  4. Working with one dumpling wrapper at a time, spoon about 1 teaspoon of filling into the center. Moisten the edges of the dumpling wrapper with water (use your finger to spread it around). Then, fold the wrapper over, sealing the edges together with your fingers. Place on a foil-lined plate. Repeat until all of the dumplings are filled and sealed.
    NOTE: There’s a great website showing all the different ways to fold a wonton wrapper HERE. I generally do the basic samosa style (because I can’t quite get it any other way).  One tip though – make sure to keep a wet paper towel over the wontons you’ve already filled.  They’ll dry out if you don’t do this and will taste a bit like cardboard when you go to cook them.
  5.  Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan and wait until it gets hot. Add a few of the dumplings, making sure to to over-crowd the pan. Sear on one side (about 1-2 minutes) and then flip to the other. While they’re on the other side, add about 3 tablespoons of the water to the pan and cover.  Allow to steam.
  6. Wait about 3-4 minutes, remove the cover and the dumplings should be nicely steamed with crispy edges.
  7. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Good luck and ENJOY!

My Go-To Corn Salsa


This is my absolutely, hands down, my favorite recipe from the last few years of being on the CKD diet.  I make this recipe so frequently – it’s permanently engrained in my brain. At this point, I could get corn salsa tattooed on my arm.  Or maybe I could frame a picture of it in my living room.  Have I mentioned that I’m slightly obsessed with this recipe??  🙂

Here’s why: when I get home from work at night, I usually want something to snack on. With CKD, there’s not a whole lot in a bag that I can turn to – I can have salt-free pretzels, rice crackers, graham crackers, but all of those items make me feel like I’m going to gain 50 pounds by the end of the bag.  And, on their own, they’re boring. Sure, I can eat an entire bag of pretzels, but my mouth would be as dry as a piece of cardboard by the end.  I need something with them – something that fills me up so I don’t eat as many. I need a dip.  And for me, this is the perfect solution.

It takes me all of 10 minutes to make and is corn-based, which is acceptable for CKD.  It’s got a kick of spice, which I love, and if I make a batch, I can add it to the top of fajitas, chicken, or even a salad.

I have two versions of this recipe so I’m going to post both. There’s not a drastic difference between the two in terms of taste – it’s more about what ingredients I happen to have on hand.


Both recipes were inspired by the same thing: Trader Joe’s Corn & Chile Salsa.  Have you ever had this?  IT’S AMAZING.  It’s sweet and spicy at the same time. I literally could eat an entire jar…which is what made me think that perhaps I could make it myself.

The Holy Grail

If you haven’t tried this, DO IT. Or…maybe not. You will be obsessed.

The first version of this recipe is literally a replica of this jarred wonder:

Version 1:

Original Recipe Found HERE

Revised Recipe: Me 🙂 Jackie

  • 4 medium ears of sweet corn unhusked or 1 bag of frozen corn (NOTE: check salt content to make sure there isn’t any)
  • ¼ cup finely diced sweet yellow onion (NOTE: if you like more of an onion flavor, feel free to use red onion as an alternative)
  • ¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper start with 1 and add more, if you want more heat
  • 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  1. If using frozen corn, defrost according to package instructions
  2. If using fresh corn, place 2 ears at a time in the microwave and cook for 5 minutes on high power. Carefully, with oven mitts, remove corn from microwave and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining 2 ears of corn. When cool enough to handle, pull off husks and silk. Lay corn on it’s side and cut kernels from cobs, rotating the ear of corn as you go. Transfer corn to a medium size bowl.
  3. Add diced onion, red bell pepper and finely chopped jalapeño to bowl with the corn. Stir to combine.
  4. Combine vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, coriander, cumin, and crushed red pepper in a medium size, microwave safe bowl. Stir well to combine. Microwave on high power for 1 minute.
  5. Remove vinegar mixture from microwave and add to bowl with corn mixture. Stir well.
  6. Allow salsa to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately or transfer to a glass jar or storage container and refrigerate till ready to use. Salsa will keep in refrigerator for 5 days to 1 week.


Version 2: This is a more basic edition of the above recipe and isn’t quite as sweet. If you’re looking for more of a true salsa, this would be your pick.

Original & Revised Recipe: ME 🙂 Jackie (I came up with this!)


  • 4 medium ears of sweet corn unhusked or 1 bag of frozen corn (NOTE: check salt content to make sure there isn’t any)
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 finely chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 1 lime
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar (feel free to add more or less depending on your taste)


  1. If using frozen corn, defrost according to package instructions
  2. If using fresh corn, place 2 ears at a time in the microwave and cook for 5 minutes on high power. Carefully, with oven mitts, remove corn from microwave and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining 2 ears of corn. When cool enough to handle, pull off husks and silk. Lay corn on it’s side and cut kernels from cobs, rotating the ear of corn as you go. Transfer corn to a medium size bowl.
  3. Add diced onion and finely chopped jalapeño to bowl with the corn.
  4. Add cumin, honey, the juice of 1 lime and stir together to combine.

NOTE: Both recipes get better after they’ve sat in the refrigerator, so try not to eat the entire thing immediately after you’ve finished making it. Be patient – it’s worth it!

Winter White Velvet Soup


(It looks kinda dull in this picture but it’s absolutely delicious!)

It’s winter and I’m on a soup kick (if you can’t already tell). This is a recipe that I discovered while watching an episode of Giada’s Holiday Handbook on the Food Network.  It was actually dairy-free, which is not normal for an Italian chef, and there were less than 5 main ingredients + garnishes.  I remember thinking, “how can this possibly be good? It looks so boring.” But I was totally wrong!  This soup is delicious and one of the easiest, fastest recipes I’ve ever made.  And it required very little adjustments to make it CKD-friendly.  It’s my new favorite.

Original Recipe: Found HERE by Giada De Laurentiis

Revised Recipe: By Me 🙂 Jackie

Winter White Velvet Soup

Total: 1 hr 10 min (at most)
Active: 45 min
Yield: 6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 1 pound)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped 
  • 2 bulbs fennel, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces 
  • 1 onion, chopped 
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond or rice milk 
  • Pomegranate Gremolata, for garnish, recipe follows

Pomegranate Gremolata:

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest


Heat the olive oil in a 3 1/2-quart Dutch oven medium-high heat. Add the parsnips, celery, fennel, onion, and fennel seeds. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add 4 cups water and the bay leaf to the pan, and stir. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover with a lid. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft. Allow to cool slightly.

Puree the soup, adding the almond milk as you go. Use either a blender or an immersion blender.  If using a regular blender, you can split the soup in half and puree each half.  Return the soup to the Dutch oven, and heat to warm through–alternatively, pour the soup into a slow cooker and keep warm on the low setting. Serve with Pomegranate Gremolata.

Pomegranate Gremolata:

In a bowl, mix together the parsley, pomegranate seeds, and lemon zest.

Crispy Tostadas with Chicken

I love the Food Network and get a lot of my inspiration by watching those shows. I pretty much watch all of it (except some of the baking shows…I’m not a great baker if you can’t tell based on the limited number of dessert recipes I have). But I do occasionally tune in to The Kitchen on Saturday mornings to see what they’re cooking up. Although a lot of their recipes aren’t kidney-friendly, I’ve found ways of making them work for me. This is a recipe by Marcela Valladolid, who pronounces all of these ingredients with an amazing accent.  It’s relatively easy to make and you can add as much spice as you’d like. Enjoy!

Chicken Tostadas

Original Recipe: HERE by Marcela Valladolid

Revised Recipe: Me 🙂 Jackie

Total: 25 min
Prep: 25 min
Yield: 4 servings 


  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 4 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced into rings
  • 8 radishes, thinly sliced
  • Mexican sour cream or regular sour cream, for drizzling
  • 1 Avocado sliced thinly for topping (Note: Avocado has high potassium so please use at your discretion)

Spicy Slaw Topping

  • 2 cups finely shredded lettuce or cabbage (I use the prepackaged cole slaw bags)
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped up
  • 1 serrano chile, diced finely
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
  • Freshly cracked black pepper


For the slaw:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Add the honey/agave nectar to desired sweetness. If you’d like more spice, feel free to another chile or half a chile.

For the tostada:

If you have a gas stovetop, turn it on low and place one corn tortilla on top for 3-4 minutes. Using tongs, flip to the other side. Lightly char each side so it’s crispy.  If you have an electric stovetop, turn it on medium-high heat and place 2 corn tortillas in a pan on top. Lightly crisp one side (about 6 minutes) and then flip.

Once the tostadas are done, top with chicken, slaw, red onions, radishes, sour cream and/or avocado.

And enjoy!  It’s absolutely delicious but good luck eating this – it’s messy so make sure you have plenty of napkins on hand!