Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Freezer Burritos

I finally made my first attempt at freezer burritos.  I can definitely declare them a success!  My family loves them and my girls are reaching for them instead of asking for other less-than-ideal foods for lunch.  They are super easy and super inexpensive to make.

Here are the ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef (I bought a half of a side of beef, or basically a quarter cow, in December.  We have lots of grass-fed, organic beef to use up!)
taco seasoning
long-grain rice
black beans ( I have these cooked, drained, and stored in 1 cup increments in the freezer)
shredded mexican cheese blend or whatever cheese is handy
24 tortillas (buy a big bag cheap at a wholesale club)

First, I cooked the rice according to my spanish rice "recipe".
Meanwhile, I cooked, rinsed, and drained the ground beef.  I added a half-packet of taco seasoning and somewhere between 1/4 cup-1/2 cup of water.  I eyeballed it.  Basically I just wanted the meat to be moist, but not swimming.
After the rice and meat were ready, I warmed a few tortillas in the microwave for a few seconds to soften them up.  I put them between some kitchen towels to keep them warm.    I only took out one at a time to work with.

 Just off-center I laid a heaping spoonful of rice in a strip. 

 Be sure you don't go all the way to the edges of the tortilla!

Then I added a spoonful of beans.

And a spoonful of taco meat.

I didn't want to dip my spoon into the cheese bag, so I took two big pinches of cheese and sprinkled it across the pile.

Then I folded the burritos like an envelope.  (You really can't tell by the angle of the pictures, but the ingredients are a little more towards me on the tortilla, rather than right in the center).  I folded the tortilla away from me, then folded the ends in, and rolled it the rest of the way.  I made sure the flap was on the bottom so that the tortilla wouldn't flop open on the pan.

Here are the burritos all ready to go in the freezer.  I made 23 burritos and ended up with leftover rice and beans.  I estimated that I spent about 40 cents per burrito.  After the burritos were frozen (I pushed the "quick freeze" button on my freezer to mimic flash-freezing), I put them in a resealable bag in the freezer.  We take out as many as we need and nuke them in the microwave for a couple of minutes (depends on how many we're reheating, though).

My girls rave about these and love the convenience of having a reasonably nutritious snack or lunch in a matter of minutes.  My DD 10 needed a quick snack on-the-go one day and this was mess-free for the car ride.  I can't argue with that!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Spanish Rice

I have several versions of "Spanish rice" that I make.  The one I've made for years is from a recipe I clipped from a magazine.  Over the last few months I have been making burritos on a regular basis (think cheap AND easy!), so I've simplified my recipe even more.  It probably doesn't even resemble Spanish rice any more, but it works beautifully to add on, or even next to, our burritos.  Keep in mind that I am not a fan of spicy food, so tweak accordingly.  My version with Rotel is as spicy as I dare to go!

Here is the recipe version:

1 can (14 1/2 oz) reduced-sodium vegetable broth (I usually use chicken as it is what I typically have on hand)
1 can (14 1/2 oz) stewed tomatoes (my adaptation is diced tomatoes)
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic salt

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.

Okay, here is one of my altered versions:

1 cup long grain rice
1 can (14 1/2 oz) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 can (10 oz) Ro*tel

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.

I have also been experimenting with different flavored cans of diced tomatoes (i.e. italian diced tomatoes) with good results.  My 8 y.o. doesn't like tomato chunks, so I tried pureeing the tomatoes today.  I haven't tested it on her yet to see what she thinks.

There is so much moisture in this rice that it is fluffy and moist.  Again, experiment with whatever version you think may appeal to your taste buds and report back to me what you find out!