Make it work: freezer burritos

When you’re a busy person, like pretty much everyone in the universe these days, freezer meals or aids are clutch.

Back when I had my own freezer (and hopefully will have one again soon), I loved freezing leftovers, beans, homemade veggie broth AND AND AND (my favorite) single-serving portions of brown rice. (Can I get an amen from everyone who hates making rice?)

I got a hankering to recreate some freezer veggie burritos I made a couple months ago. I was inspired by these beautiful goods from Budget Bytes and just made my own creations. I made enough filling for 10 burritos to throw in the freezer and pull out for lunch at work or quick post-gym dinners for nights I didn’t feel like cooking. I’m pretty sure I even ate a couple of heated burritos in my lap while driving through downtown Seattle to a press conference for work (for safety purposes, that’s not recommended). Best part: it’s so cheap. (Note: scroll to bottom if you just want a recipe and not my story of near-failure.)

This time, some factors came into play that caused me to modify the wonderful burritos I made before. It was like Tim Gunn was sitting on my shoulder.

First off, my roommate’s dogs broke into my package of tortillas, leaving only seven that either weren’t chewed up or chewed little enough for my comfort level. So there was that.

timgunnPreviously, I made my burritos with roasted sweet potato, red peppers and red onions layered with black beans and brown rice cooked with some chili powder for flavor. I tossed in some hot sauce and added a schmear of vegan cream cheese to the tortilla before rolling and wrapping in foil.

This time, my peppers were already roasted and jarred because I bought them from Trader Joe’s to incorporate into another batch of this soup. So I sliced what I wanted to use and let them sit on a paper towel-lined plate so they wouldn’t be so oily.

I decided I was too lazy to cook a new batch of rice. I was already making soup and thought any more kitchen choreography would stress me out when I already felt like crap that day. Besides, I reasoned with myself, I already had sweet potatoes and black beans to do the heavy-lifting for me. I had way too much filling last time. So maybe I’d be doing myself a favor by cutting out the rice that night.

I cut two sweet potatoes into chunks (Anne Burrell would be so outraged by my poor knife cuts) and sliced up half a red onion. I tossed the veggies with some salt, pepper, chili powder and a dash of cayenne and spread them out on a foil-lined cookie sheet for roasting. While those hung out in the oven, a can’s worth of rinsed black beans drained in a collander.

Here comes the bad news. I totally burned my onions. I just guessed on the temperature and roasting time, but only later realized I got the oven 25 degrees too hot and roasted them 10 minutes too long. (The right temp and time: 400 degrees, 40 minutes.)

Me too, Tim.

Me too, Tim.

So, out with the onions. The sweet potatoes were salvageable.

I mixed the pepper slices with the sweet potatoes and beans in a bowl with some dashes of green Tabasco (just workin’ with what my roommate’s fridge offered). I went to grab my vegan cream cheese from the fridge.

It was moldy.

FOILED AGAIN.

That’s OK, it was Go Veggie! brand, which is inferior to Tofutti in my opinion, so there’s an excuse to get the good stuff.

Now the key to assembling a solid burrito without it falling apart in your hands when you eat it is to steam it in the microwave under a sheet of damp paper towel for thirty seconds. Done. I filled seven burritos and piled them up in the freezer.

They’re still good. I’ve been bringing two at a time to work and they’re thawed enough by lunchtime that they only need a minute in the microwave. (If this is an option, press them in a panini press, ZOMG SO GOOD.) I throw on this hot sauce with each bite. My first crack at ’em was definitely better. But hopefully next time I’ll have reheated freezer rice and Tofutti.

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Here’s the short version on how to make my ideal version of these burritos. And this is a guide. You should do a bunch of your stuff, like if you wanna throw zucchini or mushrooms or jalapenos in there.

Ingredients:

-10 tortillas (flour is least healthy, but easiest to wrap; wheat is better for you and workable; corn tortillas suck for these purposes, don’t buy them)
-1 cup rice
-1/2 tablespoon chili powder
-Herbs at your disposal and to your taste: chili powder, cayenne (if you like an extra hit of hot), cumin, salt, pepper, oregano
-2 sweet potatoes, chopped in 1/2-inch chunks
-1 can black beans
-1/2 red onion (or 1 whole one if you’re an onion person), sliced
-1 red bell pepper, sliced
-1/2 cup chopped cilantro
-Condiments you want: salsa! hot sauce! cream cheese!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss your veggies in chili powder, cayenne, cumin, salt, pepper and oregano. I’m all about you customizing your flavor profiles, so add those spices in half a teaspoon at a time and test a pepper slice or onion until you like it. I like to avoid oil wherever possible, but if you don’t care, throw in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, too. Spread your veggies over a large cooking sheet, covering as much surface area as possible. Use foil or parchment paper on the bottom if you don’t feel like scraping your pan later. Roast your veggies in the oven for 40 minutes. Make sure to stir them up halfway through.

Cook your rice per instructions with 1/2 tablespoon of chili powder and 1 teaspoon of salt.

When the veggies are done, let them cool off a bit. When they’re easier to handle, toss them in a large bowl with your black beans and cilantro. If you want, you can hit them with whatever condiment you want to mix in there. I like dashing some hot sauce here.

Steam your tortilla stack in the microwave beneath a wet paper towel for 30 seconds. Then set up your burrito-making station however you like.

Schmear each tortilla with cream cheese if you’re like me, then scoop some veggies and rice and place on one side of the tortilla. Don’t put in too many goodies or your burrito will be a disaster. I know. Assemble using this guide.

Wrap your burritos in foil, parchment paper or whatever will protect them from the elements of your freezer. When you’re ready to nom, heat them up for a minute or two in the microwave or, if you can, warm them up on a grill pan or in a panini press (I’ve used my boyfriend’s George Forman).

Proceed to nom. You’re welcome. If you have leftover filling, they work awesome heated in a bowl as a snack or meal.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. inspiregoodthings
    Oct 15, 2013 @ 05:16:03

    Yum!

    Reply

  2. Trackback: Grace In Small Things | Go Go Rikki Ranger

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