Today, I bring you a food that is flexible, freezable and easy to carry with you, and makes for a simple and inexpensive lunch.
Today's burritos are the perfect commuter food: you can make these guys in volume over the weekend and eat them at work during the week. You can take them with you in the car, train or bus without them getting smushed or manhandled. And they are easy and convenient to eat during your workday--heck, you don't even need a utensil to eat them.
Every couple of months we'll whip up a huge batch of 30 of these guys, freeze them up en masse, and then we've got lunches (or even an emergency dinner if necessary) for weeks, just waiting for us in our fridge.
24-30 flour tortillas (depends if they come in packs of 8 or 10)
3 lbs ground beef
Approx 1 lb cheddar cheese, sliced (can also use monterrey jack or even jalapeno jack cheese)
2 1lb-13 ounce cans black beans, drained
3-4 cups cooked rice
1) Brown ground beef in a skillet, drain off fat. Then season the ground beef very generously with a couple of heaping tablespoons of mild chili powder, and depending on how much "heat" you'd like in your burritos, add cayenne pepper, Tabasco and/or black pepper.
2) Set up the black beans, rice, beef, cheese and any other ingredients you are including in your burritos into an assembly line, such that it is easy to spoon each ingredient onto the tortillas.
3) Heat each tortilla for 10-15 seconds on each side in a non-stick skillet set on medium high heat. This will make the tortilla pliable (you should only brown it very slightly if at all). Place the heated tortilla on a plate, and spoon each of the ingredients from your "assembly line" onto the tortilla, being careful not to overfill it.
4) Fold the tortilla over lengthwise and crosswise as shown in the pictures to the right.
5) Place in a 9x13 pan or a large cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 275F.
6) Eat and enjoy!
These burritos freeze very well, and can be microwaved (2 minutes on high) for a quick, healthy and balanced meal.
Also, be sure to consider any recipe modifications that might strike your fancy with this dish. You can certainly add in sauteed vegetables like onions or peppers. Also you can consider other meats like chicken or chorizo. Vegetarian or even vegan burritos would also be a snap--just include more veggies and legumes and of course leave out the meat and/or cheese (note you'll also have to make sure your tortillas aren't made with lard--fortunately most store-bought tortilla brands like Tyson are made with vegetable shortening). Burritos are a flexible dish and they allow for all sorts of substitutions and improvisations.
Also, calling all serious purists out there! If you're interested in a great blog post on how to make homemade flour tortillas, then run--don't walk--to Homesick Texan for a clinic on the subject. Her work looks absolutely amazing.
One other note: if you are so lucky to be the king when you are making this dish, here's a job you'll want to make sure to delegate. :)
Ready to go into the oven:
And ready to eat!