Forgive the Gil Scott-Heron reference (on second thought, don’t excuse it), but when I first ate the result of the recipe I’m going to share with you, I proclaimed to my classmates “OH MAN, this is a lunch revolution!!!”. Presumably they found me both charming and decidedly nuts.
Before I go any further, I have to give credit where credit is due. I did not think this up on my own. I didn’t actually think it up at all; instead, someone mentioned a packed-lunch standby of hers to me in passing, and I flipped right out. Then, I proceeded to yell excitedly about it to anyone who would listen, and most people humoured me but didn’t care that much, except for Carly, who said repeatedly: “that is SO smart. that is so SMART. that is SO SMART” (add something else onto the list of why I love Carly: she is equally enthusiastic as myself about revelations in the realm of packed lunches, in spite of the fact that she currently does not have to pack a lunch to go anywhere). Anyways, the point is, thank you very much to Ruth for introducing me to this idea so casually over some afternoon wine in Kitchener.
Without further ado, I bring you your new lunch: homemade frozen burritos. If you didn’t just say to yourself “holy shit!”, then you probably don’t care that much about this. But me, I freaked. Homemade frozen burritos! In the store they have frozen burritos that you buy and microwave and eat! But they are generally not that good! And sometimes they are really expensive! I love burritos! Burritos are one of the two things I’m always in the mood for! The other is roti, which is a similar concept! Why haven’t I thought of making burritos and freezing them?!
Ruth explained to me, in brief, her method: she makes a bunch of burritos, but instead of layering in the filling like you would normally, she mixes everything together in a big slop – beans, cheese, veggies, etc. just all together. I guess this will make it freeze/thaw/cook better and more evenly. Makes sense to me! Then, she said, she individually wraps them in little parchment paper bags, and freezes them. Then, when its time to pack a lunch, she just grabs one, brings it with her, and microwaves it for 2 minutes or so when its chow-time. BLAM-O!
And so, the week before I went back to school for second semester, I spent an hour making myself a batch of burritos to freeze. It really only took an hour start to finish I would say, which I think is well worth it given that I got 6 lunches out of it. In my burritos:
-one can of my favourite refried beans
-homemade salsa -cubed, roasted sweet potato -chopped and sauteed onion, carrot, and garlic
-frozen corn from my CSA that I froze in August -grated cheddar cheese -cilantro and green onions
-a chipotle pepper, also from my CSA, which was surprisingly HOT
-a bit of sour cream, and seasonings of salt, pepper, cumin
I mixed all that together, and then assembled. I used 10-inch whole wheat tortillas, and heated them for about 15 seconds to make them more pliable, then scooped in the filling and rolled them up. I made little parchment paper bags by stapling sheets of the paper together (note to self and to you: do not put the paper bags in the microwave later on, staples are made of metal and that is bad in the microwave) and then put them into freezer bags. I did a sort of bad thing and put them straight into the freezer when they were still warm, which means that they got some condensation from the steam that may ultimately mean a bit of freezer burn, but oh well.
On Tuesday I had my first day where I packed a lunch, and I excitedly brought one of my burritos. The best thing is that since they’re frozen rock-hard, I don’t need to bring an ice pack or anything like that, because it stays cold until my lunch time. The other best thing is not having to wake up and go “Dang, I have nothing to bring for lunch!”. The other best thing is that they are delicious. I microwaved that baby for 2.5 minutes total, flipped it over once to get it cooking evenly, and it was so good. Keep in mind, like most frozen burritos, by the time the microwave was done it is more fork-and-knife material then handheld, but that’s okay. It was so satisfying. A filling, homemade, healthy, and cheap lunch. Score! Happy New Year to lunch!