The Lunch Dilemma: Black bean and cheese freezer burritos
In my pre-cohabiting life, lunches were pretty easy. Whatever I had for dinner, I would eat for lunch the next day. Unless my dinner was salmon, I don’t want to be THAT person microwaving fish at work. However, this approach had to change when I started cooking for two. A meal that was once two dinners and two lunches, was no longer going quite as far. As much as I enjoy cooking, I don’t want to make a new dinner every night. So, no more leftovers for lunch. Deli sandwiches were out ( pricey, too much meat), tuna salad was out (pricey, too much tuna), and PB&J was out (cheap but not healthy enough). As I’m struggling through how to feed myself at work, I’m buying Ben frozen burritos every week at $2 a piece. Then it finally occurred to me. I can make black bean and cheese freezer burritos!
I’ll have to admit that in some of my food snobbery pickiness, I’ve never eaten a store-bought frozen burrito. They kind of scare me. However, these burritos that I make myself are something I look forward to eating at lunch time. The other great thing about these burritos is that they are healthy with only 240 calories, nearly 13 grams of protein, and over 14 grams of fiber! The cost of the burritos will depend on where you buy your groceries, but even buying the most expensive organic ingredients, you will still end up spending no more than $1.00 per burrito.
The Black Bean and Cheese Freezer Burritos
For me, the only thing hard about this recipe is rolling the burritos. I am pretty good at it now, but it was a struggle when I started. If you are new to burrito making, the video below gives a good demo. I prefer to heat my tortillas in the microwave, and immediately wrap them in foil. There is no need to sear them after rolling for this recipe. I keep the foil wrapped burritos in the freezer for one month, but they are almost always eaten in 2 weeks. The best way to reheat the burritos is to take them out of the foil, loosely wrap them in paper towel, and microwave for about 1 minute. It may take longer depending on the microwave. Once the burrito is hot, quickly remove it from the paper towel to prevent it from sticking to the tortilla.
2 Green Onions, white and green parts separated and finely chopped
1 tsp. Cumin
1/3 cup Cilantro, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
16 Whole wheat tortillas
1 cup Shredded Mexican blend cheese
For the dried beans:
Preheat the oven to 325F.
Put the beans into a large dutch oven and cover with water. The beans should be at least 1 inch deep in the water.
Add the salt and bay leaf.
Cover with the lid and bake in the oven for about 1 hour.
After 1 hour, take the beans out and check for doneness. The beans will be done when they are soft and have no dryness or grittiness in the center.
If the beans aren't done (they probably won't be after 1 hour), add more water to keep the beans submerged by about 1/4 inch.
Repeat the check for doneness and water level every 30-45 minutes, until the beans are fully cooked. This may take up to 3 hours depending on how old/dry the beans are.
Once the beans are cooked, pour them into a colander to drain away the cooking liquid.
For the burrito filling:
In a large pot (could be the same pot used to cook the dried beans), add the olive oil heat on medium burner.
Once the oil is hot, add the poblano peppers and the white bottoms of the green onions and cook for about 3 minutes. Stir frequently.
Next, add the diced tomatoes and cumin with a pinch of salt.
Cook the pepper and tomato mixture for about five minutes, stirring often, until the pepper have softened and the tomatoes are broken down.
Add the cilantro, green onion tops, and cooked beans from the colander to the pot with the tomatoes and pepper. Stir until well mixed, add salt and pepper to taste, and remove from heat.
For the burritos:
Warm 8 tortillas on a plate in the microwave for 30 second. Flip the tortilla stack over and microwave fro 30 more seconds.
Spoon about 1/2 cup of the bean filling into the center of a tortilla and top with about 1 tbsp of cheese.
Roll the burrito and wrap in a square of aluminum foil.
Repeat until all 16 burritos are wrapped.
Place the burritos into 2 large ziploc bags (I usually use the tortilla bags) and freeze.
Burritos can be reheated in the microwave for about 1 or 1:30 minutes from frozen.
I take a very very lazy approach to cooking the dried black beans. There are a lot of different approaches to cooking black beans. If you have a preferred method, use it. All that really matters is that you have some cooked black beans to work with for the burrito filling.