Monday, July 30, 2012

Hot Tip: Freezer Burritos for Easy Lunches

In the winter, lunches are easy.  Winter means any time when it's not 90 degrees out.  In the winter, I make lasagnas and chilis and pastas and I just make extra servings to freeze and lunch is handled.  On winter mornings, each of us just looks into the freezer and pulls out something wrapped in foil or dished out into tupperware and there it is, home cooked goodness to eat at our desks while staring off like zombies.  It's awesome.  In the summer, it's not quite like that.  In the summer, if I cooked the night before, there might be some leftover stir fry or pasta salad, but there's never that freezer bounty.  Summer foods just don't freeze like winter foods. 

In the summer, I need to suck it up and be proactive about lunch.  I need to make food specifically to freeze so that we stay in our happy homemade foods place in life and don't go back to packaged frozen lunches with all the preservatives and colorings and sodium and all.  

When I was a kid, and by that I mean 11-25, I used to eat frozen burritos pretty regularly.  You can buy them in the freezer section.  They used to go on sale for like $.69 and then you'd stock up and be all set.   This is like that, only made of food.  These might cost a dollar or two to make with real food, but a dollar or two is still a pretty cheap lunch and it's ready when you are. 

I started with the magical Spanish rice recipe from the internet that I raved about a little while ago.  I made up a batch of that, and prepped my vegetables. 

This time my vegetables were roasted corn, steamed swiss chard and some cooked black beans. You could use whatever burrito-friendly veg (or meat) you have on hand, but I'd suggest not using raw tomatoes because they don't defrost very nicely.  You could use some jarred salsa if you wanted the tomato effect.  

I sliced eight strips of cheese to be about burrito length.  I don't know why I'm acting like that was intentional, it was actually block-of-cheese-length.  The longest the cheese could get. 

I don't have great process pictures here, but lay it all out on your tortilla, a long slice of cheese, a few spoonfuls of veg filling, some rice, and add whatever else you want - I added some pickled jalepenos that I made a few weeks ago, some cilantro and some hot sauce.  Roll it up burrito style, tucking your corners in tightly.  

Wrap each burrito in foil - and no, I can't recommend a lower-waste option, so save your foil to reuse.  Shove your wrapped burritos into a large zipper bag and tuck away in the freezer until some crisis morning when there are no leftovers from last night's dinner and no salad on hand and no bread for a PBJ and just before you resign yourself to buying lunch you'll remember that there's a pile of burritos in there for days like today. 

Please forgive the phone photo, but this action shot was taken at my desk.

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