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Beef Mushroom Burrito Means Back to School is Around the Corner

As part of my continuing experimentation with this whole blend and extend thing, I have discovered another recipe that is improved by the addition of mushrooms. The mushrooms release liquid that keeps the filling from drying out and it really does make your meat go a lot farther.  I managed to make 7 burritos using only 300 grams of beef and because this filling doesn't have to hold it's shape like a meatball, I think that you could even up the mushroom to beef ratio in this recipe without any trouble. I am going to try it half and half next and will report my findings. If anyone tries it first, please let me know how it went in the comments.

As August comes to a close, I start to panic about the lunch sitch with The Kid and I am suddenly obsessed with the need to stock the freezer with lunch items. It's like a foodie mom's non pregnant nesting or something and I can't stop until I know that I have enough food for at least three lunches/dinners a week for September. A sandwich or two a week won't kill him but September is not only back to school, it's also TIFF and that is my busiest time of the year so I have to worry about dinner too. I can't deal with stressing out about what they are going to eat while I am off babysitting movie stars, so I cook.

There is no real recipe for a burrito. You can do the whole thing with nothing but leftovers. Leftover meat or fish, leftover rice, some cheese, some leftover grilled veggies and maybe a splash of salsa, heat it up in the oven or on a frying pan and you've got yourself a burrito, right? This is a recipe for a meat filling that would also be great in a taco but for today, we are turning it into burritos that you are going to pop in the freezer.

The actual trimmings you put into the burrito are really up to you, as are the amounts. If you like them super cheesey, add more cheese. If you prefer a different kind of cheese, use it. If you want to make your own refried beans, knock yourself out. I don't like to add guacamole unless I am making them to eat right away because I don't like what happens to avocado when it's frozen and thawed but you might not care about that. You could add some leftover corn, chopped tomatoes or grilled peppers if you have those lying around. It's really up to you. Don't even start with me about the cilantro. It's not your fault, it's your brain that makes you think it tastes like soap so just leave it out and stop making that face.

Beef Mushroom Burrito

This recipe makes approx 7 or 8 good sized burritos

300g ground beef
100g button mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 generous tbls cooking oil
3 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper
1/2 cup rotel (Canadians who can't find rotel can sub in one diced plum tomato with about 1/4 cup of salsa to make about 1/2 cup total)
1/2 cup chicken stock
handful of cilantro

to make the burritos:

10" flour tortillas
can refried beans
approx 2 1/2 cups of leftover rice (or cook fresh using 11/2 cup of dried basmati rice)
about 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco (sub in mild feta if you can't find it)
about 1/2 cup sharp cheddar


Grind the mushrooms in the food processor. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium and saute the onion for a couple of minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Next, add the ground mushrooms and ground beef, smashing the meat down with a wooden spoon, until all of the pink is gone. I don't like big chunks of meat so I really squash it down with my spoon as I stir it while it's browning.

Next, throw in the chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and stir well to coat the mushroom/meat with the spices. Stir in the rotel and the chicken stock, cover and turn the heat to med low. After five minutes, take the lid off, turn it back up to medium and let it simmer lightly for another five minutes. It should thicken up nicely. Stir in the cilantro and set aside to cool. (unless you are serving them immediately- in that case you don't have to cool it)

If your flour tortillas feel stiff, put them in the microwave for about 15 or 20 seconds to soften them up, one at a time as you go.

Lay your tortilla on your countertop or cutting board.
Smear some refried beans down the centre.
Lay a big spoonful of rice on top of the beans (the bean and rice layer helps to absorb the juices from the meat so your tortilla doesn't get soggy)
Next is a layer of beef/mushroom and finish that up with some queso fresco and cheddar.

now, fold the flap closest to you over the top and then sort of tuck it under the filling, pulling the filling towards you. Fold in the sides and continue to roll it up snugly, tucking bits in as you go. If you like you can spend some time watching youtube tutorials on how to do it but you will find that everyone has their own technique and they all seem to work so, just make sure the sides are tucked in so filling doesn't fall out and go to it. You will figure it out.

Once you have all of them made, you can freeze them or eat them right away. If you are eating them right away just skip the microwave part and heat them up in the frying pan for about 3 minutes per side until lightly brown and toasty.

To freeze, put them all on a baking sheet that fits in your freezer and flash freeze them for about an hour or so before putting them all a couple of freezer bags. When it's time to eat one, remove one from the freezer bag, pop it it into the microwave on a piece of paper towel and cook on high for  2 to 3 minutes. While it's defrosting/cooking in the microwave, warm up a pan over med heat and oil the pan using spray oil or just add a tiny slurp and wipe it around with a paper towel. Heat the burrito for a couple of minutes on top and bottom, starting with the seam side down,  until it's lightly browned to crisp it up a bit and remove any moisture that is left in the tortilla, making it limp.

As far as packing them for lunch goes, if the kid is happy to eat it cold, I wrap it in foil and put it in his lunch bag with a freezer pack but if he is planning to heat it up at school, I use parchment first so he can remove the foil and throw the parchment wrapped burrito in the microwave. If you don't trust your kid to not set the school on fire by forgetting to remove the foil, wrap it in parchment and throw it in a plastic storage baggie.
Nobody wants to be the mom of the kid who put the foil in the microwave.

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