Beef and Bean Burritos — The Weekender

By: Marisa McClellan
Beef and Bean Burritos

Burritos were a staple food during the Southern California portion of my childhood. We made them at home, ordered them at restaurants and kept a few pre-made Trader Joe's bean and cheese burritos in the freezer for quick lunches and after-school snacking.

Oddly, once we headed north to Portland, burritos fell out of the rotation (replaced, I imagine, by grilled salmon). Still, I've always had a soft spot for the burrito.

Recently, while plotting out the next couple weeks of meals, I realized I have a great deal of travel in store during the course of the summer. I'm the primary cook in my household, and while my husband is more than capable of managing his own meals, I like to leave a few homemade things in the freezer for him when I'm going to be away for more than two nights.

So far I have frozen several portions of vegetable-heavy turkey chili, made a couple homemade frozen pizzas and wrapped up half a dozen homemade burritos.

Building a Beef and Bean Burrito

I took my burrito inspiration from The Pioneer Woman's recipe for Beef and Bean Burritos, though I will confess: I also added a dollop of sauteed and well-chopped kale. The recipe makes a dozen burritos, which ended up working perfectly for us. We ate half the recipe for dinner on Sunday (dressed with more sauce, topped with cheese and baked off) and popped the balance (undressed and individually wrapped) into the freezer. It was a most-satisfying Weekender.

Before you start cooking, read these tips:

— It could have been the fault of the enchilada sauce I used, but I felt like the beef filling was a bit under-seasoned. If you like a burrito with a little more spice, make sure to taste and adjust the filling before using.

— One of the great things about burritos is that you can really put just about anything into them. The Pioneer Woman's recipe is a good starting place, but feel free to improvise.

— I have found that the best way to freeze homemade burritos is by wrapping them individually in parchment paper and then tucking them all into one large, well-labeled zip-top bag. I like to use parchment paper because it is safe for both the microwave and the oven.

Marisa McClellan is a food writer and canning teacher who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her food (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her first cookbook, Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round , is now available.