Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bean and Chicken Burritos

There is time in every person's life that surviving on frozen bean burritos isn't such a horrible thing.  They are fast, easy, and convenent.  I will admit that I have bought a package, maybe a couple, OK, a lot of frozen burritos after my married life began.  I would serve them up to my husband for dinner; many of you (you know who you are) have done exactly the same thing.  Lucky for me, he was still at a point in his life that he was OK with sustenance based on a frozen concoction of beans and processed cheeses wrapped in a flour tortilla and served with a side of whichever condiment was in the refrigerator (for him it was mustard, for me hot sauce) and he ate it with a smile.

Fast forward a few years and things have changed a little bit.  Sure, I can still eat a frozen processed burrito and not bat an eye, but the thought of serving them up for dinner to my three sweet children who are dependent on me to eat nutritional meals that will nourish their brilliant minds, is enough to make me shudder and vow to never serve another frozen burrito again.  Until, that is, I stumbled upon a brilliant bean burrito recipe by none other than Melanie at Mel's Kitchen Cafe. 

This recipe has simple ingredients, with many flavors, that meld together to form a tasty burrito that is far superior to any store bought frozen one out there.  What I love most about this recipe is that it can be changed depending on your tastes.  The original recipe is meatless, perfect for vegetarians or those of us who want an inexpensive meal, or you can add shredded meat for some extra flavor.  Switch up the spices or the cheese, add more peppers or leave them out all together...you get the idea.  It is a simple recipe, with simple ingredients and for that I love it very much!

Bean and Chicken Burritos
Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe, modified by A Cook's Quest

4 cups cooked rice (I prefer brown)
2 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 can of green chiles (or you can use jalapenos if you like)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cans (15 oz. each) pinto beans, drain the juice from one of them (or make your own which would be much more cost effective)
1/4-1/2 cup water if needed
1 (10 oz) package frozen corn or 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
24 burrito-sized (10-inch) flour tortillas
2 cups cheese of choice
1 1/2 pounds shredded chicken or meat of choice if desired

Shredded Chicken
Place 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts to your slow cooker. Add 1/4 cup chicken broth cover and cook on low until the meat shreds apart easily. Add 1 tablespoon chili powder and 1 tsp cumin and keep warm until time to assemble burritos.
**This works well for any kind of Mexican themed chicken dish. Tacos, enchiladas, tostadas etc.


Cook rice; set aside. Meanwhile, heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, jalapeno and chili powder. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened.   Add tomato paste and cook, stirring for 1 minute.

Add one can of beans and mash gently in the pan (a potato masher or fork works great here). Add the second can of beans with the juices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10-12 minutes. Be careful not to let the mixture stick to the bottom of the pot. If needed add about 1/4 c-1/2 c water.  Add corn; cook to heat through, 2-3 minutes. Stir in onion and garlic powders. Remove from heat and stir in cooked rice.

Heat tortillas in microwave for about 30-45 seconds or on a flat griddle until they all are warmed through.

Fill each tortilla with about 1/4 cup beans, 1/4 cup rice and 1/4 c chicken.  Top with cheese and roll up, making sure to tuck the ends. 

Serve warm immediately and top with your favorite toppings.  If you want to freeze these for later, place burritos on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid.  Then wrap in saran wrap or tin foil and store in freezer bags until ready to eat.

Mel's Directions to reheat from frozen:
Remove plastic wrap from the burrito. Poke holes in the top several times with a fork. Microwave on high for two minutes. Gently poke a few more holes in the burrito and microwave for another minute. Be careful as the burrito will be piping hot!

Total Cost $10.05 or $.42 each
Rice $.50
Oil $.05
Onion $.20
Green chiles $.25
Spices $.20
Tomato paste $.25
Pinto Beans $3.38 (Next time I will make my own)
Corn $.50
Flour tortillas $2.22
Cheese $2.50
Shredded chicken Free (purchased with catalinas from Albertson's a while back)
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