Healthy Bean Burritos

October 26, 2009

Yes, we all have them. Those frozen brick-like burritos in our freezer. They're so handy for husbands and teenagers to grab in a single serving size and throw into the microwave. But why settle for prepackaged foods when you can keep these on hand? Individual vegetarian burritos are perfect for quelling takeout cravings and eating in a jiffy! ANd you control the ingredients that go into them. Perfection!

Healthy Bean Burritos

3/4 cup rice (brown or white)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalapeno chile, chopped (ribs and seeds removed, for less heat)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 bag frozen corn kernels, (10 ounces)
6 scallions, thinly sliced
8 burrito-size flour tortillas, 10 inches each
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

To Prepare

- Cook rice according to package instructions; set aside.

- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add onions, garlic, jalapeno, and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add tomato paste, and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

- Add beans and 1 1/2 cups water; bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. Add corn; cook to heat through, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in scallions.

- Heat tortillas according to package instructions; fill with rice, bean mixture, and cheese.

- Assemble: Mound 1/4 cup rice, 3/4 cup bean mixture, and 1/4 cup cheese on one side of tortilla. Fold, and hold in sides. Starting from filled end, holding sides in as you work, tightly roll into a bundle. Place on a baking sheet, seam side down, and prepare remaining burritos.

To Freeze
- wrap individually in plastic and freeze up to 3 months.

To Serve
- take from freezer and remove plastic.
- Wrap with damp paper towel and heat in microwave for 3-4 minutes until heated through.

*recipe and photo from Everyday Foods


Reader Question: How I Freeze

October 19, 2009

Here's a reader question from Emily B.

Q: I was wondering when you do freeze meals. Do you make a meal double and freeze the other one, or do you make a week’s worth of meals on a Monday, or how does this work for you? Thank you for your time and the great blog! Emily

A: It can be done many different ways. And it all kind of depends on the amount of freezer space you have.

Last year we lived in a single floor apartment that was very small so when I froze meals I would make two to eat that night and one to freeze. I would do that weekly and then always eat a freezer meal on Monday nights. That meant a constant rotation of meals through our small freezer and a day off for me at least once a week.

We have now moved to a Townhouse with an attached garage which houses our full size, stand up freezer. Now I have the freedom to spend one entire Saturday assembling meals and have enough for a month's worth. I can also make large batches of cookies, side dishes, meatballs, etc.

Hope that answers your question!


Reader Question: Freezing Pizzas

October 12, 2009

Today I wanted to answer a great reader question. Katy B asks...

Q: I wanted to email you to ask about freezing pizzas, so when I checked your site and saw the pizza dough I thought you had read my mind! What I'd like to know though, is if it is possible to create frozen pizzas. I'd like to premake some individual sized pizzas for my son and pop them in the oven - - if it's possible to do that at home, what tips should I be aware of?? Or what's the very most I could freeze together - perhaps just dough with sauce on it or any toppings, but no cheese (to be then added later).

A: The difficulty with freezing entire pizzas is the sauce. You would have to experiment a lot with different sauces. The problem is that tomato sauces have all different amounts of water content based on the tomatoes used. For instance, my hubby and I prefer a very fresh tasting red sauce, but that does not freeze well since fresh tomatoes will expel a lot of water when baked from frozen. So you have to experiment with sauces with a much more pasty base. Where the water content has been reduced prior to freezing by using sauce more resembling tomato paste.

Yes, it can be done, but might require work on your part and the consuming of a lot of watery pizzas. Please let me know if you find one that works!


Healthy Pizza Night

October 5, 2009

My husband and I started the South Beach diet a few years back and looked and look for a great whole wheat pizza crust recipe to call our own. Look no further...Martha Stewart delivers with this easy and healthy recipe that even your kids will love. With this recipe you can freeze balls of dough or, even more convenient, shells. With one batch of dough, you have enough to make two large pizza shells or eight individual ones.


1 1/2 cups warm (115 degrees) water
2 packets (.25 ounce each) active dry yeast
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for bowl
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for kneading
2 cups whole-wheat flour (spooned and leveled)

To Prepare
- Place water in a large bowl; sprinkle with yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Brush another large bowl with oil.
- In bowl with yeast, whisk sugar, oil, and salt. Stir in flours with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms. Transfer to oiled bowl; brush top of dough with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let stand in a warm spot until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface. With floured hands, knead until smooth, about 15 seconds.

To Freeze & Serve

For 2 large pizzas:
- Divide into two balls. Set balls on a plate (they should not touch); freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Then freeze in a freezer bag up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in refrigerator.

- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly oil a large baking sheet; set aside.

- On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin and your hands to roll and stretch dough to a 15-by-10-inch oval (if dough becomes too elastic to work with, let rest a few minutes). Transfer to prepared baking sheet.

-Top with sauce and desired ingredients. Bake until crust is golden and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

For 8 personal pizzas:
- Divide each ball of dough into 4 pieces. Using your hands, stretch each piece into a 5-inch disk (if dough becomes too elastic to work with, let it rest a few minutes).

- Freeze shells on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Stack frozen shells between layers of parchment paper. Freeze in a freezer bag up to 3 months.

- Turn a large baking sheet upside down; rub with oil. Spread sauce and desired ingredients on pizza shells. Bake until crusts are golden, 18 to 20 minutes.

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About This Blog

A new recipe will be posted each Monday and, of course, you can always search the archives by category.

The Goal of this blog is not just to give you my recipes, but to teach you which ingredients freeze well, which don't, methods and tips to help you freeze your own recipes...because who knows better what your family likes than you?

Do you only cook organic? Great! Are you a vegetarian? No problem! Make what works for you and save time, money and (let's be honest...stress) while doing it.

The Freeze Happy philosophy has made my life better and I'm pretty sure it can improve yours too.

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