Quick Comfort

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We are just back from a long weekend trip to my hometown – South Bend/Mishawaka, IN. My mom’s birthday is the first day of spring, so we usually make the trek the last weekend of our spring break. There wasn’t a lot of cooking done there – except for chocolate cupcakes which I will save for another post. My head is reeling at the moment . . . where DID spring break go? It was such a tease . . . unseasonably warm weather giving us glimpses of the summer to come, but alas, seven more weeks of school. Sigh.

After being car-bound with two kids most of this particular beautiful day, I wanted a quick and comforting dinner. Enter Pioneer Woman, some pantry ingredients, a few sorry looking green beans and a quick trip to the grocery. I am the Mistress of the Tweak (if I do say so myself). This recipe is a good example of my (sometimes questionable, sometimes brilliant) skills. I have tried many a bean burrito recipe and have found all of them to be bland until I stumbled across 16 Minute Beef and Bean Burritos. You may wonder what business a vegetarian has looking at such a beefy recipe. This is where the tweaking comes in. A little Yves Meatless Ground Round and one can of black beans and – viola – “beef” and bean burritos.

For the side, I had a handful of green beans that were a day or two away from the compost bin. Not all that appetizing, I know, but I am being truthful here. How often do you have a partial bag of some sort of random vegetable knocking around in the vegetable bin? I think they are fair game as long as they are not slimy or discolored. The green beans were as good as new after a few extra minutes in a rolling boil. Toss the beans with a little extra-virgin olive oil, pepper and smoked salt and serve next to the hearty, spicy burritos and you have quick comfort on a plate.

16 Minute Veggie “Beef” and Bean Burritos

adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

1/2 whole medium onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or epazote

1 teaspoon chile powder

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 15 oz. can reduced salt black beans, drained

1 12 oz. package Yves Meatless Ground Round (or ground meat of your choice)

1 7 ounce can Mexican tomato sauce or enchilada sauce (I use the one with the duck on the can)

salt and pepper, to taste

3/4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

4-6 large flour tortillas

a handful of cilantro leaves, chopped

Optional Filling Ingredients: Mexican Rice, Sour Cream, Guacamole, Green Chilies, Pico De Gallo

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent and beginning to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add the cumin, oregano, chile powder and garlic. Cook for about 1 minute until you can smell the spices. Add the beans, Meatless Ground Round and about 1/2 the can of sauce. Heat everything through, then season to taste. I usually add about 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add cheese and stir in till melted. Keep warm.

Heat tortillas in microwave for one minute. Pour a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a shallow casserole that will fit 4-6 burritos.

Spread about 1/2 cup of bean mixture on each tortilla. Fold over ends, then roll up. Place burritos in the casserole and drizzle red sauce over the top and sprinkle with more grated cheddar. I drizzle half of the burritos with more sauce and just put cheese on the other half. Heat in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and burritos are very hot. Serve immediately.

More tweak ideas: Skip the Yves Meatless Ground Round and use 3 cans of drained beans instead. Or substitute some sort of ground beef or chicken for the meat analogue. But, before you go for the red meat, read this: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/mar/13/health/la-he-red-meat-20120313.

Ratings:

Me:  A- (They are good, but let’s face it, they are still burritos.)

Scott:  A-

Luca:  A- (Not exactly an A.)

Alia:  C (She ate them with some prodding, so that warrants a C in my book)

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