Lately as the weather has gotten nicer (although this last week has been pitiful!) I have been thinking of interesting homemade "fast foods" to make and keep in the freezer. Often if we're busy with work or doing projects, it's too easy to grab something out. However I don't really like the idea of eating out too often, it gets expensive and more often than not the quality of the food is not that great anyway. So, enter project homemade fast food.
To qualify under the category "homemade fast food", the dish has to be easy to prepare, relatively fast to heat up, and not require too much assembling or work. It also needs to taste really good, and it shouldn't feel as if we're eating left-overs (like lasagna would for example.) A good way to think about this would be suitable picnic food. Naturally meat-or-vegetable-filling-in-bread type dishes fit that description very well...
Last week I made all those 40 falafel balls and baked pita breads and those falafel sandwiches have been great. We've had them so much (I guess they wouldn't feed us for too long, if the zombies did show up!), I'm actually starting to get a bit tired of them, if that's even possible because they're so so good (in-laws surprisingly devoured them as well, so that's saying something considering chickpeas are not high up on their list of favorite foods!)
But anyway, next up in my quest to become super-prepared-50s-home-maker-wife-with-freezer-full-of-awesome-food, I decided to make Bean, Rice & Cheese Burritos. I figured these would be really cool; I could stuff flour tortillas with a nice filling, then roll each burrito in foil and then freeze them just like that. Then whenever we wanted a (somewhat) quick (or at least easy to prepare) lunch or dinner, we would just pop those frozen packages in the oven and leave them there for 40 minutes or so. Serve with salsa and sour cream and hopefully these burritos would be better than any fast-restaurant-lunch out there, and we'd know what they were made of (as in no weird stabilizers, hidden calories, antibiotics or whatever!)
When debating about the filling I decided to go for simple rice, beans and cheese. Why? Because sometimes simple is best, and I have tons of homecooked pinto beans in the freezer I wouldn't mind using up. I sautéed onion, red pepper and garlic with lots of spices and added cooked beans and rice and that made our filling. Enter lots of cheese and you have the most awesome vegetarian burrito.
These turned out great. I love them because First of all they turned out super tasty. Secondly, they were cheap to make. Thirdly, they're vegetarian (I don't mind eating meat, however I think it might be a good idea to not consume too much and too often, especially since the quality of meat these days is pretty low for the most part!)
So now I have several burritos in the freezer ready to be eaten. I love how the packages are so contained, and that they require no preparation or thinking (to make falafel sandwiches is a bit more work, but not much.) Now my mind is racing with other awesome burrito fillings; I'm thinking slow cooked pork would be wonderful, chicken is nice of course, maybe a variation on beans and more veggies? How about sautéed cabbage, lentils and rice with adobo sauce? There are so many options, and wouldn't it be neat to have the whole freezer (lucky we have a lot of freezer space!) full of them!
[And yes, I know I'm probably getting a bit too excited here... after all we're talking about frozen burritos and not some new awesome scientific discovery, but let's just go with it, OK?]
I'm also trying to come up with other good freezable "homemade fast food" dishes to make. I'm thinking pirogues, meat or mushroom stuffed breads, little pizzas... And as the weather gets nicer, who really feels like cooking too much anyway? In other words, I should prepare a whole bunch of stuff NOW. Any ideas? It also would be cool to make something that isn't so bread-heavy, however I'm having trouble coming up with practical, easy to eat dishes that aren't wrapped in lovely carbohydrates.
Recipe of bean, rice & cheese burritos available at The Culinary Review, complete with compartmentalized calorie & cost information.