Ground Beef, Rice & Cheese Freezer Burritos
This post is sponsored by Dairy Farmers of Canada.
These freezer burritos are an excellent protein-packed, wholesome meal to have stocked in the freezer. Great to keep on hand for 5-minute dinners. They are warming and satisfying. They’re also great lunches to take to work.
November is a pretty dreary month in the pacific northwest. It’s probably the rainiest, and the time change means it’s dark at about 4:30 pm. I’m usually too excited about the holidays to let it get to me like it does in January, but I do notice a downward shift in my energy level. Getting the protein into every meal and snack help sustain energy through the darker days. And, especially on these short, dark days, I notice a huge difference when I’m getting out every day in the fresh air vs. when I’m not.
Even when I’m really tired, spending some energy (often begrudgingly) actually gives me much more energy for the rest of the day. Just a quick jaunt around the block to get my heart pumping considerably affects my mood and stress level and how strong I feel.
Because right before dinner is really the only time I find to get out, streamlining the evening meal really makes the difference between going and not going. I find that planning in advance, giving my freezer a workout with pre-made meals, leaning on leftovers, and keeping a well-stocked fridge (I always have two kinds of yogurt, whole milk, plain kefir, and several kinds of cheese for quick meals with protein) go a long way.
The recipe is truly one of my clean-out-the-fridge recipes, which means it is very flexible. A base of whole wheat tortillas and (quick-cooking) brown rice bulk the burritos up with fibre, then full-fat Greek-style yogurt and cheese (with Canadian milk) amp up the protein. (A protein-rich post-exercise meal helps to build and repair those tired muscles ?).
To assemble, I start with a generous swoosh of yogurt – I use the 10% milkfat kind here because it is so thick and delicious. It binds all the other ingredients together for easy rolling, and serves as a yummy, creamy sauce once heated. Store-bought salsa adds some heat and acid, and whatever veggies I have on hand get tossed in. This time it was leftover grilled corn (technically a grain) but I’ll typically load them up with sauteed greens, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, roasted root vegetables – really, anything goes. The only thing to be careful of us not to over-stuff. You’ll learn after the first one how much you can fit in the burrito and still close it comfortably.
Once rolled, wrap your burritos in aluminum foil and stash them in big freezer bags. They can be reheated individually in the microwave or in bulk in the oven. Serve with more yogurt and salsa for dipping, if you like.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- Kosher salt
- 1 tbsp chili powder the chili spice mix, not ground cayenne
- 1 ¼ cups raw cup brown rice I use par-boiled to make it quicker
- About 2 ½ cups full-fat or higher Greek-style Canadian-milk yogurt
- About 3 cups roasted grilled or steamed vegetables
- Store-bought salsa to taste
- About 2 ½ cups grated Canadian cheddar cheese
- Handful of cilantro leaves
- About 16 small whole wheat or white flour tortillas or 8 large (you may fill more or less depending on the veggies you use and how snugly you pack them)
- Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add beef, ½ tsp salt, and chili powder. Cook until beef is no longer pink and is starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare brown rice according to package directions.
- Spread a thick layer of yogurt on the first tortilla. Top with a spoonful each of rice and ground beef. Add veggies and salsa, then sprinkle generously with cheese, resisting the urge to over-stuff. Finish with a few cilantro leaves, then fold over either side by about ½”, then roll it up. Repeat until the ingredients are all gone. Wrap burritos snugly in aluminum foil and pack into freezer bags.
- To reheat from frozen, remove aluminum foil and microwave on high power for about 2 minutes on each side (or until centre is steaming hot; 165ºF) or reheat a family batch in a 350º oven. No need to remove the aluminum foil. Allow about 20 minutes for small burritos, or up to 40 minutes for large.