There are so many interesting issues that come up with teens in the house and their blossoming independence. Suddenly they have a driver’s license, and either have a car, or access to one. If they don’t, someone in their friend group usually does and I found in a blink of an eye, they were off. Sometimes they are doing really cool things – going for hikes, meeting to play rugby at a park, or getting together at different community lakes around the city. Other times, they are less than interesting – like hitting the mall, or any (and I mean any) fast food joint.
I get it – the sudden ability to go places independently from your parents is a thrill – and for the first little while, I was pretty flexible with the trips to MacDonalds, or Wendy’s on the way home from school or activities. But over the last little while, it has become a habit I am not overjoyed with. A recent phone call as my son left work:
Son: “Mom – is there any food at home?”
Me: “Yes, there is leftover pork chops, a salad, potatoes, fruit, raw veggies…”
Son: “Ah, I think I’m going to stop at Wendy’s”
So, in an attempt to persuade my children to eat at home when they have that desire for fast food, I am trying to fill my freezer with more “fun food” that is also healthy and filling. My mom used to have homemade beef burritos stacked in the freezer for my brother and his friends and they were always a hit. So – with those in mind, I created a version that incorporates some veggies. In my experience, if I am not there to supervise, the boys very rarely supplement their meals with any sort of vegetable. This version of the beef burrito adds in those veggies and they are none the wiser…
In order to do this, I created a sort of puree that gets added to the ground beef. I would imagine you could use a variety of veggies, but I used a pack of mushrooms because of their dense, meaty quality and spinach – just cause it is a power pack of nutrients. I love using the food processor for this. My family does not love onion in anything, but because it adds so much flavour, I process the onion first, as fine as possible and then add the other ingredients. Once you have your puree, just add it to the meat while you are browning it and everything cooks up quite nicely. Also, the water in the spinach does cook off well, so you don’t have to worry that things will be too runny.
So I used Cracker Barrel Habanero cheese and a medium Old El Paso taco sauce to give these a little heat. Of course, you can adapt for your family and their taste buds.
The worst part of this entire recipe is the wrapping. A little time consuming – but if you are even vaguely skilled (which I am not) you will get through it in about 15 – 20 minutes. This recipe makes 20 burritos. If you are smart – you will double the recipe – cause I’m telling you, these things go like hot cakes…
I found some old file folder labels and marked each wrap with the date – but in my experience, these things don’t last long enough for us to really have to worry about expiry. Also, if you keep them in the freezer, they are pretty much edible forever.
Of course, I have to include a pithy note on each bag – just cuz. My kids would wonder if they pulled out a bag of homemade goodies from the freezer and something sarcastic wasn’t noted on the bag. As they get older, these are my secret love letters to them – and I think they know…
…love from mom in the form of food is the bomb 🙂
Beat them to the Drive Thru Beef Burritos
Fill your teens belly with these easy, yummy beef and veggie burritos - they will skip the drive thru if they know these are in the freezer
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 small onion
1 package of mushrooms
3 – 4 handfuls of spinach (you be the judge!)
1 envelope taco seasoning (or you can make a homemade version really easy)
2 tablespoons of flat leaf parsley
1 jar of taco sauce ( I use Old El Paso, Medium spice)
1 package of shredded Habanero cheese
1 cup sour cream – you could use greek yogurt too but my kids like sour cream
20 corn or flour tortilla’s
In a food processor, pulse the onion first, followed by the mushrooms and then spinach.
Brown beef in a skillet – add pulsed veggies.
Once meat is fully cooked, add taco seasoning, taco sauce and parsley.
Remove from heat – add sour cream and cheese and stir well.
Wrap burritos using approx. 2 tablespoons of filling for each tortilla.
Wrap in saran, or cling wrap individually.
BEWARE: with these in the freezer, you may have a gaggle of teens in your home at all hours. I call this a Burrito Blessing…