Friday, April 30, 2010

Dinner for a friend - Bean Burrito Casserole

My friend, Weatherly, had the sweetest little baby, Kate, a couple of months ago. Yesterday I brought her dinner. She had her choice of Maggie's Magnificent Meals (just came up with that one now). Her choices were: 

  • Pulled pork tacos (porked slow cooked in a sweet sauce served with cilantro, lime, tortillas, avocado, and black beans)

  • Poppyseed chicken covered with buttery Ritz crackers and served with rice

  • Bean burrito casserole - homemade refrieds made with pinto and cannelli beans, onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and cumin. Combined with shredded monterey jack cheese in flour tortillas and baked. Also served with avocado

  • Vegetarian Spaghetti - my yummy homemade sauce that's vegetarian but so unlike marinara. It's got carrots, onions, celery, tomatoes, etc. all cooked slowly with fresh basil, dried herbs & pureed. Served with sister shubert rolls

  • Chicken parmesan - chicken breaded and sauteed, then topped with parmesan and mozzarella and put under the broiler. It's served with a basic homemade marinara and spagetti noodles.

  • She went with the burritos, a long time favorite of mine.  I served this with a couple of quesadillas for the kids, a bottle of wine for the parents, and fruity pebbles treats for all. (They're just like Rice Krispy Treats, but made with fruity pebbles instead.)

    Bean Burrito Casserole (modified from gourmet and epicurious)
    3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
    1/4 cup finely chopped onion *
    1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic, pressed
    1 can of pinto beans (I use Bush's)
    1 can of cannelli beans (also Bush's)
    1 can of Rotel tomatoes with cilantro and lime
    2 tsp cumin (go to your farmer's market for spices - MUCH cheaper and better)
    1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
    Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (oh, about 4-6 ounces) **
    ~ 8 - 10 flour tortillas***
    1 avocado, diced (optional)

    You can use any beans you want. I use these two kinds because I love them. I have used black beans too and they were just as yummy.

    1 - Open your cans of beans, drain them, rinse them, and let them drip for the next step. 
    2 - In a large non-stick pan, saute the onion over medium in the olive oil until soft (~5 minutes), add the garlic and saute another minute or so. (Try not to let either brown.) 
    3 - Add your beans, and as you mix them with the onions and garlic, smash them with the back of a (wooden) spoon. (Wood not necessary, but it protects your non-stick surface.) You can smash as much as you like. I used to do about half smashed and half not, but now I pretty much smash most of them.
    4 - Add the can of rotel (undrained), the cumin, and the cilantro. 
    5 - Mix all this together and let it cook down a bit so it's a thicker consistency.
    6 - Heat your oven to 350°
    7 - In a dry skillet over very very low, put a tortilla in the pan. You're just going to warm the tortilla to make it extra soft and pliable. This step is not completely necessary since this will go in the oven, but I do this for soft tacos and it makes all the difference there. As you take one tortillas out of the pan to load it up, add another one from the package to begin warming.
    8 - Take your tortilla in your hand, add about 3 Tbs of bean filling across the middle, add some cheese, and roll it closed. Put in a baking dish (13 x 9 or something like that). Continue until the filling is gone!
    9 - Cover with foil and heat in the oven just 10 minutes or so until the cheese is melty. 

    Serve with diced avocado. Mmm! (I think I've got a new tag line: Mmm! Maggie's Magnificent Meals!)

    For leftovers, I wrap them tightly in foil. This keeps the tortillas from getting dried out and I think they're even better leftover. I even like them cold!

    * This started with a small onion, but John doesn't like onion all that much, so I've cut it down drastically. When I was laid up with my bum ankle and he was doing the grocery shopping, he refused to buy the onion, 'cause he knew I'd put it in. That batch of burritos he LOVED. (Little did he know, I found an onion around the kitchen, chopped a very small amount it into teeny tiny bits, and added just a touch for flavor. He raved about the burritos. I think I have to be careful though. He can spot an onion!

    ** I NEVER buy preshredded cheese (not even parmesan). It takes just a minute to shred cheese and it is gobs better than that dried out junk that comes in a zippered bag. Blech to the bag!

    *** Tortillas - Have you noticed that I'm very particular about certain things? I use La Banderita tortillas. The brand is not the important part, but do NOT get the tortillas in the refrigerated section. You want the ones on the bread aisle in a bag with a twisty tie. Again say NO to the ziplock bags. Look for tortillas made nearby (these are made in Norcross). And when you get home, store them in the CUPBOARD not the fridge. They will stay fresh and soft in the cupboard.

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