Monday, April 25, 2011

Build your own burrito

The first thing I do at work each Monday morning is to survey the refrigerators for weekend leftovers. As I work through each container, I work up a mental list of uses for the leftovers that I find. Many (especially rice, beans and most vegetables) find their way into soup early in the week.

The cooks did a good job over the weekend. Unlike most Mondays, where six or more containers test my ability to utilize leftovers, I only found a large container of spiral-cut ham and a small bowl of salsa verde.

My initial reaction was to cook scalloped potatoes with ham for dinner. By its self, the residents would've enjoyed the cream dish. I was all set to slice potatoes and prepare a rich bechemel when I walked by the flavored tortilla wraps at Cash and Carry this afternoon.

I quickly changed the menu. A purchased crimini mushrooms, packaged spinach and sweet grape tomatoes for the filing. Three packages of the large flavored tortilla would form the burrito wrapper.

Back in the kitchen, it took about 90 minutes to do my prep and to cook individual components for the burrito. I added brown rice pilaf and re-fried beans (from a package of Sysco dehydrated re-fried beans) to the menu for additional filler.

Once the residents started asking what was for dinner, I thought that a build your own burrito would be the best approach, as residents were trying to special order their burrito. I set up a burrito station with each ingredient at arm's reach. I built and folded one burrito for each resident to her liking.

Components for the burrito fest included:
  • 30 (13-1/2-inch tortilla wraps (10-each tomato, spinach and whole wheat)
  • 4-1/2 pounds ham, heated in oven
  • 2 (9-ounce) packages spinach, sauteed
  • 2 pounds sliced crimini mushrooms, sauteed
  • 2 pounds sweet grape tomatoes, sauteed
  • 1 pound chopped green onions
  • 2 jalapeno chili peppers, minced
  • 2-1/2 quarts re-fried beans
  • 3 quarts brown rice pilaf
  • 2 pound shredded cheese
  • 2 quarts salsa ranchera
The meal took 25 minutes to serve, almost twice the time that needed to serve 25 residents. But it was worth the extra effort. Each resident received a burrito tailored to her liking.

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