Since many gluten-free products use rice (or brown rice) flours, I’ve wasted more money than you might imagine on foods I hate. There’s just something about rice flours that cause my taste buds to rise up in rebellion, which is weird because I like rice. But when it’s ground up and added as one of the first ingredients in anything, I cease to like it.
One of the first things I purchased after having to give up the gluten was a package of brown rice flour tortillas. I couldn’t even get one down before the rest wound up in the trash. Alas, I thought, no more wet burritos or taco salad bowls for me. No more well done (as in just shy of burned) tortillas with butter (as a bread substitute) at meals.
But then… What’s that I see? On the specialty shelves in the frozen food department I spied a package of small tortillas that looked like the ones I used to buy. But…$5.00??? By this time, as I’m sure you might imagine, I’m fed up with spending a small fortune on foods I’ll wind up tossing out.
But they look real…
I’m not sure how long I stood there arguing with myself…yes I’m going to try them/I’m not buying them for all the tea in China. But the lure of their appearance of being real – not to mention the fact that the first three ingredients were water, tapioca flour, and potato flour. Sweet rice flour was the fourth ingredient…meaning it wasn’t one of the first three, finally did me in. Into my cart went one package of Udi’s Plain Tortillas.
When I got home the first thing I did was warm up some bean dip (the name my mother gave to a ground beef/hot sauce/refried beans/cheddar cheese thing our family likes). Then I whipped out my little cast iron pan and heated up a couple of the tortillas and…
They tasted like the real thing!
I normally wouldn’t have used a third one, but I was willing to be too stuffed for a while because I needed to see if they tasted good with butter. Yup. Perfect. My taste buds danced in delight.
Then I realized I could have sandwich wraps again!
So I’m sitting here tonight thinking, I sure wish I had everything to make a wet burrito. It was almost eleven-thirty, and I’d only eaten once today and was getting kind of hungry. And that’s all that sounded good. Then I thought, I do have some pre-cooked ground beef (info to follow) in the freezer. And I do have some salsa and cheddar cheese. So I thawed a little beef, dumped in some salsa and cheese, and heated it in the microwave while I warmed a couple of tortillas.
My taste buds danced again. While I love corn tortillas sometimes, flour have always been my favorite. I like to cook them so they have super dark brown spots all over them. I don’t know why they taste so good to me…but they do.
And now, though they’ll be like mini wet burritos, they are definitely going to be on the menu next week. I can hardly wait.
Now for the pre-cooked ground beef information I promised.
I really enjoy a blog called A Slob Comes Clean. I found it this past summer while looking for motivation to start getting rid of stuff in my house. After fourteen years in my last home, I bought a house that has almost no storage. There’s actually more floor space, but no basement, a double garage that has mice, and my total closet footage probably isn’t as long as two regular sleeping bags laid end-t0-end. So what worked when I lived in town is way too much stuff out here. So I just love reading about how she’s decluttered her house because it puts me in the mood to downsize my stuff.
But one of the things that’s impressed me is the way she pre-cooks and freezes ground beef.
I dragged my heels on this for a couple of months. I hate ‘leftover’ ground beef, and if I cook and freeze it, then I’m just going to have a bunch of leftover hamburger that I’ll probably wind up throwing away.
Still, one day I thought what the heck, bought three pounds (if I was going to toss it, I wasn’t tossing much). I threw it in a frying pan with some dried minced onions, unprocessed Celtic sea salt, and some pepper, cooked it, and poured it in a colander to let it drain until it was cool enough to handle. Then I squeezed every drop of remaining grease out that I could, packaged it in zip top bags, and put them in the freezer.
And the very next day, per Nony’s instructions, I thawed just enough so that I could break it up and add it to whatever it was I’d planned for supper. As long as you don’t actually cook it twice, just heat it up in your gravy, sauce, or whatever…it tastes like you just made it.
This stuff is great when you’re pressed for time, or just having a lazy day. You can whip a meal up in the time it takes to cook your pasta.
My favorite way to have it…when my son is eating something I can’t have…is to put a little water and half a bullion cube in a bowl, nuke it til the cube dissolves, and then add a little of the frozen beef and a little cream cheese or sour cream. Heat it up, serve it over instant potatoes, and I’ve made my supper in about five minutes. It’s so much faster than investing thirty minutes to drive to town, wait in the drive-thru for a bun-less burger (which may or may not be contaminated with gluten), and wind up with something I didn’t want anyway.
*Photos courtesy of www.morguefile.com