Let the rolling begin

I have my oven set to self-clean as I type this. It had to be done. It was making the house smell like burnt food every single time I turned it on. It has been smelling up the house for the past week or so, ever since I made the Cheesy Biscuit and Chicken Bake and it boiled over the edge of the pan. Since I had the oven running all day Saturday for baking the Cinnamon Raisin Bread and then the Sugar Cookies, the Snickerdoodle Cookies, and the Chocolate Chip Cookies you can only image how much I enjoyed the smell in my house. I did not. So the oven needed the cleaned. A simple wipe down was not enough.

My fear, however, is that the self-cleaning cycle is going to be too much on my poor dieing oven. This cheap, upgraded builder grade oven is really on its death bed. Of all of the appliances in the house, it is probably going to be the next one to be replaced. We have after all replaced the washing machine, dishwasher, garbage disposal, my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, and most recently refrigerator. That only really leaves the space saver microwave, dryer, stove/oven, spare fridge, and upright deep freezer. The dryer and the stove/oven are the ones that we are babying along. The dryer has its quirks as well. The oven, however, likes to be a pain in the backside. It is no longer cooking evenly. When I was baking the Cinnamon Raisin Bread, I had to completely move the bread to one side of the oven which I did not have to do before. I have noticed with the last couple of rounds of cookie making that I have had to bake them longer than usual. So we have progressed past uneven humped topped cakes to just obnoxious problems.

It needs to make it a little longer. I am not ready to be in the market for a new stove/oven. We are still paying on the fridge we were not in the market for. Do not get me wrong, I am totally in love with my new fridge, but that does not change the fact that I was not in the market for a new fridge when the old one decided to give up the ghost and just quit cooling entirely. When the washing machine decided to quit with the laundry still in it, full of soapy water, and a house full of nine people I was in the market for a dishwasher not a washing machine. I was not actively shopping, mind you, just window browsing. The dishwasher was dieing a slow death and I was told to figure out what I wanted to replace it with.

I had picked it out the week before. It had not gone on sale that much yet so I had not really felt the need to mention it yet. The cheapest I had seen it was about 10% off. That is not really a big savings. Then the washing machine died. When we replaced the washing machine, I got both. I love my husband. I just stepped around and said, “by the way, that’s the dishwasher I picked out.” Because I picked a cheaper washer, I got both that day. I did not feel that I was settling for a cheaper washer. I really did not want the more expensive washer. I got exactly what I wanted. We ended up spending about the same amount of money and I got exactly what I wanted and needed, a new washer and a new dish washer. I was happy and I have been happily washing dishes and laundry ever since. My dryer has been happily drying clothes ever since too. It actually works more efficiently now because the washer works better.

Alas, I digress of the real problem at hand. The self-cleaning oven and the fact that it just is not working like it should be. I turned it to the shortest time setting. We will find out in a while if it took the cooking elements in the oven the rest of the way. The one side of the oven does not ignite evenly any more. It makes it interesting. It needs to make it a few more months. That is all I ask at this point. I suppose I should start researching in the meantime so that I am not blindsided and I will know what to expect and where to find the best deals when the thing finally does become a complete safety hazard in the house. It is not leaking gas as of yet, just not cooking evenly. I am keeping my eye on it very closely.

I have finally managed to set aside enough time to start rolling burritos. Sometimes I am just so busy doing so many different things (and other things come up) that finding the time to do the “busy” work is hard. I needed to get it done, however.

There are a bit of supplies required to make a ton of burritos. Okay, so it was not a ton of burritos. Still, it was a lot. I did roll and cook eight burritos for dinner last night, so I do not have quite as many to roll today. This is just the one batch, there is still another bowl (the same size) full of filling that does not have tomatoes in it. This is just the regular burrito filling. I did a double batch essentially, one for the family and one for me without the tomatoes. 

There is nothing like feeling a sense of accomplishment when you are done. The bowl is empty and you have a lot the pans full of good, homemade food ready to go in the freezer. That is when you know the work is worth the effort. When you do not have to cook in the days, weeks, or months ahead you are reminded again why you did it, but the sense of accomplishment when you finish it is just amazing. You did this. You made this. It was not hard. It did not take a lot of time, it just took enough to require some time be set aside for it. Still it is worth it in the end.

Here we go for round two, the burritos without tomatoes. I really should have made this batch half the size and increased the family batch by the amount of the other half. I will probably do that next time because I  will not eat nearly as much as them in one sitting. Now I did pull out smaller pans to freeze mine in, however, it just means I have more pans to go through in the freezer than them. Really it will all even out because when I make lasagna they will have way more lasagna in the freezer. It all works out in the end.

Again, it takes quite a bit in the way of supplies, but it all works out in the end. The cost of the burritos really does end up being cheaper than a frozen version already in the store’s freezer case and so much better for you. The best part is that you can wrap these individually if you want. 

Again, it is a huge sense of accomplishment to have the bowl empty and all the burritos rolled. It really does not take that long. I was sitting there talking to my sister on the phone and did not notice how long it took. An hour maybe. I had her on speaker phone and just chatted away. It would be even more phone with another person to help roll them. Since I wait to roll them when the filling is nice and chilled, it does not get really messy and does not run all over the place so your hands do not get very messy at all.

All of the burritos finished and in the foil pans ready to be covered, labeled, and put in the freezer. This is not bad for a couple of hours worth of work. The best part is the kids love them.

You can serve them as is after warming. My kids like to have them served with a meat sauce. I have prepared a meaty enchilada sauce to serve over the top of them with lots of cheese. Sometimes if we are in a hurry, I heat them up and just split the top open and serve with lots of cheese. The melted cheese with the filling in side is really yummy.

All of the pans covered with two layers of aluminum foil, labeled with Sharpie with what is in them, cooking directions, and the date they were made. They are now ready to be stacked in the freezer.

Once they are frozen, I will pull them back out and use the FoodSaver to foodsave the pans for longer freeze times in the freezer. Since I use the smaller pans (cake pan size, 8×8, or smaller), the pans will fit inside the FoodSaver bags. The food does not squish out or collapse once frozen. The pan edges do crush in a little under the bag suction, but you simply reshape the pan when you pull it out of the bag before putting it in the oven. I make my FoodSaver bags longer so I can reuse them when cut off. I label on the open side of the seal so the labeling is cut off when the bag is opened. I can then use the bag again on the next size down pan. By labeling on the end of the bag, I can easily see what is in the freezer and when it was made.

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