Smothered Burritos

For My Brother
Aside from my mother, my brother is the only other person I've ever known who likes to eat cold leftovers for breakfast. I'm not sure who passed on this gene to us, except possibly my mother and who knows where she got it from. The truth is, no one in our entire family line has ever eaten cold leftovers.

Ranking fairly high on the list were Thanksgiving leftovers, and pizza was always a top contender, but when it came to our real favorite--all three of us loved cold Mexican food, particularly leftover burritos, and especially if they were smothered.

This is a Colorado thing--which is where I spent my early years. Unlike California where burritos are just plain big, in Colorado, burritos are always served 'wet' and usually smothered with cheese, tomatoes, green onions, and black olives. When we were growing up, whenever my mom would go out to dinner, she always brought us home her leftovers. Long before there were those cute containers with compartments, leftovers were wrapped in foil, or little tin pie plates with lids on them.

Of course, my mother's favorite restaurant was a place on the outskirts of Denver called Mickey's Inn where they made a killer burrito. Later, though, when we were much older, she discovered another place called the Blue Bonnet Inn.

I'm sure my brother has long discovered his own recipe for smothered burritos and has spent many years getting his fill of cold leftovers for breakfast, but since I whipped this dish up the other night and couldn't stop thinking of him while I was polishing off the leftovers the next morning, I thought I'd post the recipe.

By the way, they're pretty darn good served hot, too, with warmed tortilla chips and a big dollop of sour cream.

Mel's Smothered Burritos
1 pound lean ground beef
1 large onion, finely minced
1 can refried beans, warmed
6 flour tortillas, warmed
1 small can of chipotle peppers, chopped
1 can of Rotel
1 cup cubed Velveta cheese
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
salt and pepper

chopped tomatoes
black olives
chopped green onions
chopped cilantro

sour cream
tortilla chips

1. Cook ground beef with onions; add salt and pepper to taste.
2. Lay the flour tortillas flat and working with one at a time, fill with a scoop of refried beans (smoothed out) and a heaping spoon of ground beef. Roll up. Continue with remaining flour tortillas, beans, and ground beef.
2. Lightly spray a glass baking pan with Pam.
3. In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the Rotel, chipotle peppers, and Velveta cheese, Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring often, until completely melted and hot.
4. Pour a thin layer of the cheese mixture into the prepared pan and then put in the rolled burritos; top with the remaining cheese sauce, using a butter knife to work the sauce between the burritos.
5. Top with the tomatoes, olives, and chopped green onions and bake at 350 degrees until warmed through and the sauce is bubbly.
6. Remove from oven and top with chopped cilantro.
7. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from the pan.
8. Serve with sour cream and chips.


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