November 21, 2010

Frozen burrito month

It’s 4:24 pm and darkness has already begun to fall. Chilly afternoons turned nights, preceded by stark, grey skies and cutting winds, it looks and feels like November- the pause before the colors of the holidays and the sounds of Christmas music. 

Time speeds up during these short, grey days and it takes a decided effort not to resort to pre-packaged meals that require defrosting on a daily basis. With deadlines and finals and Tom and mine’s ever shifting Google calendars (our half-hearted attempt to assemble some order), I admit that I’ve been woefully tempted to make November our official Frozen Burrito Month.  Then I remember that I didn’t even know what a burrito was until college and that the only form of frozen food I ever consumed as a child was French bread pizza, prepared by the occasional Friday night babysitter. Shamefaced, I return the burritos to the freezer and go to my short list of no fuss recipes.  Topping the list? Italian hamburgers.

Italian Hamburgers

If you were to ask me if I’ve ever had meatloaf, I’d shake my head, scrunch up my face in a displeased expression and say, “nope”. My mother never made such things. Until recently, I didn’t realize that the below recipe was actually an Italian rip off of the American comfort food classic. A rip off? Perhaps. An improvement? Most definitely.

As is often the case, the below measurements are approximations at best. The consistency should not be too dry, think of these as really large meatballs. Dijon mustard and peppers in sauce are good accompaniments to this quick, satisfying meal.

Makes 4 servings
1lb ground meat
¾ cup Italian flavored breadcrumbs
1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
½ onion, chopped
1 egg
3 good sized garlic cloves, minced
Hot pepper flakes

In a large bowl combine meat, breadcrumbs, cheese, onion, garlic and egg. Using your hands, mix thoroughly and add hot pepper, oregano, salt and pepper to taste.

Form hamburger patties. Place on a broiling pan covered with tinfoil.

Broil on high until golden and crisp, flip and cook the other side.


  1. Amy Gazin-SchwartzNovember 24, 2010

    Ok Nina I found this through Liz's blog, and now I'm constantly hungry! Beautiful photos, great recipes, even things I don't like (olives, nuts) look and sound good!

  2. Thanks Amy! I'm so glad you're enjoying the blog. You must try the eggplant caponata, it will change your mind about the olives... :) I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!