Smothered Burritos

Smothered Burritos | that's some good cookin'--burrito filled with seasoned ground beef, beans and rice, then topped with spicy sauce and lots of cheese

This is my third attempt at writing this post. Seriously.

In the first attempt I started out relating an interaction that I heard between a father and his four children in Costco recently. The father had the maturity of a 12 year old boy at scout camp. I scrapped that one after the third paragraph.

The second attempt involved a dove which crashed into my dining room window and went home to Jesus. I also included about how my grandsons developed the phrase “the lonely dead dove” to refer to a bird skeleton they found in the back yard. I’d tell you more, but you’d probably throw up. Anyway, despite the uber cuteness of my grandchildren, I scrapped that one after the fourth paragraph.

Now here I am on my third attempt and I am determined to make this one work… no matter how far out in left field it goes. I tend to write my posts in real time, meaning that I grab my computer and just start writing whatever pops into my head.

The down side to this method is that sometimes I get stuck and can’t figure out what to write next. Like right now. I’m really not sure which direction I should take. I mean, I’d love to tell you a funny story or something; maybe share an embarrassing moment, or perhaps enlighten you with my vast knowledge about how to insert a catheter. Fascinating.

Hmm, okay. So catheters it is.

Smothered Burritos

Actually, inserting a catheter really is fascinating. As with the lonely dead dove, I’ll spare you the details. I will tell you, however, that learning to place a catheter was one of the scariest things I have ever had to do. I used one of my kids’ old teddy bears to practice sterile technique and catheter insertion when I was going to nursing school. I’d close myself up in the spare bedroom and practice the whole process over and over, including talking to the “patient” so as to distract he/she/it from what I was doing.

I can imagine that the scene would have worked well in Napoleon Dynamite. I’d be standing there masked and gloved, talking to a purple teddy bear while inserting a catheter into its nether regions. Yep, that would have been total ND material.

Of course, the first time that I placed a catheter in a real, live human being, it was nothing at all like the teddy bear. All I’ll say is that I had to do it in a squatting position at the bedside because my patient, a man, had had back surgery and could only lay on his side. They don’t teach you that maneuver in class!

Smothered Burritos

Later, after graduating from nursing school, I still had the practice catheter. Somehow I couldn’t part with it because it was a reminder of how hard I had worked to learn a skill that was to be an integral part of nursing. Finally one day it occurred to me that the catheter would make a great “teether” for my little grandson. He had been born the week before finals during my last semester of school and now, a few months later, he was going through the process of teething.

I gave him the catheter and he started gnawing on it immediately. It was great! The catheter had just the right amount of give and resistance to allow some really effective gumming action. He gummed on it all week long. The following Sunday, as we were all sitting in church for our worship service, my daughter whipped the catheter out of the diaper bag and gave it to the baby. I heard an immediate gasp and sputter from the elderly man sitting behind us. He was trying to tell his wife about the catheter, but he was so horrified by the situation that he could not form an intelligible sentence. I wanted to laugh out loud so badly that I could hardly contain myself. The man kept stammering and the baby kept chewing, his smooth gums making squeaky noises against the catheter. It was divine. 🙂

As usual, I have plowed through another post yammering on about nothing that has to do with the actual recipe included in the post. I mean, how could a catheter and a smothered burrito have anything to do with each other?

Actually, now that I think about it, if I had stayed with the story of the guy in Costco I could have definitely segued into the burrito. Whatever.

Smothered Burritos

Filled with meat, beans and rice, these burritos are like a casserole wrapped in a tortilla! Add a little salad of lettuce and pico de gallo and call it a meal.

Burritos are generally served without a sauce or gravy. As you can see, these burritos are covered with a spicy gravy. This style of burrito goes by several different names—smothered burrito, wet burrito and enchilada-style burrito.

This recipe is home cooking at its best. The sauce is homemade, rather than using pre-made elements such as beef gravy and a can of enchilada sauce. When I was developing the recipe I tried a shortcut by making my own gravy, but using canned enchilada sauce. When I tasted it, my mouth went into convulsions at the flavor and I threw the “easy” sauce away. Homemade is definitely the way to go.

The ingredient list for this recipe looks very long, however most of the ingredients are kitchen staples, so don’t freak out.

The black beans are super easy—open the can, dump the beans into a small colander, drain-rinse-drain. You’re done.

For the rice, I used Cilantro-Lime Rice. It gives a nice contrasting flavor as opposed to Easy Mexican Rice which has a similar flavor to the meat and spicy gravy.

The burritos can be dressed up with guacamole, pico de gallo, avocado slices or sour cream.

Smothered Burritos

Smothered Burritos

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 6 burritos

Filled with seasoned ground beef, rice and beans, then topped with a spicy sauce and lots of cheese, these burritos will leave you full and satisfied.


    Spice Blend
  • 3 ½ tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • For the Meat
  • 1 1/4 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, medium diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons Spice Blend (recipe included)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups unsalted beef stock
  • For the Spicy Gravy
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups unsalted beef stock
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 ½ tablespoons Spice Blend (recipe included)
  • Additional Ingredients for the Burritos
  • 1 (15 ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups prepared Cilantro Lime Rice, Mexican rice, or plain, cooked white or brown rice
  • 6 large (10-inch) burrito-style tortillas
  • 12 ounces Colby-jack cheese, grated


    For the Spice Blend:
  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Set aside.
  2. For the ground beef:
  3. Use a deep frying pan with a lid to cook the ground beef. Heat frying pan over medium heat; cook together the ground beef, onion and garlic, breaking up the ground beef well. When ground beef is no longer pink, remove pan from burner and drain grease.
  4. Return pan with meat mixture to the burner. Sprinkle with Spice Blend; stir well. Whisk together the tomato paste and beef stock. Pour it over the meat mixture.
  5. Bring meat mixture to a simmer then cover pan, leaving lid slightly askew to allow steam to escape. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, but the meat mixture is still moist. If meat mixture becomes too dry, add a little water or additional stock. While meat is cooking, make the spicy gravy.
  6. For the spicy gravy:
  7. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Make a roux by sprinkling the melted butter with flour and whisking together until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, just until the roux begins to turn a light golden brown and smells nutty.
  8. While whisking briskly, slowly add the beef stock to the roux. Be careful because of the steam and sputtering when the stock is added. Add the tomato sauce and whisk together. Add the Spice Blend. Whisk well. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until gravy has thickened to the consistency of tomato sauce. If it gets too thick, add a little water to thin the sauce.
  9. For the assembly of the burritos:
  10. Heat oven to 350F. Lightly butter a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
  11. Place one end of a kitchen towel on a dinner plate. Place the tortillas on the towel and cover with the remaining portion of the towel. Warm the tortillas in the microwave for 1 minute at 50% power. Check tortillas for warmth and pliability. Repeat process in microwave if necessary. An additional method of warming the tortillas is to warm them one at a time in a hot skillet. Just heat one side of the tortilla until softened and then turn it over to warm and soften the other side. Keep warmed tortillas between a folded over kitchen towel.
  12. Working with one tortilla at a time, lay a tortilla on a flat surface such as a cutting board or a clean counter top. Spoon approximately ¼ cup meat mixture, ¼ cup prepared rice and 3 tablespoons black beans a little off center across the tortilla. Fold in tortilla sides, wrap one end snugly over filling and roll up in remaining tortilla, tucking in sides as needed. Place burrito in baking dish. Repeat process with remaining tortillas.
  13. Ladle spicy gravy over the burritos. Note: You may not need all of the gravy. Extra gravy can be passed at the table. Sprinkle grated cheese over burritos. Place in oven and bake until cheese has melted, about 20 minutes. Serve as desired.


Suggested toppings: guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream and chopped lettuce.

Recipe by Terri @ that's some good cookin'

Smothered Burritos

You may also like:

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
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Restaurant-style Salsa
Easy Mexican Chicken Soup
Easy Mexican Chicken Soup


  1. Leah says

    I cannot recall when I’ve laughed so hard at a post anywhere on the internet. You’ve made an otherwise not-so-great day…a whole lot brighter. Thank you.

  2. says

    It’s 7.49 in the morning and you are making me incredibly hungry for these gorgeous burritos… I could eat my computer screen if I could. 🙂

    Sometimes the hardest part about blogging is the writing… I do very little of it as you may have noticed. I go straight for the recipe most of the time with a small introduction.

    Of course I like to read about all the Costco interactions, doves going home to Jesus and practicing nursing techniques on teddy bears stories—how totally amusing and cute. 🙂 I think I lead a very boring life… I could never come up with three story ideas for a post to even scrap. Okay.. now I’m going to go back to your photos to drool some more. 🙂

  3. Julie J says

    Terri you’re so funny! I love coming to your blog all the time and these burrito’s are on my meal plan menu!

  4. Rie says

    I so enjoy you blog. Your humor cracks me up. We can trade catheter, and other medical stories. I’m a nurse too. You can’t tell some stories to the “general public”. If you do, they look at you in shock and think you are a horrible person. However, if you tell that same story to a medical person, they will probably laugh their rear ends off, tell you how funny you are, and try to top your story with one of their own.
    This recipe looks yummy. Do you think I can freeze this? It’s just me and the hubster. If you think I can, at what stage would you recommend. Thanks again for the laughs…(and catheter memories….I have plenty..teehee)

    • says

      Thanks, Rie! You are very right about not being able to share certain nursing stories with the general public. I actually took a touch of ridicule for this one on Pinterest. A well known blogger pinned it and another pinner left a comment on the pin stating that the recipe looked okay, but that the blog post was strange because it talked about catheters. I thought about leaving a response to her, but held off for a few hours until I could think of just the right words. In my heart of hearts I did have to agree with her that it is an unusual thing to talk about on a “food blog”, but the bottom line is that I write this blog and it reflects my thoughts and my life. I do not make any money off of my blog and do not answer to any sponsors. (Although, after this post I guess that Bard would be a good sponsor –“for all of your in-dwelling and straight cath needs”.) Anyway, back to the comment from the pinner. Later in the day, I checked the pin again to see if anyone else had jumped on the let’s-shame-the-maverick-food blogger bandwagon. To my surprise, her comment had been removed, either by herself or the food blogger on whose pin board she had left the comment. Woot, woot!

      You know what, though? Medical people have lots of things to have to deal with on the job. Lots of sad things and hard things and gross things and insulting things. We have to find outlets for all of the ‘stuff’ that we hear, see and do. Humor is the one most often used, and I believe that it is the most psychologically healing. Have a good day. Thanks for dropping by to connect with me. ~Terri

      • Marie Czarnecki says

        Terri, I agree with you all the way, and being in the medical field for 23+ yrs I do understand you. Again, humor, laughter is the best medicine!!!

    • says

      Oops, I forgot to answer your question about freezing the burritos. It should be okay to freeze them without the sauce. They would do best if individually wrapped. You could make the sauce at the same time and freeze it in a separate container. When ready to use, simply defrost the burritos and the sauce and follow the remainder of the recipe for baking.

      • Rie says

        Thanks so much Terri for the advice about the freezing. Will absolutely do it.
        As for the pinned incident……I am with you. Although a catheter story might be strange on a blog post, it’s YOUR blog. As a fellow nurse, I understand COMPLETELY!!!!!!!!!!! We do deal with things the general population doesn’t (and most of the time doesn’t have a CLUE about) and we have to “blow off steam”…..It is never done with disrespect (at least I hope/believe not). Your comment about Bard cracked me up…teehee……If ever you need a “sister-nurse” to trade stories, you have my e-mail address….I’ll throw my (nurses) hat into the ring and say I have story about a patient in Halo traction and a game of “ring-toss” (with his permission!!!) SO there…..come and get me…..xoxooxxo

  5. Kylie says

    I’m making this recipe for the second time this week, doubled so I can freeze a batch! It’s my family’s new favorite 🙂

  6. says

    I am going to roll up my sleeves and tackle this “bad-boy” recipe today! How can it be anything but awesome?????
    Carry on with your’s all good

    • says

      Hi, Donna. I’m glad that you are going to tackle this one. It’s quite flavorful. It seems that Mexican recipes tend to have the most ingredients and more steps than any other recipes. I was watching an episode of Diner’s Drive-ins and Dives in which they were spot-lighting a local Mexican restaurant here in the Salt Lake area. They showed the preparation of one of the sauces and there were 21 or 22 ingredients in just the sauce (a mole). I’ve eaten that particular mole and it is amazing. I never would have guessed, though, that it had so many ingredients.

      As for the stories…they will definitely show up from time to time. They are a part of my life and life is what it is. 🙂

  7. Bobbi says

    One word..Fantastic!! This sauce is genius. I tried other sauce recipes and my husband said, ‘Don’t make that again, don’t even try.’ This one just looked perfect, and it was. I made exactly as per recipe except no Chipotle, we don’t like it. This is the only wet burrito recipe I’ll ever use again. Thank you so much!

  8. Lisa says

    I grew up in grand rapids Michigan, eating “wet burritos” from beltline bar. The BEST! I moved away 15 years ago and have lived in New Mexico and Texas with lots of yummy food but I’ve always missed the wet burritos. I had my own recipe for it that used jarred gravy and enchilada sauce, it was ok, but it was always missing something and not at all great. I’ve wanted to find something from scratch for years. This recipe is IT!! I didn’t add rice or beans to the burrito because of preference but did add diced potato. Thank you sooo much for posting this!! It is exactly like beltline bars, maybe even better 😉

    • says

      Hot diggity dog! I LOVE to hear good things about this recipe. Even though I was the one that developed it, I was as surprised as anyone at how good these burritos tasted that first time I ate them. I’m so happy for you that you have found this recipe to remind you of good memories. Best wishes, Terri.

  9. SusanM says

    We tried the spicy gravy tonight, but didn’t add the tsp of sugar it needed cuz I couldn’t find this website while I was at the store and went off this recipe on the tasty kitchen website, where the sugar was omitted from the ingredients. I actually ended up adding some cinnamon sugar toast sprinkles stuff I had on hand to try and cut the tomato flavor. Will add the sugar to the leftovers, I know it will be much better. The cilantro lime rice was delish with this–thank you for sharing and I bookmarked to try again!

    • says

      Hi Susan. I didn’t realize that the recipe on TK didn’t have the sugar in it. I’ll have to correct that! Thanks for the heads up. It sounds as though you had quite an adventure with the ingredients and ended up making a fun substitution. The cilantro lime rice is one of my favorites!

      • SusanM says

        Yes, we are trying the rice again tonight, with the last of our first batch of smothered burrito sauce. Thanks for sharing all your yummy recipes!

  10. K'Cee says

    wilt were doing resipes for class and we have to write down the ingredents for it.It sounded really good and the pictures looked delisous.and im in fifth grade so.

  11. elaine says

    thought you’d appreciate this catheter story: 45 yrs ago I was assigned to an agitated, elderly lady with dementia who needed a catheter inserted. I dreaded the procedure because of her state of mind but did my best to explain. Her only comment with a sweet smile : “what a good idea, they should do that instead of diapers for babies.”
    love this recipe!

  12. Katie says

    i never comment on any blogs but I have to on this one. I have seriously made this dish about 10 times this year. It’s by far the best burrito dish. Not only do I get to enjoy it but my friends do too because I make it for all of them when they have new babies or surgeries. Well done!

  13. Jessica says

    These burritos are delicious! 🙂 my boyfriend can be a picky eater, but he ate two and said that he would be asking me to make them again! Thanks for the great recipe!

  14. Crissy says

    I have not made this yet, but plan to soon. I just had to say this looks so appetizing and beautiful, I wish I was having it for dinner tonight. Wow!

  15. Judy says

    The pic of the smothered burrito looked sooo good, I was headed for the recipe and started reading your share. Along the same line, I laughed so hard, I’ll just say it was a leaking laugh!!! Thanks for the recipe and the laugh!!

  16. Selena S says

    I made these and they were a HUGE hit not only with my husband but my nephew who lives with us. They are even delicious/better the next day. Thank you so midi for sharing this.

  17. Outi K says

    This is heavenly! My son wants me to make this for him every single weekend!
    Thanks for the great recipe, this a a def keeper!

  18. Deb says

    I made shredded beef smothered burrito using my leftover shredded beef and refried beans so I only used the spicy gravy in this recipe . It was different than what I normally use in that I use chicken broth . But since I was making a beef burrito I wanted to try yours with the beef broth . Oh my gosh it was so good! I normally add or subtract certain ingredients but this was perfect as is! Thank you and great job!

  19. Tyler says


    I have been looking for a burrito recipe and this one is the absolute best! It was so yummy! I modify every recipe for heat but this one was so well done I needn’t do much.


  20. Rachel says

    I found this recipe yesterday and made it last night for dinner. It was SO good! I was a bit worried because I’m a working Mom and only have about 45-60 minutes to get dinner done, but everything pulled together within an hour! Also, I like spice/flavor, but not too much spice. I was pleasantly surprised that there was a lot of flavor and not much heat! It was delicious!! Thank you for a new recipe for us! I make Mexican food every Tuesday because it’s a quick dinner, but it can get old sometimes with repeats 🙂

    • says

      Rachel, sorry it has taken so long to respond. My computer crashed a few weeks ago and I have been limping along trying to recover/restore EVERYTHING. I’m so glad that you like the smothered burritos. I need to make these again, myself! 🙂 I know what you mean about the monotony of eating or making the same thing. I recently found an old family menu from many years ago and realized that not much has changed in what we eat at my house.

      • Judy Jewell says

        Time is not an issue for me I just hate having to do forty steps every time I need my Tex-Mex fix!! I cook five pounds of ground chuck with diced onion, garlic and other seasonings, then freeze portions in bags. Same for chicken. I also double or triple the rice recipe and freeze. (I cook rice in vege, beef or chick broth/stock). The meat and rice can be used for other recipes, I use it for Mexican lasagne and I make two pans, one is frozen for an emergency fix!!

  21. Krystine says

    This is SPECTACULAR! I did this with steak and my husband loved it. You are right detail to the sauce is key. Thank you for sharing 👍

  22. Kathy Alderink says

    Great recipe! My family loved both it and the story. 🙂 I used fire roasted diced tomatoes from Muir Glen which I put through my food processor to make a sauce. I think it added a smokey note which really went well with the spice blend you put together. We will have this again!

  23. Kristy says

    Just found your recipe and made them two nights ago… seriously the best burritos I’ve ever made. Sauce is amazing, reminds me of my favorite restaurant as a little girl that I’ve never been able to duplicate or find anywhere!!


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