November 16, 2022. Dear Kids-“The Big Hac” not only hacks the flavors of a Big Mac® for a mouth watering, meat free bean burrito, it’s also part of a menu so secret even McDonald’s® doesn’t know about it. That’s because The Dad is the only one making it and now you’re in on the secret and can make it too!
Although this recipe was made with you kids, who prefer a more plant based diet, in mind, the inspiration comes from your cousin who, at least at one point in his teenage years, prefered a fast food based diet to any other- seemingly living off Big Macs® and Chipotle burritos- so much so, we even surprised him with 17 Big Macs® for his 17th birthday!
The Dad and you Kids have different views of McDonald’s® in our hearts and minds- mine, a happy place from my childhood for a special treat on the rare times we would eat out; and yours, a corporate peddler of obesity and heart disease. Still, when you were younger, you both couldn’t resist the Filet-O-Fish® for a certain time that just happened to coincided with this masterful jingle. I even have the cutest picture of the two of you biting into a big Filet-O-Fish® during a 2 for $3.33 promotion (we couldn’t pass up a deal like that!) on the way home from a weekend of skiing.
Hopefully, your happy Filet-O-Fish® memories and the fact that this recipe is vegetarian, or easily made vegan, will be enough for you to “give yourself a break today” and make “Big Hac Bean Burrito” for a satisfying lunch or dinner.
Diet: Vegetarian, Vegan Option
Prep Time: 27.5 minutes
Cook Time: 12.2 minutes
GET YOUR STUFF OUT
Once Fried Beans
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 large yellow onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons low sodium taco seasoning (or make your own- See The Lecture)
- 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
- 2 cans (15.5 ounces/each) pinto beans with a few tablespoons of bean liquid from each can included
- 1/4 cup of your favorite salsa, optional
- 1-2 lime(s) cut into wedges
Note- If you’re in a hurry, substitute 2 cans (15.5 ounces/each) vegetarian refried beans for the Once Fried Beans
Not So Secret Sauce
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise, sour cream or vegan equivalent
- 1/4 cup ketchup or salsa
- 1/4 cup minced pickles and/or pickled jalapeños
- 4 large (10 inches or so) flour tortillas
- 4-8 slices processed or other melty cheese or vegan equivalent
- 1/2 cup of pickle slices and/or pickled jalapeños
- 1 small head iceberg or large romaine heart, shredded
- 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced, optional
- 1 large egg or vegan equivalent, optional
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, optional
COOK AND PLAY
Play McDonald’s® Girl by The Blenders while you get your order up! I believe I’ve suggested this before, but it’s just the perfect song to listen to while you make “The Big Hac”- I mean who doesn’t want to hear about an “angel in a polyester uniform”!
1. Once Fried Beans. Sauté onion in canola onion in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once onion starts to brown, stir in taco seasoning and cook for a minute, then stir in garlic and cook for another minute. Stir pinto beans and reserved liquid, 1/4 cup salsa, if you have some, and cook for a few more minutes. Smash up some beans (I usually smash a little more than half) to achieve the consistency you like (I like a creamy texture) and continue to cook until the flavors get acquainted- about 5 minutes. Squeeze in the juice from a few of the lime wedges (serve remaining wedges with burritos) and then taste to adjust seasoning if needed. Transfer beans to a bowl and clean out skillet so it’s ready to warm and toast tortillas in Steps 3 & 4.
2. Not So Secret Sauce. Combine mayo or sour cream, ketchup or salsa and pickles and/or pickled jalapeños in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Build A Bear of a Burrito. Use the clean skillet over medium heat to warm 4 large flour tortillas (about 10”) on both sides to supple, one at a time and just before filling and rolling each burrito. Place a a slice or two of cheese, topped with 1/2 cup of beans on bottom half of tortilla, leaving space around the perimeter for tucking and rolling. Top beans with pickles or pickled jalapeños, thinly sliced red onion, Not So Secret Sauce and shredded iceberg lettuce, as you wish. Fold in sides of tortilla across from filling and hold in place with your middle and ring fingers while you use your thumbs and index fingers to pinch in and fold the bottom half of tortilla closest to you up over filling. Roll folded half, making sure to keep sides tucked in, upward to form a cylinder. Click here for a helpful burrito folding and rolling video if you like.
4. Open Sesame. If you like, brush smooth side of each burrito with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Get skillet over medium heat and coat surface evenly with 2 tsp. canola oil. Place each burrito, seam side down, in pan to toast; then flip to toast the top side with the sesame seeds, if using. Finish by toasting the remaining two sides of each burrito- 2-3 minutes per side. Serve with Not So Secret Sauce and lime wedges on the side.
Can’t Get That Song Out of My Head. When I was a kid, on the cusp of being a teenager, while other kids would sing or hum their favorite rock. pop or disco (yes, I’m that old) songs, I was singing or humming my favorite food jingles- probably explains while I was still shopping for “husky” sized (now known moe kindly as “relaxed fit”) Toughskins at Sears back then. Still, I couldn’t get the classics out of my head. Songs like Burger King’s “Have It Your Way!” (Motown comes to Burger King); Campbell’s Soup’s, short, but catchy, “M’m M’m Good!” (Spoiler Alert- Leslie is a girl!); Oscar Meyer’s double platinum hits, “Oh, I Wish I Were An Oscar Mayer Weiner”* and “My Bologna Has A First Name”, (I easily ate my weight in these meat products because of these tunes); and Coke’s® iconic “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing” (it unabashedly tries to equate Coke® with love, home, white turtle doves, honey bees and world peace) to name a few. While all these little ditties were great, the one I just couldn’t get out of my head was McDonald’s®, “Two All Beef Patties, Special Sauce, Lettuce, Cheese, Pickles on a Sesame Seed Bun”. I took great pride in learning that song and singing it as quickly as possible to anyone who would listen (you could get a free Coke® if you finished it in 4 seconds!)- Gramps and Granny, however, would probably have preferred that I impressed their friends by playing the violin or with a more refined talent- but, hey, that’s how it goes sometimes. Note- you really should click on the links to the food jingles- they are so funny and/or a telling commentary on life back in the day through the lenses of today’s eyes.
* Speaking of Oscar Mayer Weiners- do you remember the time we all went on a tour and Drive-Along in the Weinermobile? It was like a dream come true for me!
The McDonald’s® of My Youth. There were no Happy Meals® yet- you were just happy to be able to go out every once in a blue moon for a meal that was cooked by a semi-professional and all wrapped up like a present. The menu was plain and simple in its allure- burgers (28 cents), fries (26 cents) and shakes (35 cents) mostly, but anchored by two heavy hitters- the exotic Filet-O-Fish® (.48) and the legendary Big Mac® (a whopping 68 cents!). It was also an era that saw the introduction of the Quarter Pounder®, GM’s favorite Egg McMuffin® and Shamrock Shake® (when it’s in season, I always ask for the “JB Special”- half Shamrock® and half chocolate- a drinkable Thin Mint ® experience I urge you to explore); and the zany, yet slightly unsettling, cast of characters that included the likes of the Hamburglar®, Evil Grimace® (later changed to simply Grimace, trying to make it less scary to kids- like that helped!) and Mayor McCheese® (he needs to get back into politics!) to name a few, who joined forces with the equally unsettling, ®onald McDonald. Did you see what I did here- there’s so many registered trademark symbols in McDonaldLand®, as you may have noticed by now, I used one for the start of Ronald’s name. This is about as sophisticated as a Dad Joke gets. And, let’s not forget about the mysterious orange drink it doled out to charities, in its big red and yellow cooler- I have to say, this was never a favorite of mine and I always thought it was a cop out with so many better items to offer from its menu.
Sure, I mostly avoided McDonald’s® when you kids were growing up in favor of healthier options, but I was never against a very occasional visit- like for a Happy Meal®, Filet-O-Fish® or Shamrock®-Chocolate Shake, for example- and I still don’t mind a bit of Mickey D’s once in a while for myself, as long as I’m eating well otherwise.
The Greatest Fast Food Memory Of Them All. Since I’m going down fast food memory lane, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the greatest food memories I can recall, and one that lives on in our family today- the ageless 1973 Pepsi® Looney Tune drinking glasses you could get at Carrol’s, for something like 49 cents with a purchase, back when the two upstarts, Carrols and Pepsi® were trying to take on the giants of McDonald’s® and Coke®. Pepsi® has done much better than Carrols, which basically went out of business in the 70s (many stores were converted to Burger Kings® BTW), but I will never forget Carrols because of our cherished Looney Tune glasses. Don’t get too excited kids, but I suspect these glasses will be handed down to you as one of my most valuable possessions. So valuable, your Mom and I used to joked we could never get divorced because we only had one set of these glasses that we both claimed to have brought into the marriage. Funny story- after we debated the ownership of the glasses for a bit, Mom went to settle the matter by asking GM (not very objective since she’s Mom’s Mom) if she remembered the Carrols’ Looney Tune glasses. But before Mom could even ask anything about ownership, GM immediately responded with, “Oh yes- your brother has our set!”- busted!
Taco Seasoning InstaRecipe. Admittedly, I am happy to use most low sodium taco seasonings found in envelopes in the international aisle of the grocery store, but if you want to make your own, mix up 1/4 cup chili powder, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt (or to taste), 1-2 teaspoon ground black pepper, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 1 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/4 teaspoon or more cayenne pepper, if you like it spicy. Store in an airtight container until it doesn’t taste vibrant anymore.
The Combo Meal Big Hac. You may not know about the discount, called a “Combo Meal”, at McDonald’s®- when you buy any burger/sandwich with fries and a drink- but I thought it would be fun to celebrate such a deal by making a “Combo Meal Big Hac”. For this, add 1/4 cup of Coke® and 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar to the onions once browned- reduce soda and vinegar to a syrup. Then, as you’re putting the burrito together, toss some cooked fries into the middle and there you have it!
Make It Meaty. Of course, if you’re like my nephew, feel free to swap in a pound of your favorite ground animal for the beans in this recipe.
One Last Hack. I wanted a Big Mac® box to use in one of the pictures for this recipe and I also wanted to try a McDonald’s® hack I saw online. I am happy to report, not only did the nice lady at the counter happily take my Hack Order- the Big Mac® toppings on a Filet-O-Fish®- she even put it in a Big Mac® box so I didn’t have to buy a Big Mac® too!
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