Sunday, February 22, 2009

Homemade Frozen Burritos

Homemade Frozen Burritos

1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 can rinsed black beans, or 2 cups of rehydrated and cooked dried black beans
shredded cheese (I use either cheddar or monterey cheddar, but you could use something else)
flour tortillas (taco size can be hard to roll, so I'd suggest the burrito size)

Brown ground beef/turkey and drain (you can also rinse the meat to get rid of residual grease if you so desire). Add the meat back into the pan with the black beans and follow the directions on the back of the seasoning packet.

Once the meat and beans are done cooking in the seasonings, it is time to roll your burritos. Microwave a couple of flour tortillas in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds so they are more pliable (don't do more than a couple at a time so they don't dry out or get hard). Place a couple spoonfuls of taco meat and the desired amount of cheese on top of each tortilla. Roll, being sure the ends are tucked in (see picture to the left), and wrap in saran wrap. Place in a freezer ziploc bag and pop into the freezer (I use a gallon sized ziploc and place all the burritos in it). When you want to use the burritos, pull out as many as you need from the freezer and microwave 2 to 3 minutes, or until they are heated all the way through.

***Note: If you have leftover, unseasoned rice, you could also add it to the ground beef before seasoning with or with out the beans. It'll help stretch the meat in the same way the beans do.

"Scratch" Out Store Bought Conveniences

My husband and I are currently in college, and a lot of my friends have asked how we manage to keep a low food budget. My answer is always the same question. Do you buy a lot of convenience foods? You know like frozen pizzas, Hot Pockets, stuff like that? We rarely do. Instead, we make it from scratch. A lot of the foods you can buy down the frozen dinner aisle can be made in your own kitchen. This turns a lot of people off because they "can't live without their conveniences." If you fit into this category, I'd challenge you to give it a try. Start with something simple. Make a batch of homemade burritos (I'll post the recipe) and freeze them. Then just pull out however many you need and microwave them. Voila! Mock convenience food with a greater taste, but without the preservatives and at half the price!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Anytime Muffins

Anytime Muffins

1 Egg
1/2 C. oil
2 C. Flour
1/2 C. Sugar
3 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp salt
1 C. Milk

Mix all the wet ingredients first. Sift together dry ingredients and mix until blended well. Fill muffin tin either lined or greased 2/3 full . Bake at 400* for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
makes 1 dozen.

You can fill muffin cup 1/2 way add a spoonful of your favorite jam and then top with remaining batter for a yummy jelly filled muffin. (I did this and they were so yummy!!!)

Cutting Down on Protein Expenses

There are a couple of ways that you can cut down on how much you spend each month on meat. One method is to watch the advertisements for stores in your area and stockpile when the meats you use are on sale. All you do is repackage the meet in the serving sizes you would use it in and freeze it. Then when you're ready to use it, you just thaw it out and cook it like normal. Another method is to browse the discounted meat section. You might not always find a good deal, but every once in a while you'll find expensive cuts of meat at a fraction of the price.

Because both of these ideas deal with sales or clearance, let me remind you that just because it's on sale doesn't mean the meat is at it's lowest price. To find out, check out the other stores in your area or keep an eye on the price of the meat each week. Soon you'll know what the low and high prices are.

The last tip I have for you is by far my favorite. It is to use meat stretchers in your recipes. For example, if you're making tacos, you could combine 1 can of rinsed, canned black beans with the browned ground beef before adding the seasoning in. You'll have almost twice as much protein than you would have had before adding the beans. Vegetables work great as fillers when you want to stretch your protein, but when you don't want to add produce, you could serve bread, pasta, or rice with smaller portions of meat to help fill the empty stomachs you are feeding.
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