Frugal Friday: Freezer Burritos

When I look for recipes to try, I have 3 basic requirements:

  1. They have to be easy – I don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen unless the yield is going to net me a full freezer!
  2. They have to be freezer-friendly – I’m a bulk cooker at heart.  I like making a LOT of something, freezing in individual or family-size meal portions, and being able to pull something out for a super-quick lunch or dinner
  3. They have to meet some standard of frugality – I admit that this standard changes at times.  I’m not looking for every meal I make to come out to a few cents a serving.  But I do need to know that I have meals that I can make even when money is tight. And I like to make meals with all the great managers specials from Kroger and the wonderful deals at my scratch and dent store.

The recipe I’m sharing today for freezer burritos meets all those criteria easily. Fix the filling, roll the shells, and wrap em up for the freezer, and you’ve got lunches ready to go for a while to come. And it is cheap, cheap, cheap!

These are a basic beef and bean burrito.  You can change up your fillings, of course, but I wanted to be able to make these Trim Healthy Mama friendly, so this is what I included:

  • 1 pound of lean ground beef, turkey, or chicken
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning mix (or make your own with Gwen’s recipe)
  • 1 can of fat-free refried beans
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (I like the ones with chilis in them for this dish)
  • 4 wedges of Laughing Cow light swiss
  • Additional spices of your own choice (I use garlic, onion, salt, and pepper)
  • 24 Olé Tortillas (high fiber, low carb

First, dice your onion and brown it in a large pan with a couple teaspoons of olive oil.
Crumble your ground meat into the pan and add your taco seasoning mix.
Mix the seasonings in a bit, then add the can of tomatoes and a cup of water.

IMG_0262Stir it all together and simmer until it starts to thicken.

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Then add in the can of refried beans.
At this point I often add in another 1/2 cup or so of water to make it easier to stir the beans in.  Simmer until thickened.

Taste it and make sure you like the flavor.  If not, add in some extra spices – I usually add in extra garlic, onion, salt, and pepper, especially if I am using a very lean meat. Without the fat, I just need more flavor.

Once you’ve got the flavor you want, add in 4 wedges of light laughing cow cheese.

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Let the cheese melt into the mixture and stir it all together.
It won’t be pretty, but it should be pretty tasty!

Again, add spices to your taste here if you need to!
Let it simmer until it is very thick, with no liquid pooling at the edges or on top.  If the mixture is too runny, it will just run right out of your tortillas. Or it will just make them soggy. You want it thick enough that it won’t just pour off of a spoon, like this:

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Once you’ve got your mixture to the right consistency, you are ready to make your burritos. To do this, I set up an assembly line.  First, open up your tortillas and get them ready.  You can use whatever tortillas you want. I use whole wheat ones for the boys, and either sprouted or low-carb ones for me.  My favorites are these Olé tortillas, which have 0 grams of fat per tortilla, but 5 net carbs. The best thing is, my local scratch and dent store (Town Talk if you are a North Texan and looking for a great place for awesome deals) had these for THIRTY-NINE CENTS A PACKAGE!!  That’s a low-carb tortilla deal that CANNOT be beaten!

ole

By THM guidelines, I can have 1 of these tortillas with an S or FP meal, or I can have several with an E meal. Since I’m making burritos with beans, I want an E-friendly burrito, so these are a great option!  You can use other tortillas, but be careful of the fat and carbs in them so that you don’t overdo them for the meal type you are eating.

Anyway, place all of the tortillas in overlapping rows.
Add the filling mixture to one edge, like this:

IMG_0276

You could add the filling to the middle, but they are much easier to roll if you start with the filling closer to an edge! Just fold a little over the filling and keep rolling.  You can tuck the ends in if you want, but I don’t bother. I also don’t put a ton of filling in, since I don’t want it to all ooze out of the ends. Just keep rolling, and eventually, you’ll have a big pile of tortillas, like this:

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At that point, it’s time to pack for the freezer!
First, though, I’ll note that with the recipe as given, these burritos each have 154 calories, 10 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, and 8 net carbs. I suppose technically, that fits FP guidelines, but I prefer to think of them as E burritos, since one of them is simply not a full meal for me. If I have 2, that’s only 4 grams of fat and 16 net carbs, a nice pulled-back E, which I am pretty happy with.  I can even have a side of brown rice or a fruit dessert with them, and that makes me very very happy!

So since I tend to eat these in pairs, I consider 2 burritos a servings.  I even wrap them that way.  here’s how I do it:

Start with a 1/2 sheet paper towel and place one burrito on each end, like this:

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Roll the two burritos toward each other until they meet.

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Afterward, wrap each serving in foil (don’t laugh at my frugal re-using of my foil!  It never actually touches the food, and since we make these a lot, re-using it makes my life easier and my grocery bill lighter!)

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After I have them all wrapped in foil, I pack them into the original tortilla bags that I started with. I know, those are not the Olé tortillas I told you about up above – it’s actually a batch I made for the boys with Mission whole wheat.  I forgot to take a pic with the Olé bag, sorry!  I think I was too busy stuffing my face with a couple of burritos (you didn’t even notice that 2 servings were missing above, did you?!)

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Now for the cost breakdown on this. Since I buy meat and canned goods when they are on sale or marked down, my prices reflect that.

  • 1 pound of lean ground turkey = $0.99 (manager’s special at Kroger)
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning mix = $0.39 at Aldi
  • Additional spices of your own choice = let’s call it $0.21 (who knows?!)
  • 1 can of fat-free refried beans = $0.75 (Rosarita on sale and with .50/2 q)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes = $0.49 (manager’s special at Kroger)
  • 24 Tortillas = $1.17 (3 packs of Ole at $0.39 each at TownTalk)

That’s $4 total, people, for 12 servings of a delicious, filling, and totally on-plan for THM meal! That comes out to just $0.33 per serving. You’re not getting burritos that cheap even if you make a run for the border!

I’m linking up to Trim Healthy Tuesday over at Gwen’s Nest and Stacy Makes Cents – come on over and check out all the goodies!

21 thoughts on “Frugal Friday: Freezer Burritos

  1. Thanks for this information! I have enjoyed having freezer burritos through the years and haven’t since THM. This will really help around here!

  2. These look great! :) I was wondering what your advice is about reheating them? I’ve made freezer burritos in the past and they always seem to come out of the microwave scalding hot on the outside and cold in the middle. What would you recommend?

    • I take these for lunch a lot, and by lunchtime, they are generally thawed a bit, so the microwave works great at that point. If they are frozen solid when I heat them, I get the same issue of frozen vs burning:-( At home, I nuke until the inside is warm, and then I transfer to the toaster oven to toast the outside and get rid of the sogginess (but I like them a little crispy).

      I also find that the amount of filling makes a big difference. I don’t like so much filling that it’s falling out the ends when I eat it, and I find that using a little less filling also makes them re-heat a little easier.

  3. Ooooh what a GREAT idea! I think Ill do this tomorrow and have them for the week. Probably save a bulnde too. Of course, turkey bacon and egg whites for me! =)Thanks for sharing!

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  5. How much did you put in each tortilla? Mine only gave me 14, I don’t think I put too much in, but I guess I did. Did you measure how much? TIA!

      • I nuke them until they are warm inside, and then if I have a toaster oven handy, I like to stick them in there long enough to crisp them up a bit.

    • Sorry for such a late response! We had a death in the family and I am just now getting back on track!

      This is a great question, and I admit that I don’t know :-( Because the tortillas are small, I don’t use a whole lot of filling or they are really hard to roll.

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  7. Have you used the Jospehs bread? Just learning about THM and wonder what I could buy at Walmart or Target for tortillas .. I love Chipotle so this makes me think of the same concept.. I’d like to try this and add peppers to mine for more crunch value.

    • I have found the Joseph’s bread at some Walmarts, but I’ve never found them at the one on Eastchase. I often get Mission Carb Balance at Kroger (I think Walmart has them as well) or I use the flatbreads from Aldi. And peppers would be awesome on this!

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