So I bought a toaster oven for work so I could bring some things in and have a hot meal at lunch. I don’t use microwaves, I don’t feel like getting into a debate as to why, I just don’t.
Anyway, so the easiest thing to pop in is frozen burritos. Which will fall into one of two categories: arguably healthy and tasty but expensive as hell, or cheap and kinda gross and lacking even the redemption of a golden, flaky, deep-fried tortilla crust.
After a couple weeks I thought to myself: surely I can do better than this.
My favorite had been the Organic Southwest Chicken Burrito (brand withheld for fear of being sued)
Here’s a general breakdown of the nutrition:
Calories: 340, Fat: 9g, Sodium: 700mg, Fiber: 3g, Protein 17g
Not bad, makes for a filling lunch when paired with salad, and a good source of protein. But costs like 4-5 bucks.
Okay, so I bought a pack of organic tortillas ($3), can of organic black beans ($1.29), organic diced tomatoes ($1.29), organic onions (from my CSA), and organic cremini mushrooms (3-something a pound, I used maybe two ounces?). Add some Tabasco sauce for flavor/heat, or substitute salsa for the tomatoes. Let’s say about 7-8 bucks worth of food.
Chopped the onions and mushrooms, mixed with one can black beans and half can of diced tomatoes, wrapped in a skillet softened tortilla, then wrapped in aluminum foil and put in the freezer. The above made 7 burritos, so that comes out to right around $1 each.
Here’s how mine stacks up against the store brand:
Bought: Calories: 340, Fat: 9g, Sodium: 700mg, Fiber: 3g, Protein 17g
Homemade: Calories: 230, Fat: 3g, Sodium: 350g, Fiber: 4g, Protein: 10g.
So the store beats me on protein, but I come out on top in every other category: price, nutrition, and flavor! And vegetarian, even, so if that’s a consideration, you’re good! Even visually, they look pretty much identical (so, mildly unappealing until you taste it). The store-bought has a bit tighter folds, but that’s just because I over stuffed mine a tad. Really, the hardest part of the whole process is stuffing the insides into the burrito without it escaping out the ends while folding it all up.
And I can certainly add chicken for more protein. In fact, when I run the numbers again assuming I’m adding a pound of chicken total to the recipe, which obviously a pound is then going to make more burritos, so assuming a final count of 10 instead of 7, that gives the following:
Calories: 258, Fat: 4.5g, Sodium: 375g, Fiber: 3g, Protein: 18g.
So if I add half a serving of chicken to each burrito that’s only about 50 cents each. And now I beat the store-bought on protein! About 80 calories less, half the fat and sodium, same fiber, and still less than half the cost. Pretty much the only thing this isn’t is gluten-free. It’s so quick to make, so easy to take to work and pop in the toaster oven. And I can make a whole week’s worth in about 15 minutes on the weekend.
What’s not to love about making frozen burritos at home!? You know exactly every single ingredient that’s going into it, no mystery “flavors” or “preservatives”. And if you have kids, you can totally trick them into thinking they’re getting not super healthy food. ;) Or if you have sudden guests show up, you can whip out a batch of burritos from the freezer and pair with some rice and salad, some salsa and guacamole, and have a great meal on the table in the 45 minutes it takes to reheat the burrito.
And for the super recycling conscious people, the plastic wrapper from the store-bought burrito isn’t recyclable, but the aluminum foil from home made is :D