I lost my grocery receipt, so I can’ t give accurate numbers on every aspect of our Big Cook, but I thought you might like a few updates and notes. I’m thoughtful that way.
Breakfast Burritos: total cost $17.50, 52 burritos (33.6c each, made with great cheese, real sausage, organic free-range eggs, versus $1 minimum for fast-food of questionable extraction); rough savings: $34.50
- 2 pounds Colby-Jack cheese
- 2 pounds breakfast sausage
- 3 dozen “home” eggs
- 52 flour tortillas (which I found for $1/10 at our WinCo!)
These were easy as anything. I soft-scrambled the eggs (our own “home” eggs, and additional eggs purchased from a “home” egg hobbyist north of us), browned the sausage, and then mixed the two together with grated cheese. A brief heating of the tortillas made them flexible enough to wrap easily around about 1/4 cup of the egg mixture. Rolled up burrito style, they hung out on a baking sheet until I was finished, and could wrap them in pairs for the freezer (sorted into gallon-size zip bags.)
I like the smaller size of a regular tortilla; our Littles will eat one or two, as their appetite strikes them, and the Bigs can enjoy two very easily. They reheat in minutes in the microwave (unwrapped first), and have been a tremendous help in getting our mornings started (and also for a few fast suppers!)
Next time I do a big batch, I want to make two changes: I’ll add fine-diced, roasted potatoes (Yukons or Russets) and use ham dices instead of sausage. The potatoes add great flavor and a bit more substantiality, plus being a great way to stretch the other ingredients. I expect the cost-per-burrito to actually decrease a tad! The prep time for the potato version will be a bit longer, of course. Even if a person didn’t have 2 hours to do a huge batch, taking half an hour to make and roll a dozen or so would surely ease a week of breakfast time! (Big Cooking doesn’t have to be done all at once!)
Beef, Black Bean, and Cheese Soft Tacos: total cost $50 (62c per taco, versus $1.49 for basic take-out soft tacos of unknown origin, and no black beans); rough savings: $69.20
- 80 flour tortillas
- 7 pounds home-ground beef (from a chuck roast)
- dry cumin, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper sauce to taste
- 2 cans black beans, rinsed (I’d like to do these from scratch next time, but S&W are great for store-bought.)
- 3.5 pounds mixed cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, home-grated (used our Kitchen-Aid grater attachment for the first time: brilliant!)
Seven pounds of ground beef, plus beans, takes up a pretty big pot. I wanted to have a somewhat distinct cheese layer, and anyway, I couldn’t mix in cheese without making a huge mess, so I struck upon a rather clever method: I spread half the meat/bean mix at a time in a jellyroll pan, then topped it with a thick layer of shredded cheese. I could then “cut” out a heaping spoon full (probably about 1/4 to 1/3 cup), and get the meat/bean and cheese strata I wanted! As we rolled tacos (burrito style, with closed ends), I set them in a cake pan and kept them covered with a kitchen towel to prevent them drying out while we worked on assembly. I wrapped them in the same sort of pairs as the breakfast burritos.
These could have been significantly cheaper had I gotten a great sale on beef, or used pre-ground beef, but I’m pushing it to make my Beloved eat tacos, anyhow, so having top-notch meat filling was a salve to his Neanderthal taste buds. (And I like knowing it’s all fresh, all clean, and has no extras we don’t want.) I also rolled the costs of the heavy-duty foil I used for wrapping in with the tacos, but I’ll be using the rest of it with other menu items, so it all works out.
We’ve been enjoying these reheated in the microwave (a lot), and I’ve also done one “no prep” dinner by arranging some in a baking pan (frozen), and topping with enchilada sauce before tossing them in the oven (foil covered). A topping of a bit more cheese toward the end made these as lovely and gooey as any made-it-that-day enchiladas we’ve enjoyed in the past.
I’ll be doing these tacos again. Perhaps we’ll do some chicken, white beans, green chiles, and cheese; we’ll definitely do more beef.
Of course, having made all this cylindrical food, I’ve been struck by cravings for cheeseburger pockets. Stinking fickle me.