Monday, May 10, 2010

In Praise of the Breakfast Burrito

Today on Serious Eats: West African Veggie Stew. Delicious, easy, and way out of the box. Definitely worth checking out.

It’s Monday morning. You know it’s gonna be a pretty rough week at work. There are at least three … no, four … no, 22 meetings scheduled, all during your lunch breaks. You want a breakfast that will brighten your mood and give you hope for future.

What will you do?

It’s Friday morning. You are scrambling to get the family out the door. The Frosted Flakes have run out, and your triplets are clawing at your blouse for something portable and filling to keep them alive through ninth grade math.

What will you DO?

It’s Saturday morning. You stayed out until 3am last night, for no apparent reason other than trying to bowl above a 60. (What? It seemed like a good idea at the time.) You want a hangover breakfast requiring minimal effort and maximum cheese.


You’ll make breakfast burritos.

Yay! Breakfast burritos! Beloved by food bloggers and personal finance folks the world over, these compact pockets of healthy (no, really) scrumptiousness have two basic ingredients: tortillas and eggs. The rest (beans, salsa, lettuce, rice, bell peppers, onions, scallions, dill, tomatoes, mushrooms, blue cheese, cheddar, goat cheese, Monterey Jack, Colby, turkey sausage, ham, bacon, etc.) are up to you.

The last few weeks, Husband-Elect and I have been on a breakfast burrito kick of epic proportions. (Meaning: Odysseus would go wild for these.) While the add-ons vary a little, our version is basically: medium salsa, 2% sharp cheddar, pinto beans, eggs, egg whites, a tortilla, and a few field greens. It is more delightful than a walk in the park, but not quite as delightful as Betty White doing CSI: Sarasota. Still, it gets the job done. Deliciously so.

A few things to know, should you decide to try it yourself:

1) We use crazypants, humanely raised eggs now, which are a tad pricier than the ones at the grocery store. If you use supermarket eggs, your burritos will cost less (though the odds of double double yolks are probably much lower).

2) Burrito-sized tortillas can be astoundingly high in fat and calories, so you have to look around for leaner ones. We use Tropical brand burritos, which clock in at 100 calories, 3 grams of fat, and about $0.18 each. I think Pepito comes close. Do you guys know of any others?

3) These drip. It’s the salsa. It’s not bad, but make sure you have napkins handy.

If you’d like to learn more about the wonderful world of Disney breakfast burritos, The Simple Dollar has a few tricks for assembling them in bulk, then freezing them. Recipe Zaar has a well-reviewed … wait for it … recipe. And The Kitchn has a basic set of directions. With pretty pictures, of course.

Sweet readers, what are your favorite breakfast burrito combos? Is it possible to keep them non-messy? Have you ever made them en masse? How’d that go? Do tell.

If you find this recipe quite dreamy, you might also lose yourself in:

Breakfast Burritos with Beans, Cheddar and Salsa
Serves 2.

2 burrito-sized tortillas
A few leaves o’ greens (optional)
1 ounce 2% cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs (any size)
2 egg whites (any size)
1-1/2 tablespoons skim milk
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon butter
1/4 cup beans, drained and rinsed (pinto seen here)
2 tablespoons medium salsa

1) Place burritos on plates. Add greens if desired. Grate cheddar on top of greens.

2) In a medium bowl, combine eggs, egg whites, skim milk, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk thoroughly to combine.

3) Heat butter in a small nonstick pan over medium. When melted and a little bubbly, pour in egg mixture. Wait for it to set a few minutes, then begin to slowly scramble, using long, uninterrupted strokes. When eggs are thoroughly cooked (not wet), divide them between plated tortillas.

4) Using the egg pan, heat the beans through. (Or just pop ‘em in the microwave for a few seconds.) Divide between tortillas.

5) Top beans and eggs with salsa. Salt and pepper to taste. Wrap as you would any burrito and go to friggin’ town.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Price Per Serving
288 calories, 14.8 g fat, 3.2 g fiber, 20 g protein, $0.92

Note: calculations here are for large eggs and pinto beans
2 burrito-sized tortillas: 200 calories, 6 g fat, 2 g fiber, 6 g protein, $0.36
A few leaves o’ greens (optional): 2 calories, 0 g fat, 0.1 g fiber, 0 g protein, $0.05
1 ounce 2% cheddar cheese, grated: 90 calories, 9 g fat, 0 g fiber, 7 g protein, $0.25
2 eggs: 147 calories, 9.9 g fat, 0 g fiber, 12.6 g protein, $0.42
2 egg whites: 34 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0 g fiber, 7.2 g protein, $0.42
1-1/2 tablespoons skim milk: 8 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0.8 g protein, $0.02
Kosher salt: negligible calories, fat, fiber, and protein, $0.01
Freshly ground black pepper: negligible calories, fat, fiber, and protein, $0.01
1 teaspoon butter: 34 calories, 3.8 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein, $0.03
1/4 cup beans, drained and rinsed: 52 calories, 0.5 g fat, 2.8 g fiber, 2.9 g protein, $0.09
2 tablespoons medium salsa: 9 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0.5 g fiber, 0.5 g protein, $0.17
TOTALS: 576 calories, 29.5 g fat, 6.4 g fiber, 40 g protein, $1.83
PER SERVING (TOTALS/2): 288 calories, 14.8 g fat, 3.2 g fiber, 20 g protein, $0.92

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ilikecoffee said...

Aw, I just finished my last breakfast burrito, and then read this post and want more. I've made Trent's recipe (SimpleDollar) twice and love them. I scale his recipe down to about 15 burritos worth. I sauteed onions to put in them, which I will definitely do again. Next time I make them to freeze, I won't put salsa in them bc warm salsa is a little weird. Great post!

Amandalp said...

I use Mission Carb Balance tortillas, because I like the fiber. However, the burrito size ones are about 200 calories, but they have 21 grams of fiber.

The soft taco size is 100 calories. You cannot roll it like a burrito, but it works to hold fillings when folded like a taco.

In Brooklyn, you can get them at Target.

Koriann said...

I totally made a breakfast burrito for dinner last night because I wanted something quick and easy.

Two eggs, two pieces of bacon, a sprinkle of goat cheese, and a quarter of an avocado.

Gabrielle said...

I say keep the burritos messy. Messy=lots of salsa, and the salsa is so good for you (and delicious, especially if you make your own). Wrap it in foil to contain the drips and you're good to go.

Rach said...

LOVE breakfast burritos, and huevos rancheros, in equal measure. I strongly believe the key to all Mexican breakfast foods boils down to one ingredient: Trader Joes cuban style black beans. They're perfectly seasoned and, while they contribute to the drippy factor, delicious. I also like Trader Joes salsa autentica - it's a little watery but adds a great tomato flavor.

Lucy's Soup Can said...

These do sound like great hang-over food (thus saving a trip to Humpty's), but they would also make a great lunch. I always struggle with what to make my kids for lunch. I'm adding these to the list.

Lizalopoli said...

Rach is right about Trader Joes salsa autentica - it is the BEST salsa out there. It's ridiculous...we buy several jars at once. (we found out we were not the only ones who do this a friend's house for a mexiacn dinner, they pulled out 3 jars). Also La Tortilla Factory has some good low carb/low fat options that are tasty. If you ever are in San Luis Obispo, CA, check out the breakfast burritos at Breakfast Buzz...they are the best!

Elizabeth said...

Kris, I think I can offer a refresher on burrito folding to keep the messy factor down:

Imagine your tortilla is a clock. Fold about an inch up at the bottom like you're making a line between 4 and 8 (or 5 and 7, or just between those two). Then fold over slightly more than a third of the right side of the tortilla (your fold will now start just past the 1). Finally fold over the left side (the line shouldn't quite make it to 11).

Voila, the bottom fold keeps drips from folding out and you have a nice tight package to keep it's shape. It will stay even better if you put a little dab of sour cream under the last fold so it sticks.

Kris said...

@Elizabeth: I love it - especially the sour cream part. I never thought of burrito adhesive.

@Rach and @Lizalopoli: I have a Trader Joe's gift certificate, and now I need to try this salsa.

Holly said...

When I made a big batch to freeze recently I used a tomatillo hot sauce in lieu of traditional salsa (as salsa = sauce = too messy for my grab n' go breakfast). Still hit all the right notes for me!

Heather F said...

I make them every morning, using Wegman's wheat burrito wraps (omega-3), eggs scrambled with sauteed onions, and sweet potatoes that I've roasted with Emeril's Essence (I've used regular potatoes, too). I can't believe I'm not sick of these yet!

I'll be interested to see other ideas for mixing it up.

Christy said...

Have you thought about making your own flour tortillas? I make a triple batch (36) and freeze them right after I make them. They reheat well and taste like you've just made them. I can send you my recipe and instructions.

Also, you should try these combos:

Refried bean and cheese

Potato and egg

Chilequiles- sauteed pico de gallo, eggs and fried corn tortilla strips

bean, bacon, hash browns and cheese

carne guisada- beef roast heavily spiced and mixed with a thick gravy

Fresh pico de gallo is great on ANY taco. I try to keep a tub in the fridge.

I live in South Texas. Breakfast tacos/taquitos are everywhere down here.

Anonymous said...

Double yolking isn't very good for the hen. They're supposed, in an ideal world, to ovulate about once every 24hrs. Birds that have been bred to be super ovulators and keep producing eggs year round with very little in the way of freshening, if you know what I mean, sometimes get an out of sync ovary and ovulate multiple times in the same period. These go in the oviduct and the shell gland and end up as multiyolked eggs. It's a sign the bird is more likely to develop health problems (what with all the energy going into eggs). While it happens naturally once in awhile in standard birds (something like 1/1000, I haven't done poultry med in awhile so I'd have to ask my poultry practicing friends) when it's more frequent it's likely due to the insane level of genetic selection of modern chickens, regardless of diet/housing type/etc

bashtree said...

Ooo! so! I am giving these ago! I got all the ingredients together and tomorrow is burrito day!! I'm stoked :)

Ginger said...

I think the trick is to tear up the tortilla into little pieces and heat it up with the other ingredients, adding the cheese and salsa last and serving it in a bowl. And I am going to borrow the hot pocket recipe to make this a portable breakfast tomorrow. We shall see if that works out.

Brooklandler said...

I love this blog! Just discovered it. I'm curious how others have found the frozen breakfast burritos have worked out, particularly taste-wise.