See a letter from Ellen about the donation campaign. Your help matters!

Freezer Chicken Burritos- OAMC

Nicole’s Frozen Chicken Burritos- 6-8 large- adapted by Ellen

3-4 boneless chicken breasts (1 lb.)(may be frozen)
OR you can also use tender shredded beef
1 1/2 cups of salsa (12 ounces)
PLUS just enough water to cover meat
8 large burrito style flour totillas
1 1/2 cups (15 ounce can) fat-free refried beans
1 cup shredded cheddar (see note below)
When ready to serve, you garnish with:
additional salsa for garnish
sourcream or tofu sour cream for garnish

First cook the chicken. Cover chicken with salsa and water in a medium saucepan. Add chicken, simmer gently until cooked through. Bring to a bubble, then reduce heat and simmer until chicken is white all the way through (about 20 minutes from frozen.) Remove from pot and let cool until easy to handle. Shred the chicken. If salsa mixture looks too thin, bring it to a boil to reduce liquid. Add the chicken back.

Buy the bigger, thicker "homemade" variety tortilla for this recipe if available; they won't tear so easily. Tortillas are easier to work with if you warm them first; microwave 10-20 secs until soft, then wrap them in a kitchen towel and remove one at a time.

Prepare each burrito: spread about two tablespoons of fat-free refried beans on a flour tortilla. Add 3-4 tablespoons chicken mixture down the center, sprinkle on a tablespoon or so of low-fat shredded cheddar. Fold the ends of tortilla in a bit, then roll from the bottom. Repeat the procedure with remaining tortillas. Wrap each burrito in plastic wrap or wax paper, then place all the burritos in a large zippered plastic freezer bag and freeze flat.

To reheat quickly but soggily: Remove plastic wrap and microwave frozen burrito on high until hot all the way through (time varies depending on size of burrito and of microwave), turning each minute until done.

For better results, microwave till just thawed. In a 1000W microwave this takes 3 to 4 minutes for large burritos. Then, bake on lightly greased pan another 10-15 minutes at 350°. They get lightly browned and slightly crispy on the outside; it's not as authentic but many like it better. Some top them with salsa and a spoonful of sour cream.

Frugal tips:
Use dark-meat chicken, or buy lots of chicken breast when on sale and de-bone it yourself. Freeze bones to make chicken soup later. Do this and wrap the breasts individually before freezing so you take out what you need. You can cook the chicken for this recipe straight from the freezer, no thawing necessary; just make sure you don’t boil and do cook it longer. Leftover cooked turkey beef, or chicken also works well- shred the meat and cook it in salsa without added water. Buy the cheese when it is on sale in bulk and shred the cheese yourself. Do a lot at once and freeze it.
Other tips: To make this healthier and to add vegetables, add cooked chopped onion and green pepper and cooked them with the chicken.
Fat-free cheese doesn't melt too well. Mix equal parts regular shredded cheddar, reduced fat, and fat free. Or just the reduced fat and fat free if you're really being calorie conscious.

Crockpot Fatfree Refried Beans for the Freezer- OAMC

2 quarts, may multiply as needed
One side serving is 1/2 cup, which also makes about 4 tacos or burritos
These are a great side dish, may also be used for burritos, and can be served as a main dish with plenty of shredded cheddar and salsa on top. Pintos or pink beans are traditional, anasazi are delicious.

1 pound dried beans, soaked overnight
4 cups water
1 cup brewed coffee
3 cloves minced garlic, OPTIONAL, don't substitute powdered
1 onion, diced OR may substitute 1 bunch parsley or cilantro, OR 1 cup celery and leaves, chopped with stems
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt, to taste

Drain soaked beans and place in a crockpot along with remaining ingredients except salt. Stir well, cover and cook on low all day, about 8-10 hours, until tender. Add salt.

Use a potato masher or heat safe (canning) jar bottom to mash well and stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to mash and stir until desired consistency.

To freeze, put in a freezer ziplock and flatten into a layer to freeze, or no more than 2" deep in freezer containers.