Category Archives: Burritos

Creative Leftovers

Those who know me, know I’m all about cooking ahead.  I have at least two meals (often three!) in mind when I cook one.  This is a great creative outlet for me, but it also saves money.  Times are as tight as they’ve been in years and years, so read on even if you don’t like to cook.

Leftovers don’t have to be last night’s dinner warmed in the microwave oven, or what I call cuisine deja vu. 😉 My favorite leftover recipes are burritos.  I don’t limit us to Mexican burritos, either.  (The difference between a burrito and a wrap–as I see it–is hot and cold.  A wrap is like a sandwich rolled in a tortilla; a burrito is like a hot casserole rolled in a tortilla.)  One of my favorite recipes is the Hoppin’ John Burrito.  It’s Cajun, and here’s the sequence.

Meal One: I make a Cajun dinner.  I cook lots of brown rice and black-eyed peas, about twice the number of servings I need for this meal, along with some greens, cornbread, and blackened catfish.  If you don’t mind a little spice, season the catfish with lots of Cajun spices.

Meal Two: I make dinner the next day with green beans, steamed kernel corn, grilled chicken breasts, and Hoppin’ John.  After dinner, stir the leftover corn into the Hoppin’ John and refrigerate.

Meal Three:  Two or three days later–you don’t want to wear out the Cajun cuisine’s welcome by having this meal on the heels of the first two–mix the Hoppin’ John and corn with a cup of salsa (or a can of green chilies and diced tomatoes) in a two-quart saucepan.  Add a cup of diced onion.  Bring all ingredients to a simmer over medium-low heat until heated through.  Meanwhile, warm eight whole wheat tortillas in the microwave oven.  Remove Hoppin’ John mixture from heat.   Divide the mixture into eight equal portions.  Spoon one portion into each of eight whole wheat tortillas, add 1 ounce of shredded Monterrey Jack (or any cheese you like) to each,  fold tortilla over, and serve.

I have many variations of the burrito theme, but let’s move on to another cuisine: Italian-American.

Meal One: Make veal Parmesan with breaded veal cutlets covered with your favorite recipe pasta sauce (I usually make my own) and serve over whole wheat spaghetti cooked al dente. Make at least a cup more of the pasta sauce than you’ll need and refrigerate.

Meal Two: Place four whole wheat tortillas on cookie sheets.  Brush on two ounces of the leftover pasta sauce.  Add toppings of your choice, including shredded mozzarella cheese.  Bake in a 400° oven just until cheese melts, approximately ten minutes, depending on the type of pan used.  Voilá!  You have four individual pizzas.

You’ll notice I use whole grains, but that’s my choice. I like the taste of brown rice over white, and whole wheat pasta over semolina, but use whatever you like. Also, don’t forget the more obvious leftover dishes, like stir-fry, stew, and vegetable soup. My husband and I once brought back leftover steak from a restaurant dinner. The next night, I cubed the steak and made fajitas, another dish using the tortilla wraps.

Regardless of who does the “cooking ahead,” use your imagination and develop dishes for leftovers. Your family won’t know, or if they do, they won’t mind!

(originally appeared June 22, 2009, as a post for the Clever Divas)

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Filed under black-eye peas, Burritos, cooking, Healthful Eating, Recipes, salsa, whole wheat

July Fourth Jambalaya in a Jiffy

About four years ago, I posted my recipe for jambalaya. I updated it for the July fourth holiday. This time I used Johnsonville Andouille Sausage for a more traditional flavor. Since today’s high temperature is expected to be 97°, I’m cooking indoors in my air conditioned kitchen. Too hot for grilling today!


Jambalaya In A Jiffy
Makes 6 servings or 10 side-dish servings


1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ pound Andouille flavored smoked sausage (cut in 1″ chunks)
1 cup uncooked brown rice (White rice will overcook)
1 10-oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies
2 cups broth or stock
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Cajun Seasonings to taste
Hot sauce (optional)
1 Bay leaf
½ pound frozen shrimp, cleaned and de-tailed


Heat the oil in the bottom of a 6 quart (or 6 Liter) pressure cooker over medium high heat.  Sauté rice to brown, then add onion, celery, garlic, and sausage. Stir often until rice is browned, about 2 minutes.  Add all other ingredients except the shrimp.  Stir to mix.

Secure the lid to the pressure cooker and bring to pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Cook under pressure 15 minutes, then remove from heat.  Allow pressure to drop on its own for 10 minutes.

Release pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions then remove the lid.  Caution: steam will be very hot! Fluff rice with a fork. Stir in frozen shrimp then return pan to medium heat.  Cook just until the shrimp are pink (about 5 minutes).  Remove bay leaf and serve!

This is a healthful, high-fiber dish you can enjoy hot and again in leftovers, such as jambalaya burritos.
Son of a gun gonna have big fun on the bayou! ♪

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Filed under Burritos, Chili and Stew, cooking, Healthful Eating, Recipes, Shrimp, Soups & Stews

Turkey leftovers? No problem!

For the holidays, I’m recapping some of our favorite turkey leftover recipes. Remember, it’s easy to shred leftover meat in the Vitamix, food processor, or mixer. I use shredded leftover turkey to make turkey salad, turkey burritos, and turkey barbecue sandwiches.


Turkey BBQ Sandwiches
Serves 2
(I serve these with Cole Slaw made using the Vitamix)

1 cup shredded turkey dark meat
1 cup prepared barbecue sauce of choice
2 whole wheat burger buns

Combine turkey and barbecue sauce in a one quart pan. Cover and place over low heat for gentle heating. After mixture is completely warmed through, remove pan from heat and serve on the burger buns.


Turkey Tetrazzini
Serves 4-5

(I use a Kitchen Craft covered skillet, but this recipe can be baked in a conventional oven. I prefer the electric skillet because the entire dish is prepared in one pot, reducing clean-up time in the kitchen. Also, a quality liquid core electric skillet uses less energy than an oven):

Dry sauté in the skillet:

1 cup sliced, fresh mushrooms
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced

After the mushrooms have browned, add:

1½ cups cooked turkey, cubed
4 oz. uncooked angel hair pasta, spread evenly across vegetables and chicken in skillet (or 1½ quart baking dish)

In a 1 pint measuring pitcher, blend:

1 10 ¾ oz. can Campbell’s® 98% Fat Free Cream of Mushroom Soup
½ cup milk
¼ cup water
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Pour soup mixture over turkey and pasta. Be sure all pasta is covered.

If using a skillet, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Do NOT remove lid to peek. If baking, cover casserole with foil and cook in a pre-heated 375°F oven for 30 minutes.

Garnish with finely chopped fresh parsley and additional parmesan cheese if desired. Serve with a garden salad and whole grain bread. Serves 4.

With the rising cost of canned goods, I’ve started canning my own turkey stock, which is easy using the pressure cooker and freezer-safe, pint canning jars.  But whether you make your own stock or buy it, you’ll enjoy making soup from leftover turkey.  Here’s one suggestion, Turkey Noodle Soup:


Turkey Noodle Soup

Makes 4 servings

In a 3 quart pot over medium heat, add

2 teaspoons olive oil
brown for 5 minutes:
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
4 stalks celery (including the leaves), sliced
1 bell pepper (any color, but I use red), seeded and chopped


1 quart turkey stock or chicken broth
1 cup water
Seasonings – your choice
1 ½ cups cooked turkey, cubed

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cover. Don’t remove the lid and you’ll be able to cook on the lowest setting.

About 10 minutes before serving, add:

1 cup dry whole wheat noodles, or any whole wheat pasta

Taste test for seasonings. You may want to add salt or pepper. When the noodles are al dente, serve the soup.

The beauty of this recipe is the cooking time is flexible. The soup can simmer for 20 minutes or a couple of hours because the starchy pasta isn’t added until the last 10 minutes. It’s a light, healthy meal for those days following the overindulgence of a holiday meal. Double or triple the recipe and feed a crowd on a cold night.

One more tip: You can adapt this for the slow cooker. Add the pasta in during the last hour and turn to Low.

Here’s one I modified from a GE recipe.  Theirs is baked in a casserole dish, but I use the electric skillet.


Turkey Cashew Casserole
Serves 6

In a pre-heated electric skillet, melt:

1 Tablespoon butter

Sauté for five minutes:

2 cups chopped celery
1 large onion, chopped


5 cups cubed cooked turkey

Mix together in a large mixing pitcher or bowl:

1 cup turkey or chicken broth
2 cans reduced-sodium condensed cream of mushroom soup
dash of hot sauce

Pour over chicken and cover.  Simmer (220°) for 20-25 minutes (or bake in a casserole dish at 350° for 30 minutes in a traditional oven).

Sprinkle cooked casserole with:

1 cup cashews
10 oz. chow-mein noodles

Serve and enjoy!

I saved my favorite for last, turkey burritos!  This recipe can be adjusted according to how much leftover turkey you have.


Turkey Burritos
Makes 6

Preheat oven to 375°.  In a medium bowl combine:

1 cup shredded cooked turkey
1 can Rotel® tomatoes and green chiles
1 cup reduced-fat shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 small onion, diced
1 Tbsp. Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning (or your choice)

Mix together and divide into six equal portions.  Fill each of the:

6 whole wheat tortillas

with a portion of the mixture.  Wrap tortilla around mixture into a roll.  Place burritos in a 9×13 casserole dish.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and uncover.  After 5 minutes, remove each burrito from the casserole dish and serve.

Happy Holidays and Happy Cooking!


Filed under Burritos, casseroles, cooking, Healthful Eating, Recipes, Soups & Stews, turkey, Turkey Recipes

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

I’ve said it before: At my house, anytime is chili time, with or without beans. With Cinco de Mayo comes another excuse for a week’s worth of Mexican-themed dishes, starting with turkey chili:


Tasty Turkey Chili

Serves 4-6*


1.3 pounds ground turkey breast
1 yellow onion, diced
1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes and green chilies

1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 oz. chili powder (I use Bloemer’s®)
1 small can chili beans (optional)
1 can or bottle beer, any kind
Redneck Pepper® Jalapeño (to taste)
¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves (optional)


Brown ground turkey and onion over medium-low heat in a covered 4-quart pan. Gradually add the remaining ingredients except for the cilantro. Bring to a boil, then cook, uncovered until the liquid reduces and chili is thick. Don’t rush it. This reduction can take from 20-45 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in fresh cilantro and serve.

Store leftovers in a covered container or freeze in an airtight bag or container.

Products to make great chili

Products to make great chili

These aren’t paid endorsements, just my favorites. Bloemer’s® is a product out of Louisville, Kentucky, my hometown, and I order their chili powder by the case via the Internet; Redneck Pepper® is in Lake City, Florida, not far from where I live. Each company makes a great product, so I hope you’ll give each a try.


Enchiladas Suizas Bake

Serves 4-6


1 pound ground turkey breast or lean ground turkey
1 small onion, diced
1 16 oz. jar salsa verde or tomatillo salsa
4 oz. sour cream
8 oz. skim milk
½ cup shredded 2% or low-fat swiss cheese
1 cup shredded 2% or low-fat Mexican blend or Colby-Jack cheese
8 whole wheat tortillas (approx. 8″)
8 oz. frozen corn kernels (or fresh if available)


Preheat oven to 350°F. Brown ground turkey and onion over medium-low heat in a large skillet. Meanwhile, combine the sour cream, milk, and salsa verde (Green Salsa) and blend, either by hand or with a blender.

Pour approximately ¼ cup of the sauce into the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish. Spread to coat lightly. Arrange half the tortillas in the bottom of the dish, overlapping or cutting as needed to fit. Add half the browned ground turkey, half the corn kernels, and 1/2 cup of the combined cheeses. Drizzle one cup of the sauce over the whole layer, then repeat by layering remaining tortillas, turkey, corn, 1/2 cup cheese, and remaining sauce. Finally, sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese.

Bake, uncovered, for thirty minutes. Makes six servings. (In our case this will last a couple days because the leftovers are great, too!)

When it comes to appetizers, I prefer quesadillas because I can use whole wheat tortillas (More fiber and complex carbohydrates). Empanadas are made with a dough, and tostadas use corn tortillas. Also, quesadillas are quick. You can make two servings in a matter of minutes in your skillet or on your grill or griddle.


Easy Chicken Quesadilla

This is a lightened version of a favorite.


Nonstick cooking spray
2 whole wheat tortillas, approximately 8″ in diameter.
¼ cup chunky salsa, either jarred or homemade
2 oz. cooked chicken (or any leftover meat) shredded
¼ cup shredded 2% or low-fat Mexican blend cheese


Preheat a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Meanwhile, spread the salsa over one tortilla. Sprinkle chicken or meat, covering well. Sprinkle the cheese over the chicken. Top with the second tortilla. Carefully place stacked tortillas on the griddle or into the skillet. Press slightly. After three minutes, carefully turn using a large spatula. Again, press the stacked tortillas and cook two additional minutes.

Using a large spatula, move the quesadilla to a cutting board and cut into fourths using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter. Each serving is two pieces. Or for an appetizer, cut into sixths.

Chicken Quesadilla

Chicken Quesadilla

Enjoy these recipes this week or anytime for a hasty tasty Mexican meal!

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Filed under Burritos, casseroles, chicken, Chili and Stew, Cilantro, Healthful Eating, Quesadillas, Recipes, salsa, Tostados, turkey