admin / October 6, 2014

It’s Meatless Monday-Crispy Burritos

Sometimes I’m almost ashamed to call some things I make, actual recipes, and this one is no exception. It uses leftover items and is put together in about 15 minutes. I like to put a different spin on things and for this one I used phyllo dough instead of tortillas. I used pinto beans for this one but just about any bean will do. I’ve sometimes used  leftover refried beans too. Pair it with a side salad, guacamole and sour cream and it’s one of the easiest suppers to pull together at a moment’s notice.

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup salsa

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

12 sheets of phyllo dough

3 tablespoons melted butter or low fat spread

1 cup of tortilla chips

3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

1/8 teaspoon Chipotle chili powder or any other spicy mix

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl add the rice, beans and salsa. Slightly mash the ingredients together.

Take one sheet of phyllo dough and brush with melted butter, take another sheet and repeat, and finally a third sheet and repeat. Cut the sheets down the middle.

Place a generous ¼ cup of the bean rice mixture onto the sheet and top with two tablespoons of the shredded cheese. Roll up the sheet and place it seam down on a baking sheet. Repeat with the other half sheet.

Repeat the process with the remaining phyllo dough sheets and the mixture.

Place the chips, Parmesan cheese and Chipotle chilli powder in a food processor and pulse until you have a mixture that resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Brush the tops of each burrito with the remaining melted butter and then sprinkle with the chip mixture.

Bake for about ten minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 8 burritos.

These freeze well and are also great eaten cold.



admin / February 18, 2011

Bargain Foods-Black Beans

One of my favorite budget foods are beans…and they’re good for you too. No fat,  lots of protein and high in fiber which experts say most of us don’t get enough of these days. Plus, with so many varieties you might never get bored.

Once upon a time I purchased canned beans thinking you couldn’t get much cheaper than that. I had tried dried beans but didn’t like the hassle of soaking them and then standing over the pan to make sure they didn’t boil over on the stove or worse still, stick to the saucepan.

Well, that was until I heard about using the slow cooker. Now I’m hooked and won’t go back to using canned beans other than keeping a few in the pantry for emergency meals.

Slow Cooker to the Rescue

If you have a slow cooker, cooking beans is simple. First of all I wash the beans and then soak them in the slow cooker. Add the beans and enough water to cover them plus about another inch. I let them soak for about four hours then drain and rinse them. I add them back to the slow cooker and add water to cover them plus about 3-4 more inches and let them cook on low for about 6 hours. I’ve been doing this overnight so when I wake up in the morning the beans are cooked and ready for any recipe I want to try.

They Go a Long Way

I estimated that the one pound bag of dried beans I bought for just 99 cents netted about 3 1/2 cans so it’s cheaper and doesn’t take that much time and effort.

Black Beans

This week’s focus is on black beans. They’re great in soups, Mexican dishes and even some stews.

Last week I cooked a one pound back of beans and netted eight black bean and roasted vegetable burgers, a batch of black bean soup for the freezer and some smoky black bean nachos which I’ll give you the recipe for. Not bad for my intial investment of 99 cents.

Black Bean Recipes

There are lots of black bean recipes out there and here is a link to some you might want to try-

Smoky Black Bean Nachos

These are easy to make and taste great as an appetizer or even lunch, and if you wanted to make more of a meal you could add chopped leftover chicken too.

1 cup cooked black beans

1 package Tostitos roasted garlic and black bean flavored Artisan tortilla chips

2 slices Borden Singles Sensations-Hickory Smoked Swiss

2 slices Borden Singles Sensations-Chipotle Chedder

And if you like more cheese 1/2 cup shredded cheese

Sour cream and salsa for dipping

Set the tortilla chips on a baking pan, sprinkle with black beans and tear up the 4 slices of Singles Sensation evenly over the chips, then add the shredded cheese and heat in the oven for about 375 degrees for about 10 minutes or until all the cheese has melted.

If you can’t find the Bordens cheese, try tossing the beans with some smoked paprika before adding them to the chips for a smoky flavor, same goes for the chipotle. If you can’t find this cheese trying sprinkling some chipotle seasoning over regular cheese.

Serves 2 as a meal or 4-6 as an appetizer

admin / January 21, 2011

Bargain Foods…that are good for you too

With food prices set to go up this year…I think I saw some evidence of this at the grocery store the other day, it’s time to start thinking about foods that give you the biggest bang for your buck. Here are some of my favorites-

Canned Salmon

When fresh salmon goes on sale I buy it in bulk and freeze it, when it’s back to normal prices I opt for the canned variety. Pink salmon is a bargain, even red salmon isn’t that expensive. In the summer I use it on salads, in sandwiches, pair it with sliced cucumbers and it’s one of the best combinations. I sometimes use it with pasta. A favorite of mine is the salmon burger. My old recipe used mashed potato, then I switched to breadcrumbs but now I have yet a new one.(serves 4)

 This one was created just the other week when I discovered I had no breadrumbs and didn’t have time to head to the store. I’d stockpiled some boxes of crackers  (Townhouse Flipsides) during the holidays while they were on sale. I used about 15-20 of them. I crushed them in a plastic bag using a rolling pin. And then added them to the drained salmon, and a beaten egg. You mix it together and form into four patties. Heat some oil and cook them on either side for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. I served mine in a bun with oven fries. I think just the burger and a side salad with be good too.

This is a three ingredient recipe that is so simple to make and the best thing is the crackers have so much flavor you don’t need seasoning or salt and pepper.

Lentils, Beans etc.

I bought all these goodies while they were on sale for just 99 cents a bag. I do buy canned beans but you can save even more money using dried ones. You can make bean and veggie burgers, lentil soups and stews, green pea soup etc. Best thing is most of these recipes can be made in a slow cooker. I’ll be featuring recipes using all these items in future articles on the site.


I know eggs took a bad rap because of their high fat and cholesterol content but even nutritionists now say eaten in moderation, they’re okay. I stock up on them each time I visit the store. They’re great for egg and cheese burritos, frittatas, your own homemade egg muffins for breakfast, quiches, and omelets. Keeping a some hard boiled eggs on hand also make great snacks too.

Fruits and Vegetables

Don’t know whether you heard but Walmart is lowering the prices on fruits and vegetables to help shoppers save money on good for you foods.

 Produce has gotten more expensive recently but I think it’s still a good buy because it full of fiber so it fills you up and if you use more veggies than say meat or chicken in a dish the recipe goes further. Eat in season and it’s a great way to save even more money. For example, this week my local supermarket had a sale on citrus fruits so I bought oranges and have been using them as snacks and dessert.


I know some people turn their nose up at it but it’s a good for you food at rock bottom prices. I’m working on a great oven baked oatmeal recipe that once perfected I’ll be sharing it with you. No more cooking oatmeal every day and this one is packed full of flavor with oranges and sweetened cranberries.

Another way you can use oatmeal is in things like meatloaves to make it go further.


Okay, for those thinking about running away from the computer right now. I say give this a chance. I think I’ve mentioned I now freeze and then defrost tofu before I use it and sometimes marinade it all day for maximum flavor and chewiness that closely resembles meat. Here’s how I use it for making a shepherd’s pie-

I 10 ounce package tofu

I jar Heinz mushroom gravy

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1onion, peeled and chopped

Mashed potatoes for topping,

optional- smoked paparika and parmesan cheese

Freeze the tofu for a few days and then defrost it. Drain the tofu and squeeze out all the water, crumble into pieces that resemble ground beef.

Place it in a glass dish and add some oil, soy sauce, pepper, Worchestershire sauce and chopped garlic. Let this sit for at least six hours. Then heat a skillet, add some oil and saute the tofu until it’s crisp and brown. Add the onions and carrots and cook until almost tender. Add the mushroom gravy and stir everything together.

Transfer into a baking dish and top with mashed potatoes. I like to sprinkle them with smoked paprika and cheese.

Place in the oven for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees or until the top is lightly browned and the tofu mixture is bubbling. I usually serve this with peas or green beans.

Serves 6

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