Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Healthier Low Calorie Breakfast Burritos

Yesterday was a busy day in the kitchen...I made almost 50 healthier, low calorie breakfast burritos to have on hand for those quick start meals. I love my Mexican food, but we all know how fattening it can be. This is my version of the breakfast burrito that is healthier and has less calories and fat than traditional ones do. Feeding your family healthier foods at a reasonable cost really can be Homespun Simplicity.

The first and most important thing to making these tasty low calorie burritos is to start with a healthier version of the tortilla. Instead of buying flour or corn, go for whole wheat. If you have the extra to spend, go with a sprout grain tortilla, such as the one from Ezekiel bread brand. Normally the sprout grain tortillas are the ones that I buy as they are only 80 calories. Most traditional tortillas are in the 200+ calorie range. That is a big difference! You also have to really watch the whole wheat tortillas as they can even carry 180 calories. However, at Kroger I found Mission brand Carb Balance Plus Whole Wheat Tortillas. I checked the calories and they too only had 80 calories and a low fat calorie count. Since I knew I would need several packages, I decided to go with this brand over Ezekiel, solely for the price consideration. Now that we have our foundation for the burritos, let's get cooking!

Healthier, Low Cal Breakfast Burritos

I am using a myriad of ingredients so that I can get a good variety in our burritos. We have our eggs, turkey bacon, Canadian bacon, 2% grated cheese, black beans and onion.

We will not be using the entire egg, only the whites, so begin by separating your eggs. I have an egg separator that I use but it can easily be done the old fashioned way with the just the egg and the shell method. (Don't toss those yolks though...you can use them for other uses.) Once eggs are separated, set them aside. (While you can buy egg whites or egg white substitute at the market, I find that it is much cheaper to buy the whole egg and separate it myself.)

Don't throw your egg shells away though, remember they can be nicely used in your compost pile!

Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a skillet. Depending upon how much onion you care to use (I am using 1 fairly nice size one) dice up the onion and cook in oiled skillet until soft and translucent.

I really prefer to use homemade black beans, but since I didn't have any on hand I went ahead and pulled out the can version. So take your canned beans and drain them, reserving the liquid. Rinse and drain beans. Place beans into a food processor along with your cooked onions. Pulse to mash beans. Keep an eye on the consistency of the beans as they mash..if they are too dry add in some of the reserved liquid. You don't want runny beans but you don't want them dry either. Ultimately what you are achieving is re-fried black beans with no lard or extra fat. The reason I add the onions into the beans is to have the flavor but "hide" them from those who might normally complain about the texture of eating onions. This is a great trick to use on the kids.

Next let's work on our meats. I am using turkey bacon and Canadian bacon. Cut your bacon in half. You don't really need a full slice in each burrito. (I did the same with the Canadian bacon, but forgot to take a "before" photo.) In the same skillet you cooked the onions in, place your bacon pieces and cook until done. (There will still be a small amount of oil in the skillet from cooking the onions, so I didn't add anymore.)

Remove meat from skillet once cooked and place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb any remaining oil.

Back to your egg whites...season as desired (I used a bit of salsa, black pepper and garlic powder) and scramble until completely cooked.

Look at how light and fluffy those scrambled egg whites are.

Now it's time to get down to the business of assembling your burritos. Prepare your work station with everything you are going to put into them. I have my tortillas, re-fried beans, scrambled egg whites, cooked bacon's, jalapeno pepper slices and my grated cheese. I also put down cookie sheets to use in the assembly. This helps keep any spills or overflow from the burrito in one contained area instead of all over the counter top.

Fill each burrito with your desired ingredients. Here I have layered the beans, egg, bacon, peppers and cheese.

Roll filled tortilla up burrito style and wrap in foil.

Make sure to label your burritos or you'll end up with a surprise each time you grab one! These freeze wonderfully and can be heated in the microwave in no time at all.

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