The Frugal Burrito

Odds and ends.  Bits and pieces.  Those little leftovers from previous meals that were too good to throw away but too small to make a meal, on their own.

Go ahead, take them out of the fridge and set them on the table.  Imagine how they can be used to make a brand new meal. 

The ingredients are like colors on a painter’s palette, or notes and chords, waiting to be arranged to make music.  These are the elements of creation!

Some of my favorite meals have started this way. 

Reinventing leftovers can be rewarding in many ways.  There is satisfaction in knowing that good food won’t be wasted and there is the feeling of exuberance that comes from self-expression and creative thinking.

I made this dish way back in April, 2020, during a time when I was sheltering at home, in an attempt to stem the tide of the pandemic.  If there was ever a time to think frugally, it was then.  People were hoarding toilet paper, disinfectants and many store shelves were empty.  What a time! 

Burritos with Cheese Sauce


1 ½ cups leftover enchiladas (ground beef, corn tortillas, cheddar cheese, salsa)

½ cup cooked ground beef

1 cup sautéed vegetables (onions, tomatoes and mushrooms)

3 10” flour tortillas

1 Tbs olive oil

16 oz grated cheddar cheese

2 Tbs butter

2 Tbs flour,

1/3 cup milk

1 tsp hot sauce

¼ cup sliced, pickled jalapeños

¼ cup diced green onions

¼ cup chili-garlic sauce

½ cup sour cream

½ cup chopped iceberg lettuce

2 Roma tomatoes


Chop the enchiladas into tiny pieces with a kitchen knife. 

Add the chopped enchiladas to a large mix bowl and add the cooked ground beef.

Chop the sautéed onions, tomatoes and mushrooms.

Add the chopped vegetables to the mixing bowl.

Mix everything together thoroughly.

Divide the mixture into thirds and assemble the burritos.

Add olive oil to a large skillet and set heat to low/medium.

Carefully lay the burritos in the pan, seam side down.

Sear the burritos on all sides until they are light, golden brown.

Remove the burritos to serving plates and keep in a warm place.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and set the heat to low.

Once the butter melts, add the flour and whisk, to form a paste.

Simmer the butter and flour, while whisking, for about one minute.

Add the milk and whisk to combine. 

Gently fold in the grated cheese and turn the heat off.  Mix until the cheese sauce is smooth.  Avoid over-mixing the sauce, to prevent the sauce from breaking.

Once the cheese sauce is warm and blended, cover each burrito with the sauce.

For a mild burrito, top with green onions. 

For a spicier burrito, top with chili-garlic sauce and jalapeños.

Serve with sliced tomato, chopped lettuce and sour cream.

Beer Run!

I haven’t been to a grocery store in over a week and I’m glad to have missed out on the recent onslaught of anxious people that are on a quest to  hoard sanitary items and toilet rolls.  Today’s trip to the store was juvenile but necessary.  Beer and snacks.

My good friend from Miami…Miami, Manitoba, Canada, mind you, wants to know what sort of beer I got when I went on my beer run today.  Well, Graham, for your pleasure, I offer you two beers!  Both are originally products of Pennsylvania, which is where I was born.

Rolling Rock est. 1939, Latrobe Pennsylvania.  Brewed in Latrobe, PA, until purchased by Anheuser–Busch in 2006.  Now it’s brewed wherever Anheuser–Busch wants to brew it, which might be in any of the 13 cities in the U.S., where Anheuser-Bush brews.  There is a much storied myth and history behind the “33” and the pony that is displayed on the bottles.  I’m all for a good mystery, but I prefer to drink the beer, rather than dwell on the myth.

Yuengling est. 1829,  Pottsville, PA.  Yuengling claims to be the oldest brewery in the U.S.  It’s near Wilkes-Barre PA, in the heart of the Pennsylvania coal mining region.  The name Yuengling is an Anglicized version of Jüngling.  David Gottlieb Jüngling was the entrepreneur that started the brewery and I give him a wink and a nod, each time I enjoy one of his beers.

Since I bought two types of beer, I had to make a choice of which I would drink first.  Rolling Rock won, easily.  Rolling Rock has a “clean” taste.  It finishes like it starts, clean and crisp.  I used to refer to Rolling Rock as a poor man’s Heineken.  It’s a straightforward pale ale that fits any occasion, even self-quarantining, I suppose. 

I will finish with the Yuengling.  Yuengling lager is probably the better beer, when compared to Rolling Rock, because of its distinct sweetness and balanced hops flavor.  Yuengling’s mystery is in the unique flavor of the beer, where Rolling Rock’s mystery is the number 33 and a pony.  Taste wins, in my book.

Either one is fine with me, really.  It’s just nice to be able to sit down and enjoy a beer once in a while.

Celebrate when you can and where you can.  Cheers!