Croque monsieur

France has been creeping (or bursting, in some cases) out of lockdown. As of May 11th, people can come and go without carrying a written permission slip. The outdoor markets, hairdressers, and other types of shops have reopened, under the advisement of the health ministry, who is encouraging people to wear masks and practice social distancing, keeping 1 meter (3-feet) apart from others. Some stores…

France has been creeping (or bursting, in some cases) out of lockdown. As of May 11th, people can come and go without carrying a written permission slip. The outdoor markets, hairdressers, and other types of shops have reopened, under the advisement of the health ministry, who is encouraging people to wear masks and practice social distancing, keeping 1 meter (3-feet) apart from others. Some stores (and people) have been strict about this, while others remain cavalier.

No one quite knows where this is going, with many proclaiming “It’s over!” while I’m remaining prudent. But on June 2nd, restaurants and cafés may be allowed to reopen.

While everyone waits, some restaurants in Paris have started serving food-to-go, either to pick up sur place, or be delivered. We’ve had food delivery services for a number of years, which are popular, but their offerings lean heavily on burgers, poke bowls, and bagel sandwiches, which aren’t very inspiring to me. In response to the virus, better-quality restaurants have gotten on the bandwagon and even my local French bistro is serving la cuisine française for pick-up…although bringing home a Steak-frites and Frisée salad in a box isn’t quite the same as sitting inside with a carafe of vin rouge.

For the record, I would love it if restaurants were allowed to put tables on the sidewalks and squares, distanced apart, which clients from any of the nearby restaurants would be allowed to use. (And while we’re at it, and since it’s my fantasy, let’s make the tables no-smoking, too.) Diners could still interact and remain “together,” as if they were inside, but if restaurants can only operate at half-capacity, most dining rooms are just too small and the profit margins are just too tight to make a go if it if they can only fill half of those seats.

In other news, I know a lot of you out there have been making your own bread. And I can’t think of a better use for it than to make yourself a Croque monsieur.

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Freezer Breakfast Burritos

I’m a huge proponent of batch cooking and stocking your freezer with portioned meals that you can just grab-reheat-and-go! Not only are these make-ahead freezer breakfast burritos a great answer to the “I’m too busy to make breakfast” conundrum, but for someone who loves breakfast for dinner as much as I do, these burritos make […]

The post Freezer Breakfast Burritos appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m a huge proponent of batch cooking and stocking your freezer with portioned meals that you can just grab-reheat-and-go! Not only are these make-ahead freezer breakfast burritos a great answer to the “I’m too busy to make breakfast” conundrum, but for someone who loves breakfast for dinner as much as I do, these burritos make a fast and easy anytime meal. #brinner

Originally posted 1-9-2011, updated 3-15-2020. You can download the original version here.

Freezer-Friendly Homemade Breakfast Burritos

A freezer breakfast burrito cut open on a plate with little cups of salsa and sour cream, a cup of coffee and a tangerine on the side.

What Can I Add to Breakfast Burritos?

I kept my breakfast burritos super simple with just eggs, cheese, sautéed peppers and onions, and cooked ham, but this is another wonderfully flexible recipe. You can skip the ham to make them vegetarian, or switch them up with any of the following ingredients:

  • Meat (cooked): bacon, breakfast sausage
  • Vegetables: hash browns (cooked), avocado, green onion, jalapeño, pickled red onions, spinach
  • Beans: black beans, hummus
  • Cheeses and Sauces: Monterey jack or pepper jack, cotija, feta, taco sauce (sparingly), salsa (thick type, not a watery variety), guacamole

I do not suggest adding sour cream to your breakfast burritos because sour cream doesn’t hold up well to freezing and thawing. Instead, serve sour cream on the side for dipping after reheating.

How Long do Breakfast Burritos Lasts?

I always suggest using up your frozen food within three months for best quality. Frozen goods slowly lose moisture and develop freezer burn over time, so while you may get longer freezer life out of them, the quality will slowly diminish the longer they are stored. So, make sure to label and date everything that goes in your freezer! :)

How to Reheat Freezer Burritos

You’ll have the best results if you let the burrito thaw in the refrigerator overnight or until they are no longer frozen solid in the middle. Reheating from the chilled state instead of straight from the freezer takes less heat and makes it easier to reheat without overcooking the egg. Reheating from a refrigerated, non-frozen state can be done in the microwave (1-2 minutes on high), or in a skillet over medium-low heat until the tortilla is nice and crispy and the insides are heated through. A toaster oven is also a great option, although I don’t own one so I was not able to test the cooking time needed.

If you do need to reheat straight from the freezer, I suggest using the defrost function on your microwave fist for 3-5 minutes to help defrost the inside, before microwaving on high for 1-2 minutes. Cooking times in the microwave will vary depending on the wattage of your microwave.

How to Prevent a Soggy Freezer Burrito

Overcooking eggs during reheating is probably the biggest culprit of a soggy breakfast burrito. As eggs continue to cook, the protein molecules seize up and squeeze out water. So, to prevent the eggs from expelling a ton of liquid, reheat only until the burritos are warmed through.

Another culprit is using ingredients that contain a lot of water. Avoid using salsa that are very watery, and if using high-water content vegetables, just make sure to sauté them first to remove some of their moisture.

A hand holding half of a breakfast burrito with the open cut side facing the camera.

 
A hand holding half of a breakfast burrito with the open cut side facing the camera.
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Freezer Breakfast Burritos

Make ahead breakfast burritos are an easy reheatable and portable breakfast meal prep idea. Including options for vegetarian or other add-ins! BudgetBytes.com
Total Cost $11.29 recipe / $1.41 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 615.36kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. cheddar $1.69
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 1 bell pepper $1.00
  • 2 Tbsp butter, divided $0.26
  • 2 pinches salt and pepper $0.05
  • 1 lb. cooked ham $3.75
  • 12 large eggs $2.79
  • 8 large flour tortillas (burrito size) $1.39

Instructions

  • Begin by preparing all of the filling ingredients for the breakfast burritos. Shred the cheddar, if not purchased pre-shredded.
  • Dice the onion and bell pepper. Add the onion and bell pepper to a large skillet with ½ Tbsp butter and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes). Season the bell pepper and onion with a pinch of salt and pepper. Transfer the bell pepper and onion to a bowl.
  • Dice the ham, then add it to the skillet with another ½ Tbp butter. Sauté the ham over medium heat until it is browned (about 5 minutes). Transfer the ham to a separate bowl and clean the skillet.
  • Crack 12 eggs into a bowl and lightly whisk. Add the last tablespoon butter to the skillet and heat over medium. Once the skillet is hot, spread the butter to coat the surface, then pour in the whisked eggs.
  • Push the eggs in toward the center of the skillet as they set on the bottom, until most of the eggs have set, but the eggs still look moist. Do not over cook the eggs or they'll become dry. Season the eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • To assemble the burritos, add a scoop of scrambled eggs to the middle of each tortilla, then top with a scoop of cooked bell pepper and onion, a handful of cheese, and some of the cooked ham.
  • To roll the burritos, first fold the tortilla up from the bottom, then fold in the sides, and then finish rolling the burrito up until it has closed. Wrap each burrito in parchment paper using the same folding and rolling method (bottom up, sides in, finish rolling up). Label each burrito on the parchment paper or on masking tape
  • Transfer the wrapped burritos to freezer bags, label and date the bags, then place in the freezer.

To Reheat Breakfast Burritos

  • Transfer the breakfast burrito to the refrigerator the day before to thaw. Once thawed, microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, or heat in a skillet over medium-low, about 5 minutes on each side, or until the tortilla is crispy and the insides are warm.
  • To reheat from frozen, use the microwave's defrost setting for about 5 minutes, then microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1burrito | Calories: 615.36kcal | Carbohydrates: 47.38g | Protein: 33.31g | Fat: 30.54g | Sodium: 1243.15mg | Fiber: 1.69g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

The open sides of a cut open breakfast burrito held toward the camera, close up.

How to Make Freezer Breakfast Burritos – Step by Step Photos

Shredded cheddar on a cutting board with the cheese grater.

Prepare all the components of the breakfast burritos before assembly. Shred one 8oz. block of cheddar cheese (or whatever flavor cheese you prefer–pepper jack is also awesome in these!).

 

Sautéed peppers and onions in a skillet

Dice one onion and one bell pepper. You can use any color bell pepper, I just happened to have an extra orange pepper, so I used that. Add the pepper and onion to a skillet with ½ Tbsp butter and sauté over medium until the onions are soft and translucent. Season the peppers and onions with a pinch of salt and pepper, then transfer them to a bowl.

Cooked ham in the skillet

Dice one pound of cooked ham. Add the ham to the skillet with another ½ Tbsp of butter and cook over medium until the ham is browned. Transfer the cooked ham to another bowl. Clean out the skillet.

Whisked eggs in a bowl

Whisk one dozen eggs in a bowl. I like to only lightly whisk my eggs because I enjoy some ribbons of whites and yolks in my scrambled eggs. You can use less or more eggs, if you prefer, but using 12 eggs for 8 burritos will give you 1.5 eggs per burrito, which I find to be a good compromise between budget and quantity.

Cooked eggs in the skillet

Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted and the skillet is heated, pour in the whisked eggs. Gently push the eggs in toward the center of the skillet as they set on the bottom, until most of the eggs are set, but they still look moist. Avoid over cooking the eggs or they will become dry. Season the scrambled eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Build breakfast burritos, eggs on tortillas first

Now that all the components are prepared, it’s time to start assembling the burritos. You can do this one at a time, or lay out all eight tortillas and do them together if that makes it easier for you to divide the ingredients evenly between all eight. Begin with the scrambled eggs.

Add peppers, onions, and cheese to breakfast burritos

Next, add a scoop of the cooked peppers and onions, and a handful of shredded cheese.

Cooked ham added to the breakfast burritos

Finally, add some of the cooked ham to the breakfast burrito (or leave it out if you want to make plain egg and cheese burritos).

Fold and roll breakfast burritos

To roll the breakfast burritos, first roll up the bottom, then fold in the sides, and then finish rolling up from the bottom until it is closed.

Breakfast burrito wrapped in parchment paper and labeled.

Place the rolled breakfast burrito on a square of parchment paper, then use the same rolling technique to wrap it in paper (bottom up, sides in, then finish rolling up). Label your breakfast burrito (I used sharpie on the parchment, but you can also do masking tape and then write on that).

Breakfast burritos in freezer bags

Then place your wrapped breakfast burritos in freezer bags, label the bags with name and date, and transfer to the freezer. For reheating instructions, refer to the text above the recipe card for options.

A reheated breakfast burrito on a plate with a newsprint liner, two small dishes of salsa and sour cream, a tangerine and cup of coffee on the side

And then pat yourself on the back because you have amazing breakfasts prepared and ready to go! (serving suggestion: salsa or sour cream for dipping). 

The post Freezer Breakfast Burritos appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Chunky Ham and Bean Soup

Soup season is already on its way out, but I couldn’t resist one more warm and cozy pot of goodness. For this super easy and deliciously chunky Ham and Bean Soup I took cue from my easy Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup and used a puréed can of beans to thicken the pot, combined that […]

The post Chunky Ham and Bean Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Soup season is already on its way out, but I couldn’t resist one more warm and cozy pot of goodness. For this super easy and deliciously chunky Ham and Bean Soup I took cue from my easy Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup and used a puréed can of beans to thicken the pot, combined that with some chunky and colorful vegetables and a handful of diced ham to round out this meal in a bowl. This is also a great use for your leftover holiday ham, so bookmark this recipe for Easter next month!

Thick & Chunky Ham and Bean Soup

Two bowls of chunky ham and bean soup with torn chunks of bread on the side

What Kind of Beans Should I Use?

I used cannellini beans for this soup because I love their large shape and creamy texture. You can also use a different type of white beans, like navy beans or great northern beans. 

Can I Use Dry Beans?

This recipe is written specifically for canned beans. Using dry beans would require different methods and different amounts of liquids and seasoning, so I would need to develop and test a recipe specifically for dry beans before providing instructions.

What Kind of Ham Can I Use?

You can use virtually any cooked ham. The ham I used is an uncured, fully cooked, thick sliced ham. If using pre-sliced ham, a thicker slice works a little better than thin sandwich slices, which won’t give much texture to the soup. If you have leftover cooked ham from Easter or any other holiday, that can also be used in this recipe.

Can I Freeze Ham and Bean Soup?

Yes, this soup is a great candidate for freezing! Simply chill the soup completely in the refrigerator overnight before transferring to the freezer for long term storage (about 3 months). I prefer to divide my soup into single servings before freezing, so they can be reheated as needed and in the amount needed. Quart-sized freezer bags are great for freezing soup, as are the small blue-top Ziploc food storage containers.

Close up front view of a bowl full of chunky ham and bean soup with a spoon lifting some and a chunk of bread in the side of the bowl.

 
Two bowls of chunky ham and bean soup with chunks of bread on the side
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Chunky Ham and Bean Soup

This incredibly easy and deliciously chunky Ham and Bean Soup features a medley of colorful vegetables, browned ham, and plenty of hearty white beans.
Total Cost $6.70 recipe / $1.68 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 553.83kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 3 carrots $0.30
  • 3 ribs celery $0.35
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 lb. cooked ham $3.75
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 3 15oz. cans cannellini beans $1.47
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme $0.02
  • freshly cracked black pepper $0.03
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or more as needed) $0.26

Instructions

  • Dice the onion, peel and slice the carrots, slice the celery, and mince the garlic.
  • Dice the ham into bite-sized chunks. Add the ham and cooking oil to a large soup pot. Sauté the ham for 3-5 minutes over medium heat, or until it achieves a decent amount of browning. Remove the browned ham to a clean bowl.
  • Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to the pot in place of the ham. Sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes over medium heat, or until the onions have softened. Allow the moisture released from the vegetables to help dissolve the browned bits of ham from the bottom of the soup pot as you stir.
  • While the vegetables are sautéing, add one of the three cans of beans to a blender, with the liquid from the can, and purée until smooth. Drain the remaining two cans of beans.
  • Add all three cans of beans (one puréed and two drained) to the soup pot with the vegetables. Also add 1/4 tsp dried thyme, some freshly cracked pepper (about 10 cranks of a pepper mill), and 2 cups chicken broth. Stir to combine, then turn the heat up to medium-high and allow the soup to come to a boil.
  • Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to medium and allow the soup to continue to boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. As the soup boils it will reduce and thicken. If the soup becomes too thick, add more vegetable broth or water to achieve your desired soup consistency.
  • After the soup has boiled for 15 minutes and has thickened, stir the cooked ham back into the soup. Give the soup a taste and adjust the salt or pepper to your liking. I did not add any additional salt, but I did top each bowl with a little fresh pepper. Serve hot!

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 553.83kcal | Carbohydrates: 75.33g | Protein: 41.75g | Fat: 9.98g | Sodium: 2143.8mg | Fiber: 18.23g

Close up of a ladle full of chunky ham and bean soup being held over the soup pot

How to Make Ham and Bean Soup – Step by Step Photos

Chopped vegetables on a cutting board

Before you begin, dice one yellow onion, peel and slice three carrots, slice three ribs of celery, and mince two cloves of garlic.

Uncured ham pacakge

This is the type of ham I used. You can use any cooked ham, but a thicker slice works better than thin sandwich slices. You can also use cooked holiday ham. You’ll need one pound of cooked ham.

Browned ham in the soup pot

Dice one pound of ham and add it to a soup pot with one tablespoon cooking oil. Cook the ham over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the ham is browned on the edges. Remove the ham to a clean bowl.

Diced vegetables cooked in soup pot.

Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the pot in place of the ham and continue to cook over medium for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are softened. Use the moisture released from the vegetables to dissolve the browned bits off the bottom of the pot.

Whole and pureed beans added to soup pot

While the vegetables are cooking, add one of the three cans of cannellini beans to a blender (with the liquid from the can) and purée until smooth. Drain the other two cans. Add the puréed beans and drained beans to the soup pot.

thyme pepper and chicken broth added to the soup pot

Also add 1/4 tsp dried thyme, some freshly cracked pepper, and 2 cups of chicken broth to the pot. Stir to combine. The soup will be fairly watery at this point.

Boiled ham and bean soup

Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the soup up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down slightly to medium and let the soup boil for 15 minutes, stirring often. The soup will reduce and thicken as it boils. If it becomes too thick for your liking, simply add a little more water or chicken broth to reach your desired consistency.

Cooked ham being poured back into the soup pot

After boiling the soup for 15 minutes, stir the cooked ham back into the pot. Give the soup a taste and adjust the salt or pepper, if needed.

Finished chunky ham and bean soup in the soup pot with bread on the side

Serve the chunky Ham and Bean Soup hot, preferably with crusty bread for dipping!

Two bowls of chunky ham and bean soup with chunks of bread on the side

The post Chunky Ham and Bean Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

28 Side Dishes That Get Along Great With Ham

Ham is a friendly protein that gets along with just about everyone. That said, there are certain dishes that really compliment this ingredient’s salty, smoky, sorta-sweet personality. Below are our go-to dishes, with a few recipe options for each. But …

Ham is a friendly protein that gets along with just about everyone. That said, there are certain dishes that really compliment this ingredient’s salty, smoky, sorta-sweet personality. Below are our go-to dishes, with a few recipe options for each. But first, a couple of our favorite ham recipes in case you’re on the hunt:


Mac & Cheese

1. Stovetop Mac & Cheese

This mac and cheese has two secret ingredients: garlic powder and white pepper. They add a can’t-put-your-finger-on-it savoriness that’ll have people asking for thirds.

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Glazed Baked Ham

Glazed Baked Ham is so easy and delicious! Choose from two different glazes, both with honey. Baked ham is a great way to feed a crowd during the holidays. Continue reading “Glazed Baked Ham” »

Glazed Baked Ham is so easy and delicious! Choose from two different glazes, both with honey. Baked ham is a great way to feed a crowd during the holidays.

Continue reading "Glazed Baked Ham" »

‘Tis the Season for Glazed, Glistening Hams—Here Are 11 Ways to Use the Leftovers

November may be the time for turkey—but the second December rolls around, ’tis the season for ham. Be it super-simply roasted with spices and brown sugar or baked spiral-style with apricot jam and mustard, few main dishes stand out on the dinner table …

November may be the time for turkey—but the second December rolls around, 'tis the season for ham. Be it super-simply roasted with spices and brown sugar or baked spiral-style with apricot jam and mustard, few main dishes stand out on the dinner table like a glazed and glistening ham.

But with every showstopping ham comes a lot of leftover meat. And delicious though it may be to munch on a couple slices cold, straight from the fridge (a thing I have done many, many times), why not repurpose the ham in one of these tasty recipes?

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How to Cook a Ham Like a Champ

Whether you’re hosting a gaggle of relatives for the holiday or planning a special night for you and your sweetie: Go ahead and bake a ham. As the late Marion Cunningham put it, “Baked ham is an ideal main dish for beginning cooks and the best answer f…

Whether you’re hosting a gaggle of relatives for the holiday or planning a special night for you and your sweetie: Go ahead and bake a ham. As the late Marion Cunningham put it, “Baked ham is an ideal main dish for beginning cooks and the best answer for the harried cook.” Any leftovers freeze beautifully (hi, hello sandwiches, sautéed greens, fried rice). And what’s more festive than a honking roast? Today, we’re covering ham 101 and answering FAQ.


What is a ham, anyway?

Just like steak (ribeye! flank! bone-in! dry-aged!), the world of ham is full of terms. Let’s break down the important ones:

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