Impromptu Freezer Cooking Day: Brown Bag Burritos, Oranges and Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Once I finished making the Chocolate Chip Pancakes, I made the Brown Bag Burritos. Since I already had chicken cooked, I went ahead and substituted chicken for the ground beef. Because you know how I just can’t bear to stick with a recipe exactly! :)

I realized that I didn’t have enough tortillas for all the filling, so I just filled the tortillas I had and put the rest of the filling in bags to freeze. While not quite as nice as having the burritos completely made, it’s really simple to just thaw the filling and make up a quick pan of burritos. Plus, it takes up less space in the freezer.

And then the freezing oranges experiment commenced.

I just cut, peeled, pulled them into pieces and stuck them in a freezer bag. I’m anxious to try them in some smoothies and see how they turn out. I have visions of variations on Orange Cream Smoothies.

Then it was time to roll out the bread dough for Cinnamon Swirl Bread. I’m happy to report that it actually turned out this week and we ate almost the entire loaf for dinner.

I spent the rest of the evening making granola, finishing our homeschool lessons for the day, playing with the children in the snow, cleaning up messes and more messes (!), getting dinner on the table, helping Jesse shovel the mountain of snow on the driveway (talk about a workout!) and then we all settled in and read four chapters of On The Banks of Plum Creek before bedtime.

All in all, it was a good day — even if my kitchen isn’t very clean right now and I’m pretty tired!

Coming up tomorrow: Granola photos and Cinnamon Swirl Bread recipe

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Comments

  1. says

    I’m starting a new job working 3-11 M-F so I think I need to start freezer cooking so the family doesn’t live on hotdogs and mac&cheese! :) I freeze some of our meals (Pulled Pork, Taco meat etc) already but I’m going to go through your recipes to see what else I can add to our freezer stock!

    BTW, my 5 y/o daughter and I just started reading “Farmer Boy”. I loved all the Little House books growing up and we just started reading them together…love sharing them with her! (And getting to read them again myself!)

    • Stephanie says

      I used to work 3-11 part time and I would make dinner at noon so my husband could just reheat it at dinner time and I could take some to work with me for lunch.

  2. Shannon says

    How do your burritos not taste yuck? I can never get dishes with flour tortillas to not taste gluey and gross after defrosting.

  3. Kim says

    What kind of enchillada sauce do you use in the Brown bag Burritos?
    Is it in a can? Red? Brand?

    Have you made them with chicken before?
    I was wondering about doing that myself.

    thanks!
    Kim in Cali

    • says

      The cheapest I’ve seen organic wheat berries is 50cents/lb. That’s when you buy 50lbs. That price is from a local co-op. I haven’t seen anything cheaper in the stores, but would also love to know if there is a cheaper way!

    • Chrys says

      And I’m wondering about seeds, since I tried a few oranges myself, then realized I’d forgotten that part, but I’m saving for a blender that’s more powerful before I try to use them in recipes.

    • Stephanie says

      I have tried and didn’t like the stringy stuff in it, so I juiced them before using them in smoothies. I would freeze the juice.

      • Wendi S says

        Same here. The smoothies came out too pulpy for me. Maybe if you drink them while still really slushy from the frozen fruit, it would be different?

        • Jeanna says

          I do the oranges every week , but everyone eats them before I get a chance to try them in the smoothies. I peel 12 oranges every week and they eat them as snack and dessert. I guess I am going to have to peel some and hide them if I am ever going to try making them into smoothies. Then again my family eatting orange slices for breakfast not such a bad thing.

    • Jennifer says

      I hate about 99.9% of veggies (wish I didn’t!), so I have taken up juicing. Along with the veggies, I throw in either pineapple or orange. Both are strong tasting and mask the taste of the veggies. I have a knock-off Magic Bullet ($10 with a sale plus a coupon from Kohl’s, so I figure I couldn’t go wrong! :) ), and peeled oranges have always come out fine. The secret for me is to throw a couple of ice cubes in so it has more of a frozen smoothie consistency. I buy seedless oranges, but a neighbor gave me some oranges from his tree a couple weeks ago that I’ve been using and I haven’t noticed any seeds left in my smoothies.

  4. abbie says

    Those burritoes are a staple at my house-my husbands likes to take them in his lunch. The last time I made them, I used refried beans, black beans, salsa and cheese. Oh, and I put some rice in. It was a good change (something different) and it was meatless (cheaper to make). It’s a good recipe.

  5. says

    I’m so glad your Cinnamon Swirl Bread turned out better this time :) How do you reheat your frozen pancakes? I tried that once, and put them betweent two moist paper towels in the microwave, and they turned out kind of mushy. My boys still ate them, but they lost that outside “crust” like when you make them fresh. Any ideas?

    • Lisa says

      We always reheat our pancakes in the toaster- just like you would head up frozen waffles or pancakes from the store. You can throw them in frozen, and that way they don’t end up mushy. It works great to do chocolate chip pancakes- I don’t cut them up and just let my boys eat them with their hands- plus you don’t have to worry about a syrup mess. Keep in mind that if the pancakes are too small, you’ll have to fish them out, and if they are too big, they won’t fit very well…

      • Nancy says

        I second the toaster for reheating pancakes, works for french toast, too. Homemade frozen pancakes, waffles and french toaster are WAY cheaper than store bought and usually healthier.

  6. Stephanie says

    I notice that you use your breadmaker quite often. I am looking into purchasing one, but the prices vary so much. Any suggestions on an inexpensive, but good bread maker? It’s just me and my 3 year old son, so we won’t be using it a ton. Thanks

    • Leah says

      If it doesn’t creep you out, I would consider buying one used. I see them on craigslist, at garage sales, and at consignment/thrift shops all the time! I bought mine for $4 at salvation army in like new condition, I just washed the usable parts very well before use and sanitized the outside. It’s an Oster, works great, and I found the manual online. I think a lot of people get them for weddings and never use them.

    • Roxanne says

      I’ve had two used bread machines off Craigslist and one brand new Zorushi. Honestly, good bread depends on a good breadmaker (you) more than a good machine.

      When my Zorushi eventually dies I’ll be replacing it with a used cheapie.

      • says

        I got my breadmaker at walmart for 29.99. I don’t use it a ton, so that might be why it’s lasted me so long. It’s a sunbeam brand.

  7. Alyson says

    Could you use thawed frozen bread dough for the Cinnamon Bread rather than making it in a bread machine? I would love to try this, but do not have a bread machine.

  8. says

    If you don’t care for the oranges in smoothies (or even if you do!), another way to use them is ground up in a quick bread. Ground up in a food processor – even with peels – they’re as easy to use as pumpkin, zucchini or whatnot.

    • says

      I love this idea. I chop whole oranges for cranberry-orange relish, but is never occurred to me to use it as I would zucchini or pumpkin. My mom sent us 40# of oranges and everyone around here is getting a bit tired of them… now I know what to do with them. What spices do you use in your orange quick bread?

      • says

        Cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg work very well. I’ve also been thinking about using cardamom and black pepper but haven’t tried it yet. Now that I think about it, keeping the batter kind of plain (using just vanilla maybe) but adding chocolate chips might be yummy – kind of like those chocolate oranges that are sold at Christmas?

  9. nancy says

    I froze clementines I had left over after Christmas. Certain websites I found online said to make a simple syrup of water or juice and sugar and cover the oranges with that before freezing. I tried in a smoothie this morning. Using my magic bullet, it was kind of stringy with the pulp.

  10. Kelly Irene says

    I love the idea of freezer cooking, but I don’t know how I would find room in my freezer for it! I am currently working on “cleaning out” the freezer and pantry this month, but even once I do use up much of what is in there, it’s so small I don’t think I could do a whole lot of freezer cooking. Would you mind sharing a picture of your freezer so we could see what kind of space you are working with? Thanks!!

    • Nancy says

      I’ve got a medium sized chest freezer and I don’t like to cook just to put it in the freezer, BUT I do like to put meal ready stuff in the freezer. Some of things I freeze for future meals are: chicken broth, cooked and cut-up chicken and other meats, mashed sweet potatoes and winter squash, cookie dough and burritos. I have made mac-n-cheese, from milk that was on verge of expiring, put it gallon freezer bags and froze it. Even a small freezer can be put togood use, freezer bags are easy to squeeze into small spaces, so use them instead of containers. I worked with one for years before I was able to convince my hubby that we would be better served by a larger freezer. Best wishes. :D

  11. gina says

    I am thinking about the buying a bread machine. What kind do you have? The prices vary quite a bit and I can’t decide on one…. Thanks! I read you site everyday and really enjoy it!

    • Stephanie says

      Zojirushi is the best! Expensive but you can find one on Ebay pretty reasonable. It’s worth the investment for the durability and quality of bread it makes.

  12. Nancy says

    Too many burritos? Need a quick dinner? Place several, thawed burritos in a baking dish, cover with enchilada sauce and shredded cheese, bake at 350 for 30 mins. Dinner is served. :D

  13. says

    Four chapters! They have long attention spans. But if you keep that pace up, you’ll be done too soon. ;-)
    Actually, I feel like being done with the Little House books anytime is too soon. We’re on “These Happy Golden Years” now and I keep eying the shrinking remainder of the book with sadness.
    On the upside, maybe we will go through these books every year or every other year, because as my girls get older they will understand and appreciate them so much more. I know I experience them on a whole new level as an adult.

    • says

      We’re trying to finish the book we’re on this week, so we’ve been reading four chapters every day — and they keep begging for more. It’s so fun to see them really starting to love chapter books! Now Silas, on the other hand, he could care less!

  14. Darrah says

    Today’s lunch is a Brown Bag Burrito! :) We’re on a no-meat week (experimental) so I made this last batch with just beans, enchilada sauce, cheese and a bit of salsa. It’s just as yummy as the kind with ground beef or chicken!

    And we freeze our extra Brown Bag Burrito filling, too. Our favorite way to use it when we don’t have tortillas is heated up (and maybe thinned out a bit with a little salsa) and poured over a plate of tortilla chips and topped with lettuce, avocado (if I have it on hand), sour cream, etc. for a nacho plate. I’ve also used it just as a chip dip at parties and it’s awesome that way, too. It’s such a versatile base, you can really use it anywhere and not just in tortillas!

  15. Erin says

    I have a question about freezer cooking. When you prep everything, do you keep all of the separate ingredients in the same containers or separate them into recipes? For example, I made several recipes that all called for an onion. Some also called for garlic, green peppers, etc. Most of the time these things just say “1 onion” and not a certain cup amount. So, I chopped the onions for each recipe at the same time but kept them in different containers, labeling them. So one said “chili” and had the onion, green pepper, and other chopped veggies to be sauteed at the same time. Just wondering how you or other readers handle that. Thanks!

  16. says

    I hope that you will let us know how the frozen oranges turn out. I have been making “orange julius” in my Ninja with delicious mandarin oranges. But I think they’d be better if the oranges were frozen, then I wouldn’t have to add so much ice or other frozen fruit. I usually just put in some oranges, ice, sometimes a little milk, and some vanilla protein powder. DELICIOUS!!!

  17. TERESITA BABCOCK says

    How funny! My husband and I were just wondering if you can freeze oranges. They are 18c a lbs at Winco this week, and if they taste good after freezing, I want alot! haha Has anyone ever eaten them after they have been frozen? How do they taste?

  18. Michelle says

    I’m not sure how it would work with oranges, but whenever I freeze fruit I spread it out on wax paper lined jelly roll pans then put it in the freezer until frozen. Then I bag it up and put it back in the freezer. That way if you don’t use the entire batch you won’t have to thaw it to get them apart. Also when you o to use the bag full of oranges it probably won’t fit in you blender with it all frozen in a lump, so this prevents that also. I do this also when I make cookies. I freeze them as dough balls instead of the whole portion then I can just put a sheet in the oven and not have to unthaw the whole thing.

  19. Melissa says

    It may just be me but I cannot find the receipe for the cinnamon swirl bread. I even looked in the receipe section but didn’t see it. Can you please tell me where to find it. Thanks!

  20. Heather says

    I’ve been searching your site for your recipe for the cinnamon swirl bread and can’t seem to find it. I can’t wait to attempt it!