The Tortilla Thing

tortilla meal

As a child, one of the first recipes I learned to make was what we called the Tortilla Thing. I think we called it the Thing because my mother didn't know the real name of it. Years later, when I was living on my own and in absolute poverty, the Tortilla Thing became a staple of my diet - partially because of how quick and easy it was to make, and partially because of it's low-cost. One package of tortillas, one can of refried beans, and one hunk of cheese will make as many as twelve Tortilla Things. This was enough to feed me for an entire week when financial-times were tough.


1 Flour-tortilla
1/8 can refried beans
1 Tablespoon butter or margarine
Optional Ingredients
Cheese (Jack, Chedar, or "American")
Salsa, Tabasco, Tapatio, etc
Ground Beef (cooked)
Salt/Pepper/Garlic salt

Open the tortilla and cover one-half with the beans, cheese, salsa, pepper, garlic salt, and ground beef. Fold the tortilla over the filling and spread the butter/margarine lightly over the outside of the top half. Place the folded tortilla thing into a medium-sized frying pan or hot-plate, butter-side down. Spread more butter over the top (up-facing) half.
Cook at medium heat for approximately 5 minutes, or until golden-brown (you'll have to lift it to check), then flip and cook for 4-5 more minutes until browned on the opposite side. Add salt to the outside and serve.



Sounds yummy...especially for a thing. A little variation on this - use basically the same ingredients in larger amounts and layer them lasagna style in a lasagna pan (or cake pan or loaf pan or whatever) with any tomato-based sauce you care to use (e.g. salsa, Rotel, enchillada sauce, etc.). Basically, you dip about 6 tortillas in the sauce (for a 9x13 pan), lay them on the bottom of the pan, then add ground beef (or turkey or any other meat you like), beans, corn (if you want), a little more sauce, cheese, and then another layer of tortillas. Build it up about two layers then bake for about a half hour or until it is bubbling in an oven set to around 350 degrees. When you pull it out of the oven, let it cool until it's set up a bit then slice. As I'm single, I eat one slice and then wrap the other slices in Press and Seal and put them in the freezer for later. They'll keep at least a month if wrapped properly and it's really convenient to come home and pop a serving of something without added preservatives in the microwave.

omg! how could i have ever ever missed this? i never miss a food thread. sounds delicious. going to try it and submit it in the $10 recipe cook book.


u know this is a taco de frijol... thats what we call it... except that we usually make it with corn tortillas...


.Live. .Love. .Laugh.

Tortilla lasagna? That's really good :) I've always wanted to try making that.  I've only had it catered though.  It was really delicious :D

I love the "Tortilla Thing" , a quesadilla with the works.  What is great about that is you can healthy it up if you like.  Wheat tortillas, chicken instead of ground beef.  And when it's all done melting and cooking you can open it and add lettuce, tomatoes, even sour cream. YUM.  I really love using this instead of a frying pan though :)

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