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From 6th grade until the end of high school, my cousin Lauren used to visit Indiana at least once a year to spend a week with my family. We always had fun doing things that preteen and teenage girls do, but one experience in particular stands out among others (like the time Lauren cut her head open on my parents’ banister, or when she sprained her ankle during one of our backyard dance recitals — oh, the stories I could tell!).
One night, my parents took us to the local Mexican restaurant for dinner. We all ordered chimichangas, but Lauren had a special request — she wanted hers filled with beans rather than meat. A somewhat simple request — “with beans, please!” — turned into a pretty hilarious experience. If I’m remembering correctly, the first waiter didn’t understand her English, so he went and got another server who spoke English more fluently. Unfortunately, that waiter didn’t understand her either, and thus began what seemed like a 10 minute conversation about beans, with Lauren eventually yelling, “I want beans!” — as if speaking louder would translate it to Spanish or something .
I can’t even remember if her chimichanga ended up coming out with beans only — probably not — but to this day, anytime I eat a chimichanga, I’m reminded of the confusion that beans once caused us at the Mexican restaurant.
Luckily for Lauren, and anyone else who enjoys Mexican food, these chimichangas are healthy and can easily be whipped up at home, with no bean confusion. If you’d prefer a bean chimichanga, simply replace the chicken in this recipe with 2 cans of refried beans!
Skinny Chicken Chimichangas
1 lb. chicken breasts
2/3 cup salsa
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6, 8 in. whole wheat tortillas
salt and pepper, to taste
cooking spray (I use Kroger’s Organic Canola Oil Spray — it has 0 calories and no funny aftertaste)
avocado slices and salsa, for garnish
1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and bake on 400* until cooked, about 20 minutes. Once cooked, shred or chop chicken and place in a medium bowl.
2. Add salsa, cumin, oregano and cheese to the bowl. Mix together until chicken is coated.
3. Line a baking sheet with foil (spray foil with cooking spray so tortillas don’t stick), and lay out 6 tortillas. Fill each tortilla with a 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture. For each tortilla, fold opposite sides over the filling, roll from the bottom up, and place seam side down on the baking sheet.
4. Spray each chimichanga thoroughly with cooking spray (this will give it a crispy, oven-fried texture once cooked!).
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
6. Garnish with avocado slices and salsa (I mix avocado chunks into my salsa to create an avocado-salsa — it’s delicious!).
Recipe adapted from Kitchme.