Saturday is Cinco de Mayo, so I figured (like every other food blogger on the planet this week) that I’d throw a Mexican inspired meal your way. I love Mexican food and, thankfully, my family does as well, so we are frequent patrons at the Mexican restaurants around town. Every time we try a new Mexican place, my husband orders a chimichanga. He feels that if they can make a chimi that he enjoys, it’s worth stopping in to visit them again. I love a good chimi myself, but my waistline does not. They are delicious for a reason…chicken or beef, stuffed with cheese, sometimes rice, and seasonings into a flour tortilla that’s then deep-fried and, sometimes, topped with more cheese, guacamole and sour cream? It’s like a heart attack on a plate! It’s one of those dishes that I can’t, in good conscience, eat all the time. If I did…well, we just don’t want to go there.
One of the things I love about a good chimi is the crispy shell around all of the goodies inside. I’m not a soft taco person. I like a hard shell, so I like chimis for the same reason. I like the crunch! That crunch comes at a hefty calorie price, though. It’s kind of depressing.
So, when I’m in the mood for Mexican, but can’t afford the calorie splurge, I often turn to this recipe. I’ve made it a lot over the years and everyone in the family enjoys it. Is it as rich and decadent as a great restaurant chimi? No. Does it take care of the craving? Yes…and with a much smaller punch to the gut. This is actually a recipe out of one of my Weight Watchers cookbooks. I have quite a few Weight Watchers cookbooks and use them all the time. Even if you’re not following their program, check one out sometime. There’s some great stuff in those books! For those of you who follow their point system, based on how I’ve tweaked the recipe, I’m going to guesstimate that these are about 6 points a piece (using the PointsPlus system). I’ve changed the recipe slightly from the book, to suit our tastes, but I’m pretty confident in that point amount! Considering a regular restaurant chimichanga can top the scales at around 20 points a piece, 6 seems like nothing!
I start by browning up some ground turkey breast along with some chopped onion, garlic, salt, chili powder, oregano, and cumin.
Once that’s all browned up nicely and the onions have softened a bit, I add a small can of tomato sauce and a couple of tablespoons of canned diced green chiles. The chiles add some spice, but not enough that my girls are scared away. In fact, they love when we have this for dinner!
The turkey mixture cooks for just about five minutes, not long at all. While the mixture is simmering away, I warm up some low-carb wheat tortillas in the oven, just to soften them up a bit.
After the meat finishes up on the stove, I take the pan off the heat and stir in about 1/2 cup of reduced fat cheddar cheese. Then, I build my chimis! I scoop about 1/2 cup of the filling into the middle of one of the warmed tortillas and then roll each one up like a little package.
Once they are all rolled up, I spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray and place the chimis on the sheet. Then, before popping them in the oven, I spray the chimis with nonstick spray. Just that little bit of oil helps them crisp up so nicely when they’re in the oven!
After 20 minutes in the oven, I have perfectly sized, crispy, crunchy little chimis just waiting to be gobbled up! I always serve them with low-fat sour cream, chopped tomato and fresh, chopped avocado. The night I made these, I also served them with fresh pineapple and black beans.
Whether it’s Cinco de Mayo or just any old day, these quick and easy little chimichangas make dinner a little more fun, and still manage to keep dinner healthy. Now, if I could just figure out how to keep my chips, queso dip and margaritas super-waistline friendly, I’d be all set!
CRISPY, OVEN-BAKED CHIMICHANGAS
Adapted from Weight Watchers: Take Out Tonight!
- ½ lb. ground skinless turkey breast
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
- 2 Tbsp. chopped mild green chiles
- ½ cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
- 4-6 (8 inch) low carb, wheat tortillas
- Preheat the oven to 400*. Spray a nonstick cookie sheet with nonstick spray and set aside.
- Spray a skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium high heat. Add the turkey, onion, garlic, chili powder, oregano, and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally to break up the turkey, until turkey is browned and onion has softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and green chiles, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheddar.
- Meanwhile, wrap the tortillas in foil and place in the warmed oven for 10 minutes, to soften them up.
- Spoon about ½ cup of the filling into the middle of each tortilla. Fold in the sides, and then roll up to make a little package that holds in the filling. Place the chimis on the prepared cookie sheet and spray the chimis with nonstick spray as well.
- Bake until golden and crisp, about 20 minutes. Do not turn over during baking. Serve with low-fat sour cream, tomato and avocado. Approx. 6 WW Points+ a piece...according to my own estimation, not Weight Watchers'. (The garnish is not included in that point value.)
- Serves 4-6 (Sometimes, the filling fills 4, sometimes 6, this time...5. Have 6 tortillas on hand, just in case!)