Thursday, February 9, 2012

Make In, Don't Take Out: Easy Baked Chimichangas

Pin It  Some nights you just don't feel like cooking.  Face it, it probably happens more often than you'd like to admit.  And it's kind of like not being able to find the right outfit to wear in the morning... it's seriously frustrating.

If you're like me, you get home from work, change clothes and waste a few minutes getting your bearings.  Then you spend about 45 minutes standing around in the kitchen, opening up the cupboards and staring into the refrigerator.  Maybe you consult one of your many cookbooks.  Or you start puttering around, looking at recipes on Pinterest -- all of which require some sort of random ingredient that you know you don't have in the house.  Eventually, you realize that inspiration is simply never going to hit.  And that's when you begrudgingly pick up the phone to call for takeout (which always ends up to be "not quite what you wanted," doesn't it?)

It's on those evenings when you need some seriously awesome "Make In" recipes.  These are the types of things that almost always sound delicious, don't require too much fussing, and can be pulled together on the flip of a dime -- even on a busy weeknight.

In addition to keeping frozen chili, tomato soup, and pasta sauce on hand, I have a small cadre of  recipes in my repertoire that can be whipped up in 30 minutes or less.  And these are one of them.

The fact is, I'm a sucker for Latin-American food.  Give me Cuban, Puerto-Rican, Mexican, or Tex-Mex and I'm generally a pretty happy camper. Chicken chimichangas are one of my favorite indulgences. Crispy, deep fried tortillas filled with chicken and cheese. Calories galore, but never short on flavor.

Interestingly enough, these baked chimichangas are pretty killer, and they don't require you to haul out the deep fryer (and don't let the nay-sayers fool you... a little bit of cooking oil in a very hot oven gives even the most stubborn of tortillas a perfectly respectable crispy crust). As an added bonus, since you control exactly what goes into them, you can make them even easier, healthier, or more creative with a few small tweaks of your own.

We've been known to make ours with canned (or leftover homemade) refried beans, leftover roasted or rotisserie chicken, or (my favorite) Cuban pulled pork.  Any which way is delicious. It just depends what you have on hand and how much work you're willing to put into it.

I like to serve meat-filled chimichangas with a side of refried beans & some sauteed kale.  But, you could be even simpler and serve them with a quick chipotle-lime dressed side salad.  Or a quick slaw.  The point isn't to be fancy.  It's to make good food, fast.

Got leftover meat or beans and tortillas?  Make chimichangas. Dinner will be on the table in 40 minutes flat, and your kids will think you're a super hero.

Easy Baked Chimichangas

©BURP! Where Food Happens

6 comments:

  1. These look seriously good, and I couldn't agree more with "make in, don't take out". Thanks!

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  2. Yum! I'm always on the lookout for something fast after a long day!

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  3. this sounds AND looks amazing! yummy!

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  4. I love how you baked these chimi's instead. What a great idea. I seriously want a plate of them right now...too bad it's so late :( But tomorrow...YUM! Can't wait. Thanks for the post. Love your site!

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