Oven-Baked Chimichangas are an easy and versatile family dinner idea that are healthier than the traditional deep-fried versions.
This post is part of a sponsored campaign on behalf of Lundberg Family Farms and Brandfluential.
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I’m not sure if what I do is actual “resolutions”, but I enjoy starting fresh in the new year and thinking about the changes I want to make. This year, I decided to work on something I haven’t done enough. I’ve started making better food choices and learning more about the ingredients on the items I buy. I have a LOT to learn, but I’m determined to make 2014 a year that I get a bit more personal with whole, real foods.
While I’m continuing to cook new recipes as usual, I have some old favorites that have been getting a makeover. One of those meals is Oven-Baked Chimichangas — which are traditionally a deep-fried burrito. I’ve been baking them for years though, which no doubt makes them healthier, but there was still other areas to improve this meal.
One change I’ve made is that I make them with 100% Whole Wheat Tortillas. Only one of my kids even mentioned the change — my oldest son said “Thanks, Mom…those were good. But I could tell you used a healthy tortilla or something”. I’ll take that as a compliment, especially since he ate THREE of them.
One of the fillings we almost always use for chimichangas is Spanish rice — my husband’s favorite. While I know how to make homemade Spanish rice, I usually pick up a packaged rice dish. Homemade Spanish rice is not hard, but the simplicity of a boxed rice entree makes my life even easier and pretty much guarantees a successful outcome.
Prior to a few weeks ago, I had bought a variety of Spanish Rice boxed dishes…never once paying attention to the ingredients. But now that I am paying attention, I have found a product that I never noticed before: Lundberg Family Farms Organic Whole Grain Southwestern Rice. It’s an organic, whole grain rice dish that works great as a side dish or as part of a main dish, such as in the case of our chimichangas.
One of the things I liked the most about the Lundberg Southwestern Rice (and their other products) is that the ingredient list was short AND I could understand and read all the words on the the box. It might seem like such a little thing, but really, this is huge! Now that I’m reading labels more, I find my fair share of ingredient lists with items I can’t pronounce. Not the case with the Lundberg Rice.
One box of Lundberg Southwestern Rice is plenty for making Oven Baked Chimichangas for a family of 6 — and maybe even more. As you seen the photo before, it has black beans and corn included, so I was able to skip making a pot of beans for our chimichangas. The seasonings are perfect and not spicy hot. My youngest son is always the official “is it spicy” taste tester and he liked it, so it gets a big thumbs up from him.
In addition to the Lundberg rice entree, you’ll just need 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast that is cut into thin strips. You’ll also want some colorful bell peppers (I used 3: orange, red, and yellow), plus a medium onion. All this is cooked in a skillet and seasoned with a simple blend of chili pepper, cayenne, cumin, and garlic powder (a homemade taco seasoning I make).
To make the chimichangas, you’ll lay a line of your chicken mixture on a 100% whole wheat tortilla. You top that with the Southwestern Rice. If you wish, you can add some shredded cheese. I say “if you wish” but what I really mean is ADD SOME SHREDDED CHEESE. Ok, you don’t have to, but cheese rocks, especially in a chimichanga. Feel free to skip is you want to save the fat or calories.
The chimichangas are rolled up and placed on a greased baking sheet. The tops are sprayed or lightly brushed with olive oil or grapeseed oil (I sprayed with grapeseed oil) and baked until brown and crispy.
We like to serve our Oven Baked Chimichangas with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you already know what my youngest dipped his chimichanga in — all hail the ketchup king. We also usually have tortilla chips to go along with it, as well as some fresh fruit.
I’ve included the complete recipe below, but the great thing about this recipe is how versatile it is. Here’s more filling ideas:
- Refried Beans
- Black Beans
- Thinly sliced steak
- Ground beef or turkey
- Any leftover meat (such as from a roasted chicken)
- Rotisserie whole chicken (buy at grocery store, take meat off bones)
- Shredded meat — pork, chicken, beef
- Roasted vegetables (zucchini, corn, sweet potato, etc)
- ….your own idea! What are your ideas?
- 1 box Lundberg Organic Whole Grain Southwestern Rice
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut into thin strips)
- 3 small bell peppers, seeded and sliced
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 6 100% whole wheat tortillas (approximately 9" size)
- Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil, or Cooking Spray of your choice
- Optional: shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, etc.
- ½ tablespoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- Prepare rice entree according to package instructions and set aside. Mix seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Grease a large baking sheets with oil or cooking spray. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- In a large skillet, heat approximately 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add chicken strips and cook until no longer pink and starting to brown. Add bell pepper and onion to chicken and cook over low heat just until vegetables are just barely tender-crisp (don't over cook). If any liquid remains in pan, drain it off. Sprinkle chicken/veggies with seasoning and drizzle 1-2 tablespoons water over seasoning. Stir to combine with chicken/veggies.
- Lay one tortillas on clean work space or counter top. Place approximately ½ cup of chicken & vegetable mixture in the middle of the tortilla, in a line. Place approximately ¼ cup of rice on top of chicken. Top with shredded cheese if desired.
- Fold opposite sides of the tortilla (near each side of the "line" of ingredients) inward towards the center. Fold bottom edge (edge closest to you) of tortilla over filling. Roll until filling is completely enclosed. Place seam side down on baking sheet. Repeat with additional tortillas. When all tortillas have been filled, spray or brush tops and sides of chimichangas generously.
- Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes, turn chimichangas over once after about 5-7 minutes. Bake until browned and crispy. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, etc.
So now that I showed you that food can be easy AND delicious, I have two VERY excited giveaways to share with you!
First, share a tip or idea you have for making real food easy and convenient on the Lundberg Family Farms Facebook page. By doing so, you’ll be entered to win a $500 Visa Gift Card, plus Lundberg products. Be sure to ENTER HERE by February 14.
One giveaway is pretty cool, but Lundberg Family Farms is spreading even more real food goodness by sponsoring a giveaway here! Just enter on the Rafflecoper below and you will have a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card, plus 11 boxed entrees from Lundberg!