Turkey and Cheese Chimichangas

I have a bad habit of selecting ambitious recipes while making our menu each week. I select recipes based on what I’ve been wanting to try and what sounds good with little regard to the prep that will go in to making them. The dish sounds fantastic, but come whatever weekday night I’m supposed to prepare it, I just don’t have the motivation to actually chop everything, boil this, bake that, saute this, combine it, bake again, etc. etc. I’m not good at picking quick, uncomplicated recipes. The problem is that we then end up eating out or resorting to some other convenience food instead of sticking to the menu I made. How dumb is that? Seriously. Why do I spend all this time planning a menu, making a grocery list, and doing the shopping to just totally disregard it all later anyway? It’s silly. So, I am making a conscious effort to stop this counterproductive cycle. I am seeking out EASY and QUICK recipes for during the week. It’s likely even the CrockPot, my nemesis, will see the light of day again on a regular basis.

I think my aversion to “weekday” meals has always been the worry that they will be boring. Well, kids, this recipe is *quick*, *easy*, and far from boring! I surely didn’t feel like much of a cook while I was making it – opening a can of this and a can of that is less than exciting – but sometimes that’s going to have to be OK. Sometimes “not exciting” is OK. Especially when it means I have more time to focus on… the thin layer chromatography of the pigments in spinach leaves. Right? Right?! Are you with me??? No other Biology nerds in the house? OK. Just me. Well, the point is I had time to focus on something other than prepping and cooking dinner. I almost didn’t know what to do with all that extra time.

Some notes about this recipe: This was my first time eating (let alone making!) chimichangas, and while I have decided that my new favorite word is chimichanga (seriously, how much fun is that to say?), I am also loving the food as much as the word! I loved the crunch of the tortilla and the spicy, soft center. I tasted the filling as I went and decided to double the amount of chili powder to 2 teaspoons. I thought that was the perfect level of heat, but it was on the cusp of being too hot for Ryan. I would say 1 teaspoon is mild, 1 1/2 is medium, and 2 is spicy; season accordingly.

In odd factoid style, I’ve given up bagged, shredded cheese. I’m hoping I can stick with it, but we’ll see. Cheese is my ultimate weakness, and I decided that grating/shredding it by hand would make me appreciate the amount I was actually eating a little more. Like, it’s easy to be heavy-handed when you are reaching into a bag of ready-to-go cheese, but when you have to sit there and shred it by hand, you are a little more aware of how much you need and are using. Plus there is really no comparing freshly shredded cheese to that bagged stuff – it tastes so much better and melts smoother and easier. My arms were definitely tired after doing a cup though; maybe I should break out the salad shooter for the larger quantities?

Do you have a favorite word? If you put a little feeling into chimichanga, you will see how fun it is. I’ve actually started calling Irving “my little chimichanga”. I think he likes it. :)

Turkey and Cheese Chimichangas

1/2 pound lean ground turkey
16 oz fat-free canned refried beans
1 3/4 cup salsa
4 1/2 oz canned diced green chili peppers
1 – 2 tsp chili powder
1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
8 large burrito-size flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Coat a 13- X 9- X 2-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Add turkey to skillet and cook over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Drain any excess liquid from pan and then add beans, 1 3/4 cups of salsa, chili peppers, and chili powder. Cook until heated through, about 3 minutes; stir in cheese.

Meanwhile, wrap tortillas in foil; warm in oven for 10 minutes.

Assemble chimichangas by spooning about 1/2 cup of turkey mixture onto each tortilla; fold in sides and roll up.

Place chimichangas, seam-side down, in prepared baking dish. Bake, uncovered, until tortillas are crisp and browned, about 20 minutes. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Source: Weight Watchers
8 servings | 5 POINTS


April 6, 2010. recipes.

One Comment

  1. Joanne replied:

    Those look great. Chimichanga is a fun word to say. Kind of makes you want to dance.

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