One of the questions I get the most from readers, parents, and even magazine editors is, “What can I prepare ahead of time for lunches for myself (or my kids), that is easy, healthy, and tastes amazing?”
Since I spent 10 years of my career as a personal chef, I tend to just share recipes that I used in my own business, and recipes that my family has asked for again and again. These baked chimichangas are a tried and true recipe that everyone loves, and they freeze like a dream if you’d like to prepare a bunch of them and store them in freezer bags.
This is a low-fat ground beef and bean chimichanga that you can customize with your choice of cheese, swapping in kidney beans for black beans, grilled chicken for ground beef, green salsa for red salsa, and adding in low fat sour cream… all giving you endless options for a skinny southwest meal that’s ready when you are. Let’s get started.
The filling is made quickly by browning ground beef and then adding in all of those extra fillings (don’t forget you can’t mess up the recipe by customizing). We’ve enjoyed non-fat refried beans in this filling and the kids thought they looked like their favorite big ole’ stuffed burritos from Taco Cabana or Taco Bell. If you decide to add low-fat sour cream, season the filling to your liking and then let it cool 5 minutes off of the stove before adding the sour cream.
Warm the tortillas in the microwave so that they are pliable and will not break as we fold them.
Here is a tip to make things go lightning fast! Find a place in the kitchen where you can lay out all of the tortillas at once. Fill every tortilla with about a cup of filling, you can do more or less depending on how big of a tortilla you were able to score… don’t forget you only need little burritos for kid lunches, about 1/2 cup.
Then roll them into chimichangas in assembly line fashion just like this…
Fold the bottom upwards and away from you. Like my fingernails?! It’s Halloween and my little one picked them out. 🙂
Keep rolling it away from you. Now you have a chimichanga!
Pans should be sprayed with pan spray and spray the entire chimichanga lightly with whatever spray oil you prefer… I really like coconut oil in the mister bottles. Then sprinkle them with salt.
Pack them into tins for freezing or lay them out on a cookie sheet to freeze them fully before transferring into freezer bags.
The baked chimichangas can be baked from a defrosted state or a frozen state. Whatever is available in your work kitchen will dictate whether or not you can bake these in a toaster oven, or bake them in the morning before you leave for work. They can also be microwaved for kid’s lunches (which is technically a burrito but still delish and healthy for your little person). 😀
Bake the chimichangas at 425 for 20 minutes if room temperature (defrosted). For frozen chimichangas Baked them at 400 for 30 minutes.