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Non-Fried Beef & Bean Chimichangas

This is no ordinary chimichanga. I’ve recently discovered that you can achieve a delightfully crisp tortilla – arguably the best part of a chimichanga – without the need for a deep-fryer. I guarantee that the kitchen tool necessary to make these beauties is sitting somewhere in your cabinet as you read this post: a skillet. Make that two, unless you have a panini press weight; but two skillets will work just fine. By simply placing filled & rolled tortillas (technically burritos at this point) into a hot dry skillet and applying a bit of weight to them, a gorgeous golden brown “crust” develops… and there you have a healthy non-fried chimichanga.

The filling is entirely up to you, and there are so many variations swimming around in my head that I’m reaching for a pad of paper to jot them down. Double bean chimichangas. Ground turkey chimichangas. Seafood chimichangas. Pulled pork chimichangas. Heck, why not make a departure from Mexican fare and make an Italian-style chimichanga with turkey pepperoni, shredded mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, and sauteed green peppers?!  The possibilities are endless, and there are a ton of lonely tortillas waiting to be filled, rolled, and pressed into delicious & healthy chimichangas.

So grab that skillet and get cookin’.

Non-Fried Beef & Bean Chimichangas

yields 2 chimichangas

Ingredients:

  • 2 burrito-size flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup refried beans (I used Trader Joe’s refried black beans with jalapenos)
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef (preferably grass-fed)
  • *1 batch homemade taco seasoning blend (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup shredded light Mexican blend cheese

*Homemade Taco Seasoning Blend (good for 1/2 lb of ground meat)

  • 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 tsp oregano

Accoutrements to serve with chimichangas:

  • 2% Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • salsa
  • guacamole
  • hot sauce

Directions:

  1. Heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat; coat lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Add the ground beef to the skillet and cook until no longer pink, stirring with a wooden spoon to crumble.
  3. Stir in the taco seasoning and cook for about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  4. Wrap tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave on high for 30 seconds, or until soft. Spread 1/4 cup refried beans on the lower third of each tortilla.
  5. Top with the cooked beef, dividing the meat evenly between the two tortillas. Sprinkle the beef with your desired amount of cheese. Fold the tortilla into a burrito, ensuring that the filling in fully encased in the tortilla.
  6. Heat a clean, dry skillet over medium heat. Place filled tortillas, seam-side down, into the hot skillet. Place a panini weight or another skillet on top of the filled tortillas and cook for about 1 minute, or until lightly browned and crisp. Flip the filled tortillas, replace the weight, and cook for 1 more minute.

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