Less Guilt on Cinco de Mayo: Crispy, Oven-Baked Chimichangas

Saturday is Cinco de Mayo, so I figured (like every other food blogger on the planet this week) that I’d throw a Mexican inspired meal your way.  I love Mexican food and, thankfully, my family does as well, so we are frequent patrons at the Mexican restaurants around town.  Every time we try a new Mexican place, my husband orders a chimichanga.  He feels that if they can make a chimi that he enjoys, it’s worth stopping in to visit them again.  I love a good chimi myself, but my waistline does not.  They are delicious for a reason…chicken or beef, stuffed with cheese, sometimes rice, and seasonings into a flour tortilla that’s then deep-fried and, sometimes, topped with more cheese, guacamole and sour cream?  It’s like a heart attack on a plate!  It’s one of those dishes that I can’t, in good conscience, eat all the time. If I did…well, we just don’t want to go there.

One of the things I love about a good chimi is the crispy shell around all of the goodies inside.  I’m not a soft taco person.  I like a hard shell, so I like chimis for the same reason.  I like the crunch!  That crunch comes at a hefty calorie price, though.  It’s kind of depressing.

So, when I’m in the mood for Mexican, but can’t afford the calorie splurge, I often turn to this recipe.  I’ve made it a lot over the years and everyone in the family enjoys it.  Is it as rich and decadent as a great restaurant chimi?  No.  Does it take care of the craving?  Yes…and with a much smaller punch to the gut.  This is actually a recipe out of one of my Weight Watchers cookbooks.  I have quite a few Weight Watchers cookbooks and use them all the time.  Even if you’re not following their program, check one out sometime.  There’s some great stuff in those books!  For those of you who follow their point system, based on how I’ve tweaked the recipe, I’m going to guesstimate that these are about 6 points a piece (using the PointsPlus system).  I’ve changed the recipe slightly from the book, to suit our tastes, but I’m pretty confident in that point amount!  Considering a regular restaurant chimichanga can top the scales at around 20 points a piece, 6 seems like nothing!


For more about this recipe, please continue to Chew Nibble Nosh!