Sunday, July 8, 2012

Good Things Come in Small Packages

For the last month or so I've been on a quest for the perfect baked chimichanga that's appetizer-sized. And tonight I made a trayful of extremely good ones. They're not perfect yet, but I'm getting there. I did find the right size flour tortillas (6 inch) in a brand that I liked (Stop & Shop brand in the refrigerated case). They were sturdy, but thin enough to fold without cracking. I jazzed up the filling on this go-round and added black beans and brown rice, and used spices out of my pantry. So all in all, I'm making good progress. And this is a simple, delicious recipe you'll want to try.

Skillet Ground Sirloin, Black Beans and Rice
Serve in baked chimichangas like I did, or roll up in flour tortillas and top with your favorite garnishes 

1 T canola oil
1/3 pound ground sirloin
1 medium onion chopped
2 hot peppers- I used Fresno
1 large clove garlic minced
1-1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup instant brown rice- I used Uncle Ben's
1 cup black beans- I used canned, drained and rinsed
1 cup fat free chicken broth
1 cup tomato salsa- I used Paul Newman's
Shredded cheddar cheese- I used Sargento's 2% fat

Prep onions, peppers and garlic.

In large skillet over medium heat, add oil and then prepped vegetables. Cook a few minutes and add the ground sirloin, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Break up the sirloin as it cooks and if there's any fat, drain from the pan. My meat had so little fat that I didn't have to do this. Now add the broth, salsa and rice, increase heat and bring to a soft boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 to 12 minutes.

Now add the beans and stir to combine. Cook a few minutes with the lid off to let any liquid evaporate.

If you're baking chimichangas, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a small pot and pre heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean up and lightly coat with cooking spray. When butter is melted and oven heated, place a small amount of beef mixture on each tortilla (about 2 tablespoons at the most), and top with cheese.

Now you're ready to wrap up these babies. Tuck in the top and bottom of each tortilla and then fold sides into thirds like a business letter. Put packages seam side down on baking sheet and brush top with canola/butter mixture. Bake 7 minutes. Flip the chimis and brush the other side with butter/oil mixture and bake another 6-7 minutes.

I made 8 chimichangas last night, but you could probably make about 12 to 14 with this mixture. Just don't overfill the tortillas or you'll have a cheesy mess on your hands. Serve with your favorite garnishes. I went simple last night with enchilada sauce, a dab of guacamole, fat free Greek yogurt and a sprinkling of black beans.

If you're not going the chimichanga route, this is the perfect filling for burritos and/or tacos, or a great start to a very flavorful soup. I'll have to work on that. 

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