Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Skinny Chimis"--My Favorite Healthy Chimichanga Recipe

For tonight's episode of "Private Chefs of Beverly Hills," Brian and I were dispatched to cook a dinner in honor of Skylar and her imminent departure for college.

Inspired by my own years at USC, where the grand pubaba of LA Mexican food, El Cholo, got a ton of our business, not to mention La Barca, La Salsa and, ol' faithful, Taco Bell, where I've been issuing the same order since high school: Seven-Layer, no cheese or sour cream, with five hot sauces and a Dr. Pepper, thankyouverymuch, I decided to do a new spin on something that would be considered pretty classic college food fare.

Just before our senior year of college, my dear friend Ana and I drove cross country, from Miami to LA, in what was one of the best weeks of my life. We got to Tuscon on the last leg of our trip, starved and desperate for lunch, but without a plan. Pulling off the interstate, we rolled down our windows and started shouting at passing cars, "Hey! We're in town for 1 hour; where should we eat?"

Everyone offered the same response: "El Charro."

So off we went, for some truly epic Mexican food, at a place where, legend has it, the chimichanga was invented.

Respect had to be paid.

In honor of El Charro, El Cholo and El Familia de USC, I invented "Skinny Chimis," a baked low-carb, low-fat version of the traditionally fried, lardy offering. Enjoy!

Skinny Chimichangas
Makes 10 chimichangas

There’s an easy version to this recipe (the one below) and a more complex version that requires roasting a chicken that’s been heavily seasoned with garlic and lime and making your own salsa verde. If you want that recipe, feel free to email me and I’ll send it your way, but this low impact take turns out almost just as well, in a quarter of the time, with a tenth of the effort.

Easy Version:
1 package (10) 8’’ Mission “Carb Balance” flour tortillas
1 rotisserie chicken or 2 cups leftover chicken
1 jar salsa verde, Trader Joe’s makes a great one
1 cup low fat “Mexican” mixture shredded cheese
½ cup cilantro, chopped
2 ears corn, preferably white, husked and kernels cut off cob
1 lime, zested and juiced
nonstick cooking spray, preferably butter flavored

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by removing skin and meat from chicken. Discard the skin and shred chicken meat, placing it in a large bowl.

Add salsa verde, cheese, cilantro, corn and lime. Combine well.

Place about a half a cup to two-thirds of a cup of filling at the center of each tortilla, folding over the side ends of the tortilla and rolling in the other edges to completely contain the filling.

Place each “Skinny Chimi” on a lined baking sheet lightly sprayed with non-stick spray and spray the tops again with additional spray.

Bake at 350 until golden, crunchy and slightly puffed, about 20 minutes.

Serve with low fat sour cream, avocado smashed with lime, salt and cilantro, and additional salsa verde.

La Familia de USC now that we're a little older, a lot wiser and way, way sexier!

Me and Miss Ana...

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