Monday, June 18, 2018

Beef and Bean Chimichangas and Successful Dinners

Mexican food tends to be a go-to in our home.
First of all, there's a good chance we have all of the ingredients on hand- canned beans I can doctor, rice, tortillas, beef or chicken in the freezer, etc.

At the very least, I've always got the basics, which makes for a quick and easy dinner when I'm drawing a blank at the end of the day.

Recently, I was having one of those moments where the day was coming to a close and I simply had no idea what I was going to throw together for dinner.  I could have just thrown all of the ingredients on the counter and proclaimed it taco night, but I felt like making something new.  It was then that I came across this recipe for Beef and Bean Chimichangas and decided to give it a go.

Now...this recipe is supposed to be somewhat healthy.  Healthy...ish?
However, despite my best intentions, I ended up frying dinner.

My husband came home just as I was assembling these guys and when he caught wind of the fact that I was going to bake chimichangas he let it be known that as far as he was concerned chimichangas should always be fried- so fried they were.

I can't stand frying stuff.
So messy.

Yet, I was already worried about how these would go over with my family since they include bell pepper, onion, and corn.
My family is a picky family.
Me?  Well, my parents love to tell the story about how when I was 3 or so they took me to a Mexican restaurant and while they were deep in conversation they failed to notice that I had grabbed a spoon and started eating the salsa like soup.

In all honesty, even adult Nora really just uses the most spoon-shaped chips in the basket to do pretty much the same thing.  I am a salsa fanatic, after all.  :-)

Anyway, lets just say that I do not live with adventurous eaters and when I stray too far outside their comfort zone I get a little nervous about whether they'll be eating peanut butter sandwiches for dinner and leaving me with pan full of leftovers to trudge through on my own.  Not to name names, but some members of my family might just consider bell pepper and corn in their chimichangas to be a little bit too far out of their comfort zones.

That being said, when I got push back about baking the chimichangas I caved quickly.
I have to pick my battles.

I fried these, letting them get crispy and golden, imagining the gooey deliciousness waiting inside.
I served my daughter's plain- she's one of those types that doesn't like her food to touch.
I served my husband's with salsa, sour cream, and a little guac.
Add some Spanish rice on the side and the scene was set: I waited in the kitchen to see how they would react when they broke through that crispy shell.

There were literally moans of happiness.
They loved these!
Thankfully this recipe made enough that I had plenty leftover to freeze and I've been able to serve them a couple of times since then with zero extra work.

Baked or fried, the flavors in these chimichangas are fabulous- and this is one keeper of a recipe!

1 lb lean ground beef
3/4 C chopped onion
3/4 Cdiced bell pepper (I used red)
1 1/2 C whole kernel corn
2 C taco sauce
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 (16 oz) can refried beans
8 (12") flour tortillas
1 (16 oz) package shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 Tbsp butter, melted
shredded lettuce
1 tomato, diced

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain excess grease, and add the onion, bell pepper, and corn. Cook for about 5 more minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Stir in the taco sauce, and season with chili powder, garlic salt and cumin, stirring until blended. Cook until heated through, then remove from heat, and set aside.

3. Open the can of beans, and spread a thin layer of beans onto each of the tortillas. Spoon the beef mixture down the center, and then top with as much shredded cheese as you like. Roll up the tortillas, and place them seam-side down onto a baking sheet. Brush the tortillas with melted butter.
4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Serve with lettuce and tomato. (Or if you're like my family...fry them)

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