Introduction :

Looking for a satisfying, easy-to-make meal that’s bursting with flavor? Chi-Chi’s Baked Chicken Chimichangas are the perfect answer. This healthier alternative to the traditional fried chimichangas maintains all the deliciousness you crave without the extra calories. Let’s dive into this mouth-watering recipe that will quickly become a family favorite.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup diced green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 large flour tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • Sour cream, guacamole, and salsa (for serving)

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Preheat the Oven

Start by preheating your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent sticking and make cleanup easier.

2. Prepare the Filling

In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, cheddar cheese, salsa, diced green chilies, ground cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper (if using), salt, and pepper. Mix everything thoroughly to ensure the flavors are well distributed.

3. Assemble the Chimichangas

Place a generous scoop of the chicken mixture in the center of each flour tortilla. Fold the sides over the filling, then roll them up tightly to form a secure package.

4. Ready for Baking

Arrange the chimichangas seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly spray the tops with cooking spray to help them achieve a golden, crispy exterior.

5. Bake to Perfection

Bake the chimichangas in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden brown and crispy. Keep an eye on them towards the end to prevent over-browning.

6. Serve and Enjoy

Once baked, remove the chimichangas from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes before serving. Pair them with sour cream, guacamole, and salsa for dipping, enhancing the overall flavor experience.

Tips and Variations

  • Customize Your Filling: Add black beans, corn, or diced bell peppers to the filling for extra flavor and texture. This is a great way to use up any leftover veggies you have on hand.
  • Use Leftover Chicken: Leftover cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken works perfectly for this recipe, making it a great way to minimize food waste.
  • Healthier Option: These baked chicken chimichangas are a healthier alternative to the traditional fried version, offering all the delicious flavors with less guilt.

Serving and Storage Tips for Chi-Chi’s Baked Chicken Chimichangas

Serving Tips

  1. Garnish for Extra Flavor:
    • Top your baked chimichangas with fresh cilantro, chopped green onions, or diced tomatoes to add a burst of fresh flavor and color.
    • A squeeze of lime juice over the chimichangas just before serving can enhance the flavors significantly.
  2. Side Dishes:
    • Serve with a side of Mexican rice or refried beans for a complete meal.
    • A fresh salad with a tangy vinaigrette can complement the rich flavors of the chimichangas.
  3. Dipping Sauces:
    • Besides sour cream, guacamole, and salsa, consider offering a creamy chipotle sauce or queso dip for variety.
    • Pico de gallo or a tangy tomatillo salsa can also be excellent accompaniments.
  4. Presentation:
    • Arrange the chimichangas on a platter with the dipping sauces in small bowls around them for an appealing presentation.
    • For a party or casual gathering, consider cutting the chimichangas in half to make them easier to handle and share.

Storage Tips

  1. Refrigeration:
    • Store any leftover chimichangas in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep well for up to 3-4 days.
    • To reheat, place them in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 10-15 minutes or until heated through. This will help retain their crispy texture.
  2. Freezing:
    • Chimichangas freeze well, making them a great option for meal prep.
    • To freeze, wrap each chimichanga individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place them in a resealable freezer bag. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.
    • To reheat from frozen, unwrap the chimichangas and place them on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for about 25-30 minutes or until heated through and crispy.
  3. Microwave Option:
    • For a quick reheating option, you can use the microwave, though the chimichangas might lose some of their crispiness.
    • Place the chimichanga on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through.

Variations of Chi-Chi’s Baked Chicken Chimichangas

Elevate Chi-Chi’s Baked Chicken Chimichangas with these delicious variations. Whether you’re looking to incorporate more veggies, change up the protein, or experiment with different flavors, these ideas will keep your chimichanga game exciting and versatile.

Vegetarian Chimichangas

For a vegetarian twist, replace the chicken with hearty vegetables and beans:

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
    • 1 cup diced bell peppers
    • 1 cup diced zucchini
    • Follow the original recipe for the other ingredients and spices.
  • Instructions:
    • Sauté the bell peppers and zucchini until tender before mixing with black beans, corn, cheeses, salsa, green chilies, and spices.
    • Assemble and bake as per the original instructions.

Beef Chimichangas

Switch up the protein by using ground beef or shredded beef:

  • Ingredients:
    • 2 cups cooked shredded beef or 1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
    • Follow the original recipe for the other ingredients and spices.
  • Instructions:
    • Combine the cooked beef with the cheeses, salsa, green chilies, and spices.
    • Assemble and bake as per the original instructions.

Spicy Chicken Chimichangas

Turn up the heat for those who love spice:

  • Ingredients:
    • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
    • 1-2 diced jalapeños (depending on your spice preference)
    • Add an extra 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • Follow the original recipe for the other ingredients and spices.
  • Instructions:
    • Mix the shredded chicken with the cheeses, salsa, diced jalapeños, green chilies, and spices.
    • Assemble and bake as per the original instructions.

Breakfast Chimichangas

Transform your chimichangas into a breakfast delight:

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 cup cooked breakfast sausage, crumbled
    • 1 cup scrambled eggs
    • 1 cup shredded hash browns
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1/2 cup salsa
    • Follow the original recipe for the other ingredients and spices, omitting the Monterey Jack cheese.
  • Instructions:
    • Mix the sausage, scrambled eggs, hash browns, cheese, salsa, and spices.
    • Assemble and bake as per the original instructions.

BBQ Chicken Chimichangas

Infuse your chimichangas with a smoky barbecue flavor:

  • Ingredients:
    • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1 cup barbecue sauce
    • 1/2 cup diced red onions
    • 1/4 cup diced green chilies
    • Follow the original recipe for the other ingredients and spices, omitting the Monterey Jack cheese.
  • Instructions:
    • Mix the shredded chicken with the cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce, red onions, green chilies, and spices.
    • Assemble and bake as per the original instructions.

Seafood Chimichangas

Try a seafood version for a fresh and unique taste:

  • Ingredients:
    • 2 cups cooked and shredded white fish or shrimp
    • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
    • 1 cup shredded cabbage
    • 1/2 cup salsa
    • 1/4 cup diced green chilies
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Instructions:
    • Mix the seafood with the cheeses, cabbage, salsa, green chilies, and spices.
    • Assemble and bake as per the original instructions.

These variations offer something for everyone, allowing you to customize Chi-Chi’s Baked Chicken Chimichangas to suit different tastes and dietary preferences. Enjoy experimenting with these recipes and discovering your new favorite chimichanga!

Conclusion

Chi-Chi’s Baked Chicken Chimichangas are a fantastic addition to any meal plan. They are easy to prepare, customizable, and healthier than their fried counterparts, making them an excellent choice for weeknight dinners or casual gatherings. Give this recipe a try, and it’s sure to become a staple in your household. Enjoy the perfect blend of crispy tortilla and savory filling, all while keeping your meal on the lighter side. Happy cooking!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Chi-Chi’s Baked Chicken Chimichangas

1. Can I make Chi-Chi’s Baked Chicken Chimichangas ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the chimichangas ahead of time. Assemble them as directed, then store them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking. This makes them a convenient option for meal prep or busy evenings.

2. Can I freeze the chimichangas before baking them?

Absolutely! Wrap each assembled chimichanga in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place them in a resealable freezer bag. They can be frozen for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, bake from frozen at 375°F (190°C) for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and heated through.

3. What can I use as a substitute for Monterey Jack cheese?

If you don’t have Monterey Jack cheese, you can use any mild, melty cheese such as mozzarella, Colby Jack, or even a mild cheddar. These alternatives will still provide a great texture and flavor.

4. How can I make the chimichangas spicier?

To increase the heat, add extra diced jalapeños or a hotter variety of chili peppers to the filling. You can also increase the amount of cayenne pepper or add a splash of hot sauce to the mixture.

5. Can I use whole wheat tortillas instead of flour tortillas?

Yes, whole wheat tortillas can be used as a healthier alternative to traditional flour tortillas. They might alter the texture slightly, but they will still work well for this recipe.

6. What should I do if my chimichangas are not getting crispy in the oven?

Ensure you are lightly spraying the chimichangas with cooking spray before baking, which helps them crisp up. Additionally, bake them on a wire rack placed on top of a baking sheet to allow air to circulate around them.

7. Are there any low-carb options for making chimichangas?

You can use low-carb or keto-friendly tortillas available in most grocery stores. Additionally, you can use large lettuce leaves or cabbage leaves as a wrap alternative for a low-carb version.

8. Can I add other ingredients to the filling?

Yes, this recipe is very versatile. You can add black beans, corn, diced bell peppers, or any of your favorite vegetables to the filling. Just make sure any added ingredients are cooked and well-drained to avoid excess moisture.

9. What sides go well with Chi-Chi’s Baked Chicken Chimichangas?

Some great side dishes include Mexican rice, refried beans, a fresh garden salad, or grilled vegetables. These sides complement the flavors of the chimichangas and help create a balanced meal.

10. How do I reheat leftover chimichangas without making them soggy?

To maintain their crispiness, reheat leftover chimichangas in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 10-15 minutes. Avoid using the microwave, as it can make them soggy. If you must use a microwave, cover them with a damp paper towel to help retain some moisture.

By Admin

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