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Don’t trade taste for convenience

March 7, 2012

While it’s true I participate in a low-carb lifestyle, my family certainly does not (cookies, pasta, cake — oh my!) Because of this, the majority of my cooking is actually not low-carb. So don’t worry — I will share a variety of recipes when I get to contribute to this column.
When finding recipes to make for our family I tend to gravitate towards quick and economical. If I see a recipe has an ingredient list a mile long or has tons of steps, I’m not even going to bother copying it down. However, we do like good food, and I am thankful that our kids are following suit.
I can’t stand the thought of making a whole dinner from pre-made ingredients but there are some short cuts I will absolutely take advantage of (I will probably never make a homemade pie crust or biscuit — sorry). One dish everyone at our house likes and I can use shortcuts with is Chicken Chimichangas, a recipe I tore out of “Southern Living” a long time ago. These are easy to put together and the cumin adds a great flavor to the chicken. This recipe makes 20 chimichangas — so there will be leftovers. If you buy an already cooked deli chicken it gives you just about enough meat (and that is what I do.) Serve these with some quick-fix Spanish rice and a salad for a quick week night meal.

Chicken Chimichangas

1 (16-ounce) jar picante sauce or salsa, divided 
7 cups chopped cooked chicken (or 1 deli chicken)
1 small onion, diced 
2 to 2 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt 
20 (8-inch) flour tortillas 
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese 
Toppings: guacamole, sour cream, shredded lettuce, diced tomato 

Combine 1 1/2 cups picante sauce and next 5 ingredients in a Dutch oven; cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, 15- 25 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates. Spoon 1/3 cup mixture below center of each tortilla; top with 2 T. cheese.
Fold in two sides of tortillas to enclose filling. Fold over top and bottom edges of tortillas, making rectangles. Secure with wooden picks. Place, folded side down, on greased baking sheets. Coat chimichangas with cooking spray.
Bake at 425° for eight minutes; turn and bake five more minutes. Remove picks; top with remaining picante sauce and desired toppings.

Ginnie Cody is a gues columnist. Email her at ginniecody@gmail.com.

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