Healthy Mexican Hot Pockets (Chimichangas!)

When I was twelve, I. Ate. Everything. Breakfast consisted of two waffles lathered in peanut butter and drenched in syrup, usually accompanied by a tall glass of whole milk. Lunch was almost always two re-fried bean & cheese quesadillas (courtesy of my Mexican childhood). Dinner was two to three massive helpings of whatever creamy pasta my mom had made with the American sauce packets that we would hoard back to Guatemala in our suitcase every summer. Then I’d have dessert, some popcorn, maybe some more pasta…

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Whenever we went back to Kansas or Missouri, though, I would add on a fourth meal: hot pockets. I loved hot pockets. While I was (mostly) fine with spending my tween years growing up in a foreign country, I struggled with the lack of hot pockets overseas after having my first one at the age of ten. So whenever we went back home, I’d stuff myself so full of the frozen food that my grandpa started calling me “Fat Sam” one summer (I was skinny as a beanpole).

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Then puberty happened, and one Peruvian summer I realized with a sudden shock that I wasn’t a beanpole anymore. I wasn’t majorly concerned, but I did decide it was probably time to make some healthier choices. When we went back to Kansas that summer, my grandpa was saddened to realize that the 12-pack of hot pockets ready in his freezer would be for naught.

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BUT HAVE NO FEAR: I did not say goodbye to hot pockets forever. I occasionally indulge in the bready, gooey, delicious pepperoni-pizza-flavored variety now that I’m back in the US (and constantly exposed to grocery store temptation), but I’ve also developed a solution: making my own hot pockets.

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These Mexican-chimichanga-hot-pocket-things are an insanely healthy, easy, preservative-free substitution for the frozen aisle fiend. Instead of microwaving them, you bake them in the oven to get a crispy outside and saucy inside that you can serve the whole family or bring with you throughout the week.

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Healthy Mexican Hot Pockets (Chimichangas!)

Serves: 6 | Prep: 10 min | Cook: 25 min | Total: 35

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups cubed, cooked chicken breast
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 6 light, high fiber, or whole-wheat tortillas
  • Optional toppings: cilantro, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, more salsa

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients except butter/margarine and tortillas in a bowl.
  2. Melt the butter (about 25 seconds in the microwave) and lay out six tortillas on a large surface. On each tortilla, put 1/6th of the mixture onto the center of the tortilla.
  3. Fold the sides of each tortilla (as seen in the photo below) and place seam-side-down onto the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Dip a brush into the butter and lightly brush the outsides and edges of the chimichangas.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes and allow to cool slightly before serving.
  6. Garnish with desired toppings & enjoy!

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Nutrition: (per chimichanga, made w/ light tortillas): Calories: 215 | Fat: 9g| Protein: 16g| Carbs: 20g

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