Food on game day in our house is an adventure. Whether it's baseball, football or a race just about every Sunday afternoon we spend time together watching the television and chowing down on snacks. Recently I had a craving for some "Mexican" food and short of ordering take-out from our favorite local place, the only other option was what comes from the freezer at the supermarket.
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An item that caught my eye was El Monterey Beef & Bean Chimichangas. I liked the idea of something easy enough to pick up that wouldn't be all that messy, like nachos. The price was good for a package of six which was perfect for an afternoon.
There are several ways to heat these up. Despite what I usually think about when I have chimichangas, it's not recommended to heat these up in a deep fryer. These are designed to be heated either in the microwave or in a regular over. Although the microwave is much faster, they taste much better after being heated in the oven. After being heated for 1 minute 15 seconds in the microwave, I found El Monterey Beef & Bean Chimichangas were hot, but had burst the tortilla in several spots. They were also soft and more difficult to hold on to. When I heated a couple in the oven for 40 minutes at 375°F I found that they were hot evenly all the way through and crispy, staying together fine as I bit into them.
The taste is about what I would expect from a prepared food like this. It's dominated by the beans and there were no chunks of beef in there that I could find. There was some underlying taste of beef but by far all I tasted were beans. It wasn't horrible, but it was nowhere near even what I get from fast-food or chain restaurants, never mind a local place that makes good "Mexican" food from scratch.
Nutritionally these won't win any awards either, although eating just one is better than some other game-day foods. One chimichanga contains 300 calories, 130 of which are from fat. That's a total of 15g of fat in one chimichanga. The 5g of saturated fat represents 25% of the recommended daily value. There is 340mg of sodium which is actually better than most cans of soup you'll come across.
While I wasn't crazy about El Monterey Beef & Bean Chimichangas, I think the problem is inherent with most frozen "Mexican" dishes. The ingredients and flavor are dominated by the cheaper items and heating it up the faster way isn't the best choice. I'd buy them again if I really had a craving for this particular flavor, but all in all I'd be better off heading to a restaurant and getting much better quality from them.
Water, wheat flour (enriched with niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), beef, beans, vegetable oil (soybean, sunflower, canola and/or corn oil), CONTATINS 2% OR LESS: textured vegetable protein (soy flour, caramel color), salt, rice flour, guar gum, wheat, sodium bicarbonate, wheat starch, food starch, dough conditioners (sodium metabisulfite, sodium stearoyl lactylate, L-cysteine, mono and diglycerides, dicalcium phosphate), microcrystalline cellulose, silicon dioxide (to prevent caking), salt, chili pepper, dried citrus pulp (citrus fiber), yeast extract, maltodextrin, soy sauce (soybeans), autolyzed yeast extract, lactic acid, natural flavor, calcium lactate, spices, garlic powder.
ALLERGENS: Wheat, soy
© 2011 Patti Aliventi
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