Jose Ole’s Steak and Cheese Chimichanga

I like Mexican food almost as much as I like Indian food. Well, I like food, especially if it’s easy to prepare and filling. It’s even better if it’s something I don’t have all the time — as in, I made a huge batch of it and now I have to eat it. One of the recent additions to my fast dinner repertoire is Jose Ole’s Steak and Cheese Chimichangas.

The chimichangas weigh in at 5 oz., which is, given my propensity for light meals, a generous helping. And it’s good. It’s made with actual steak and real cheese (no “cheese product” here), real peppers, and real tomatoes, and you can taste them. There’s a rich, almost buttery taste to the filling, a little salty because of the cheddar cheese, and the peppers are pretty mild (although there’s enough of an aftertaste that you know there were chilis in there). As usual, there are warnings about “keep frozen until used,” but I find it perfectly safe to allow the chimichanga to thaw for a while before I cook it — ten to fifteen minutes in a 300 degree oven does the trick, without giving the wheat tortilla a chance to dry out. (They’re also microwavable.) It will also be perfectly fine for a day or three in the refrigerator.

Looking at the ingredients, there are, of course, some preservatives, but the most horrible ones seem to be missing. Fat and sodium are the things to watch out for here — fat is at 15g (23% of RDA, and saturated fat — 4.5g — also at 23%), and sodium comes in at 620mg (26%).

Gilding the Lily: For me, not much is required — maybe a bit of salad on the side. If you want to go all out, you could add a side of refried beans and/or Spanish rice, just to keep the mood, but that starts to make a really heavy meal. It’s a versatile centerpiece, so use your imagination.

Jose Ole also offers burritos, taquitos, and a full line of minis, which would be nice as snacks or finger food for parties. Check your local grocer’s frozen food department to see what they have available.

About Robert Tilendis

Robert M. Tilendis lives a deceptively quiet life. He has made money as a dishwasher, errand boy, legal librarian, arts administrator, shipping expert, free-lance writer and editor, and probably a few other things he’s tried very hard to forget about. He has also been a student of history, art, theater, psychology, ceramics, and dance. Through it all, he has been an artist and poet, just to provide a little stability in his life. Along about January of every year, he wonders why he still lives someplace as mundane as Chicago; it must be that he likes it there.

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