A taquito is a small rolled burrito that’s usually deep-fried. Missy Chase Lapine, AKA the Sneaky Chef, makes her good-for-you version a few batches at a time and freeze them. When it’s time to load up the lunchboxes, she simply thaws them in the microwave.

Too-Good-To-Be-True Taquitos

Stopwatch: 11 minutes

Ingredients

4 ounces cooked chicken, turkey, or ham
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/4 cup Green Puree (see recipe below) or baby food mixed green vegetable puree
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 to 2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix (packaged) or Make-Ahead “Instant” Taco Seasoning Mix Recipe (see recipe below)
8 (6-inch round) corn tortillas (white or yellow)
1/2 cup shredded reduced fat Mexican or cheddar cheese
Toothpicks

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 and spray a baking sheet with oil.

Cut chicken, turkey, or ham into thin strips, easily done using kitchen scissors. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flax, puree, tomato paste, and seasoning.

Wrap tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave on high for 30 seconds to one minute to make soft and pliable (you may want to do a few tortillas at a time so they don’t get stiff again).

Remove paper towels and lay soft tortillas out on the baking sheet. Spread each with about one tablespoon of the tomato mixture, top with about 1/2 ounce of chicken, turkey, or ham, and one tablespoon of cheese. Roll tightly and place seam-side down on the baking sheet (secure with a toothpick, if necessary). Spray the tops of the taquitos with more oil and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove toothpicks and serve warm, or allow to cool and freeze for up to 3 months (simply pop the taquito in microwave).

Makes 8 taquitos (4 servings).

PER SERVING: Calories 119; Total Fat 3.1g; Saturated Fat 0.9g; Trans Fat 0g; Cholesterol 17mg; Sodium 224mg; Carbohydrate 15.4g; Dietary Fiber 2.3g; Sugars 1.4g; Protein 8g; Vitamin A 8%; Vitamin C 6%; Calcium 11%; Iron 6%.

Green Puree

Ingredients

2 cups raw baby spinach leaves*
2 cups broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
1 cup sweet green peas, frozen
2 to 3 tablespoons water

*Note: Missy Chase Lapine prefers raw baby spinach to frozen spinach for this recipe for its more mild flavor; if you must use frozen spinach, only use 1 cup.

Sneaky timesaver: Missy Chase Lapine recommends using frozen broccoli florets (with no added sauce) which are frozen at the peak of freshness to preserve maximum nutrients and have been blanched before freezing. The florets simply need to be thawed or microwaved for a minute before pureeing—it saves time chopping, washing, and steaming fresh broccoli.

Raw baby spinach should be rinsed well, even if the package says “prewashed.”

Preparation

To prepare Green Puree on the stovetop, pour about 2 inches of water into a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Put a vegetable steamer basket into the pot, add the broccoli, and steam for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the frozen peas to the basket for the last 2 minutes of steaming. Drain.

To prepare in the microwave, place the fresh broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with water, and microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes (frozen florets take only 1 to 2 minutes), until very tender. Add peas for last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain.

Place the raw spinach in the food processor first and pulse a few times. This will reduce the spinach significantly. Next add the cooked broccoli and peas, along with 2 tablespoons of water. Puree on high until as smooth as possible. Stop occasionally to push the contents to the bottom. If necessary, use another tablespoon of water to make a smooth puree.

This recipe makes about 2 cups of puree; double it if you want to store more. Green Puree will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or you can freeze 1/4-cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers.

Makes about 2 cups of puree.

Make-Ahead “Instant” Taco Seasoning

Ingredients

1/4 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons each: onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
1+ tablespoon kosher salt, to taste
1+ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Preparation

Place all ingredients in a plastic bag or air-tight container, seal, shake and store until ready to use.

Recipes reprinted with permission from THE SPEEDY SNEAKY CHEF © 2012 by Missy Chase Lapine, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Book Group.