The nostalgic photograph of the pistol-toting Mama Morales, hanging above the cash register taken in her sepia-toned days, sets the matriarchal air of the restaurant run by her three sons.

Mexicali’s Cafe and Cantina prides itself on bringing families together.

Joshua, Jonas and Chuck, the brothers Morales, were raised with a very good role model in the kichen.

“We make our food the way our mother made it for us while we were growing up,” Jonas says. “We strive for the same freshness that she always insisted on in her own kitchen.

“Mexicali’s opened in Casa View nine-and-a-half years ago. And when we moved to Trophy Center, our loyal customers followed,” Jonas says.

“We have been able to serve even more families in this new location. You won’t believe it, but our kitchen here is bigger than the entire space in Casa View!”

The recipe for Mexicali’s homemade chimichangas was passed down through the Morales family for generations.

“The recipe we are providing you with is a healthy new twist of the old family recipe,” says Chuck Morales, who has demonstrated this popular alternative at the State Fair of Texas for the past two years.

“It is baked, not fried, with chicken not beef,” Jonas says.

LOW-FAT CHIMICHANGAS

(serves five)

SAUCE

5 c. Water

3 Tomatoes

1 Onion

1 Bell Pepper

¼ c. Olive Oil

1 t. Garlic

1 t. Paprika

1 t. Chicken Base

6 oz. Tomato Sauce

Salt & Pepper to taste

CHIMICHANGAS

2 lbs. of Chicken Breast (de-boned)

5 c. of Water

1 c. Cheese (Cheddar or preference)

¼ c. Olive Oil

2 t. salt

1 12 oz. can of Beans (Pinto or preference)

10 inch Flour Tortillas

Combine chopped tomatoes, onions and bell pepper into heavy medium saucepan with olive oil. Cook on medium heat and stir until onion begins to cook (about five minutes). Add water, garlic, paprika and chicken base; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Boil 2 lbs. of chicken breast in medium saucepan with five cups of water and 2 t. of salt. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is done. Drain water and chop into ¼ cubes.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Assemble Chimichangas

Place chicken, beans and cheese into the center of a 10-inch flour tortilla. Fold up from bottom edge first, then bring side sections toward center, forming a cup, continuing to roll up. Place toothpicks to hold form. Brush olive oil on all sides. Place in oven for 15-20 minutes or until brown. For a crispy Chimichanga, turn over for another five to 10 minutes.

Pour sauce over Chimichanga.

Serve with spanish rice and garnish with a slice of avocado. Margarita optional.

Hint: For truly fresh Mexican flavor, many Tex-Mex restaurants are glad to sell sides of beans and rice.