Braised Chicken Tacos

I’m in a taco phase right now… Anything I can stuff into a tortilla, I want to devour. Lately I’ve made a multitude of breakfast tacos, fish tacos, and then these braised chicken tacos. If I could eat tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner I would… well, I guess nothing is stopping me from doing that, other than the fact that I want to make every recipe known to man, and that includes recipes that aren’t tacos… but seriously, tacos are the best. Maybe I’ve told you this story, but when I was a kid, my brother Jeremy was not a taco fan. Whereas I would be ecstatic when I heard it was taco night, he would moan and groan and complain about tacos being boring and not filling. He said they were the Mexican equivalent of sandwiches… which I guess he also found boring. Weirdo! Luckily he has now changed his tune, otherwise I might have to disown him.

Onto the tacos… these are so simple, spicy and flavorful. They are a perfect and quick weeknight meal, which as you know are my favorite! Served alongside some rice and beans, you’ll have a complete (and filling) meal that no one should consider boring.

Braised chicken tacos

Braised Chicken Tacos

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

1 large bone-on, skin-on chicken breast (about 1 lb)

1 cup chicken broth

1 12-15 oz can tomato sauce (mine was 15 oz)

2 Tbsp cumin

2 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp chipotle chile powder

Kosher salt, to taste

12 corn tortillas

For topping:

Cilantro

Scallions, thinly sliced

Radishes, thinly sliced

Avocado slices

Cojita cheese (optional)

Lime wedges

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a heavy pot, preferably a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add onions, jalapenos, and a sprinkle of salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions and jalapenos are browned and have started to soften.  Add chicken broth, and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium.

2. Add the chicken breast to the pot, skin side down. Cook for 5 minutes, so that the fat has a chance to render.

3. Add the tomato sauce, cumin and chili powders and stir to combine. Flip the chicken over, and place the lid on to cover. Reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes, flip chicken over and cook another 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

4. Remove the chicken breast, and shred the meat. Add the shredded meat back to the pot, and throw away the bone and skin. Season with salt to taste.

5. Heat up the tortillas- to heat mine, I place a stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. When heated, add as many tortillas as can fit (my 12-inch skillet can hold 3). When the first side is starting to brown and puff up, I flip and brown the other side.

6. To serve, top the warm tortillas with the braised chicken and sauce, cilantro, radish slices, scallions, avocado, cojita cheese (if using) and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve alongside rice and beans.

Source: heatherchristo.com

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Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

I swear this week has been one of the most tiring ever!  Do you ever have weeks like that? When you just feel like you are walking around in a perpetually foggy state? I think that I’m still recovering from this cold-type illness I had, and am stuck in a cycle of not being able to get completely better because I’m so tired, and vice versa. Good thing it’s the weekend, and especially good because I only have a week until vacation. Not having to set an alarm to wake up in the morning is one of the best feelings in the world! I have a few things to do this weekend to get ready for vacation- make a packing list, shop for a couple things I need for my trip (i.e. sunscreen!!!), and decide what I will be cooking/freezing for Ron while I’m away.  Burritos would actually be a great thing to make and freeze… but I am already planning on making taquitos and enchiladas, so maybe that would be too much Mexican food. Wait… who am I kidding?! One can never have too much Mexican food!

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

Serves 3-6 (depending on hunger level)

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces

2/3 cup onion, chopped

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3 tsp canola oil

3/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 (10-inch) flour tortillas

2 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Cooking spray

Pico de gallo or salsa, for serving

Sour cream, for serving

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, onion, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.

2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add oil. Swirl to coat. Add the chicken mixture, and cook about 8 minutes, until chicken is cook through, stirring occasionally. Add the beans and garlic, cook until heated, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

3. Divide chicken mixture evenly among tortillas, and top with cheese. Roll up burritos.

4. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spray both sides of burritos with cooking spray. Cook burritos about 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Cut in half, and depending on your appetite, eat a whole or half burrito! Serve with pico de gallo or salsa, and sour cream.

Source: Cooking Light, June 2012

Enchilada Lasagna

Enchilada Lasagna

Are you guys ready for another variation on enchiladas? I know it’s only been a few weeks since I posted an enchilada recipe, but I just love the flavors of enchiladas so much that I never tire of them, and wouldn’t mind making a new variation every week! I’ve actually made this particular variation several times, and like all of the other Alton Brown recipes I’ve tried, it does not disappoint. This is similar in flavor to the red chile enchiladas, containing the chicken, cheese, and red chile sauce (although this one uses chipotles instead of guajillo chiles), but it is a quicker variation as everything is layered, rather than rolled up. I think the traditional rolled enchiladas make for a prettier presentation, but the flavor of these is just as good, and so on those nights where you have a little bit less energy, this is perfect! If you cut this lasagna as soon as you take it out of the oven, you’re slices will be pretty messy, so I suggest waiting for it to cool down a bit so that it slices more neatly. If you can’t wait though, I don’t blame you! It’ll still taste just as good.

Enchilada Lasagna

Enchilada Lasagna

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

For sauce:

2 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded, diced (or 2 canned chipotle chiles, diced)

3 large garlic cloves, minced

2 1/2 tsp chili powder

1 1/2 tsp cumin

2 cups chicken broth

3 cups tomato sauce

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

For filling:

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced

1 1/2 cups onion, diced

Pinch kosher salt

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 tsp dried oregano

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas (Cut 3 of them in half)

3 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese

Nonstick cooking spray

Directions:

1. To make sauce: combine the chipotle chiles, garlic, chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add vegetable oil. Add chicken, and saute for 7-9 minutes, until cooked through. Remove chicken to a dish, and add onion and a pinch of salt to the skillet. Lower heat to medium-low and cook for 4-6 minutes until starting to soften. Add the garlic and oregano, and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until the onions are softened. Add the chicken to the onions, and remove from the heat.

4. To assemble: Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spead 1/2-cup sauce in the bottom of the dish. Dip 3 tortillas, and 2 of the halves in the enchilada sauce, and lay in the baking dish to cover the bottom. Add half the chicken mixture in an even layer, and 1 cup of the cheese. Repeat with next 4 tortillas (3 whole and 1 cut in half) dipped in sauce, remaining chicken, and 1 cup of cheese. Top with remaining tortillas dipped in sauce. Pour remaining sauce over the top, and top with remaining cheese.

4. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, and bake for 10 more minutes, until cheese and sauce are bubbling.

Source: Alton Brown

Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw and Chipotle Aioli

Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw and Chipotle Aioli

The tacos strike once again! Seriously, I think I could eat tacos every day for the rest of my life and never tire of them. There are just so many ways to make them, and so many wonderful combinations to explore. Did I ever tell you how my brother used to hate tacos, thinking they were not enough for a meal?! Taco night was one of my favorite family dinners growing up. I would get so excited, and be thinking about dinner all day long. My brother, on the other hand, would endlessly moan and groan about it, saying they were basically just sandwiches, and thus, boring…. ummm.. okay?! Obviously, he was crazy. Luckily he has changed his tune, and now understands the wonderfulness that is the taco. When Ron told me he had never had fish tacos, it became my mission in life to make some. This gave me an excuse to put tacos on the menu again, and also gave me a use for some of the tilapia in my freezer. I also had half a head of cabbage in my refrigerator begging to be made into a slaw, so it was definitely meant to be. These tacos were awesome! A little spicy from the Cajun seasoning and the chipotle aioli, and balanced out by the refreshing and light cilantro lime slaw. So so good!

Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw and Chipotle Aioli

Blackened Fish Tacos 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 lb flaky white fish (I used tilapia)

3 Tbsp butter, melted

2 Tbsp Cajun seasoning (store-bought or homemade- I used this recipe)

2 Tbsp olive oil

8 corn tortillas

Cilantro lime slaw (recipe follows)

Chipotle Aioli (recipe follows)

Directions:

1. Brush fish with melted butter, and sprinkle on both sides with seasoning.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add fish and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until fish is cooked through. Remove from pan, and flake with a fork.

3. To assemble tacos- warm corn tortillas in a a skillet, or in the microwave. Put some fish in the tortilla, add some slaw, and top with chipotle aioli.

Source: Tide and Thyme

Cilantro Lime Slaw

Ingredients:

4 cups cabbage, finely shredded

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

4 Tbsp lime juice

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Salt, to taste

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients to a large bowl, and toss to combine. Chill for at least an hour before serving, to allow flavors to meld.

Source: Muy Bueno Cookbook

Chipotle Aioli

Ingredients:

1/3 cup mayonnaise

3 Tbsp sour cream

3 Tbsp chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped

2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

Juice from 1/2 a lime

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients to a small bowl, and mix together to combine. If you’d like the aioli to be a smoother consistency, you can blend all the ingredients together in a food processor.

Source: Tide and Thyme

Gulf Coast-Style White Rice Pilaf

Gulf Coast-Style White Rice Pilaf

I served this rice pilaf on the side of the red chile enchiladas and it went perfectly. Usually I just cook rice very plainly because it is something I don’t have to follow a recipe for and  sometimes I really like simplicity, but I wanted something more exciting to go alongside the enchiladas. This was still a very simple recipe with just a few more steps than basic white rice, but it was so much more flavorful. I loved the garlickyness of it as garlic is one of my favorite flavors, and while I really love tomato-based Mexican rice, this was a nice alternative to accompany a Mexican-themed meal.

Gulf Coast-Style White Rice Pilaf

Gulf Coast-Style White Rice Pilaf

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

1 1/2 tbsps vegetable or olive oil

1 1/2 cups white rice

1 small white onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1 3/4 cup chicken broth

Salt

3 Tbsp flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped (for garnish)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and put rack in center position.

2. Add oil, rice and onion to a medium oven-proof saucepan, over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the rice turns to a milky-white color. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add chicken broth and 1 tsp salt. Stir to combine, and bring to a boil.

3. Place into the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and add chopped parsley.

Source: Mexican Everyday

Red Chile Enchiladas with Chicken and Melted Cheese

Red Chile Enchiladas with Chicken and Cheese

 

Out of all the foods in the world, Mexican is definitely at or near the top of my favorites (I have a whole Pinterest board devoted to it if you want to check it out!). It’s one of those types of food that I could never see myself not craving, and I could totally eat constantly without tiring of it. Enchiladas are one of my favorite types of Mexican food to eat- stuffed tortillas topped with a flavorful chile-spiked sauce sauce and cheese… what’s not to love? There are many variations of enchiladas out there and soooo many I want to try like this and this and this, but I’m pretty sure that the classic red chile enchiladas stuffed with chicken, and topped with cheese, will always be my favorite. This variation from Rick Bayless is awesome- it uses dried chiles which really imparts great flavor to the sauce, and seriously, if you’ve never made your own enchilada sauce, it’s wonderful, and so easy- there is nothing to be intimidated by. Dried chiles, tomato sauce, chicken broth, garlic, and some spices are all it encompassed. Give it a try and you’ll see!

Red Chile Enchiladas with Chicken and Cheese

Red Chile Enchiladas with Chicken and Cheese

Red Chile Enchiladas with Chicken and Melted Cheese

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

4 medium (about 1 oz total) dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into flat pieces

2 garlic cloves, peeled and quartered

One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted)

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil, plus extra for tortillas

2 cups chicken broth

12 corn tortillas

Salt

1/2 tsp sugar

2 generous cups (about 8 oz) cooked chicken, coarsely shredded

1 cup (about 4 oz) shredded cheese (Monterey jack, mild cheddar, chihuahua, quesadilla or asadero)

1 small white onion, cut into rings, for garnish

Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast the guajillo chiles in a medium skillet over medium heat- place a few pieces in the skillet, press down on them with a spatula, and toast for about 10 seconds per side- the color on the underside will have lightened a bit. Transfer the toasted chiles to a blender or food processor and add the garlic, tomatoes with their juice, cumin and black pepper. Blend until smooth.

2. Place a large saucepan over medium high heat and add oil. Set a mesh strainer over the saucepan, and pour the sauce into the strainer, pressing on it until the all the sauce is strained into the saucepan. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Add the chicken broth and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile prepare the tortillas. Brush the tortillas front and back, with oil, and place in stacks of twos on a baking sheet. Bake for about 3 minutes, until warm and flexible. Remove from oven, stack in a single stack, and cover with a kitchen towel (this will keep them warm).

4. Taste the sauce, and season to taste with salt- I used about 1 1/2 tsp as Bayless suggested, but use more or less to your taste, and add the sugar as well.

5. In a 9×13 baking dish, spread about 1/2 cup of the sauce. Add another 1/2 cup of the sauce to the shredded chicken and mix to combine. To assemble, lay a corn tortilla on your work surface, add some shredded chicken, and roll up. Place in the baking dish seam side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. (It will look like a lot of sauce, but don’t worry- this is what it is supposed to look like and when it bakes it will be perfect!)

6. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted. Sprinkle the top with the sliced rings of onions and cilantro sprigs.

Source: Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

Creamy Chicken Taquitos

Happy, happy weekend! My pansies are planted, my windows are open, and my mood is relaxed! Coffee is being drunk, movie watching is commencing, and meal planning will be happening in a bit. I also went to Target today and found a comforter set on sale for $50(!!!!), bought some colorful pens, a binder to organize blog stuff, some pet food, and a dog toy. I can never walk out of there without a hodgepodge of stuff.  So altogether, the weekend has started successfully. I love Saturdays!

Pansies

I tend to make new things all the time, and find it a rare thing when I make a recipe over and over again. This is one of those rare recipes. Who knew that homemade taquitos were so easy to make? These are baked rather than fried, so they are healthier than regular taquitos, and, unlike the store-bought ones, you know exactly what is in them, so that’s something to feel good about too! These would be great as an appetizer, but we like them so much, that we usually have them as a meal, alongside some rice and beans. Another awesome thing about this recipe… it freezes wonderfully. You can make a bunch, freeze whatever you aren’t eating that day, and have them for a quick and easy meal for some future night when things are super-busy!

Creamy Chicken Taquitos

Creamy Chicken Taquitos

Makes about 12-16 taquitos

Ingredients:

3 oz cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup salsa (homemade or store-bought)

1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp onion powder

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

1-2 scallions, chopped

2 cup cooked, shredded chicken

1 cup shredded cheese (i.e. cheddar, monterey jack or pepper jack)

10-16 6-inch flour tortillas

Cooking spray

Kosher Salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, a silicone mat, or parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic, cilantro, scallions, shredded chicken, and cheese, until well combined.

3. Microwave tortillas about 20-30 seconds to make them easier to roll. To assemble taquitos, lay a tortilla flat on your surface, and place about 2-3 Tbsp of the filling down the middle. Roll up tightly, and place on prepared baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas.*

4. Spray the tops of the taquitos lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle on kosher salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Serve with sour cream, salsa and guacamole if desired.

*At this point you can freeze the unbaked taquitos- just place the baking sheet in the freezer and let chill for 30-60 minutes. Then transfer to a freezer-safe bag. When you want to cook them, just remove from freezer and bake frozen, adding a couple minutes onto the cook time. Do not thaw before baking.

Source: Annie‘s Eats (Originally from Our Best Bites)