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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Tex-Mex Chicken Pizza

Hello friends!! Long time no see! I’m sorry for my absence lately. Things have been so busy in my neck of the woods- my best friend got married this weekend, and me being the maid of honor I have been super busy with that! The wedding was beautiful and I was so excited to be a part of all the festivities.  In a couple of weeks I have another bachelorette party to attend as my brother is getting married in a couple of months… and the holidays are drawing closer and closer too! Luckily all this stuff is fun, but it’s been busy nonetheless. That is why I figured I’d bring you and nice and simple dinner tonight for those busy times in your own lives.

As you all know, I am a fan of easy dinners. These Tex-Mex “pizzas” fit that description to a tee! Toast some tortillas, top with deliciousness, and devour. If you buy a rotisserie chicken, this meal is even easier! I made this a few weeks ago on a super busy night, and had it for the next few days because it was so delicious. This is one of those meals that I wish I always had the ingredients on the ready because they are the perfect lazy person’s dinner.

Tex-Mex Chicken Pizza

Tex-Mex Chicken Pizza

Makes 4

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sour cream

1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, divided

2 Tbsp lime juice, divided

Salt and pepper

1 (16-oz) can refried beans

1 tsp chili powder

4 (8-inch) flour tortillas

8 tsp vegetable oil

2 cups shredded chicken (from a rotisserie chicken, or you can cook and shred a couple chicken breasts)

1 cup pepper jack, Monterey jack or cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup pickled jalapenos, chopped (or sliced)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. In a small bowl, add the sour cream, 1/4 cup cilantro and 1 Tbsp lime juice, and whisk together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. In a seperate bowl, stir together the refried beans, remaining lime juice, and chili powder.

2. Line  two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Brush each tortilla with vegetable oil- use about 1 tsp per each side of a tortilla. Lay on the baking sheets, and bake about 5 minutes until golden, flipping halfway through. Check frequently, as the tortillas can go from golden to brown fairly quickly.

3. When the tortillas are done, spread each with about 1/4 cup of the refried bean mixture. Leave about 1/2-inch border around the edge. Top the refried beans with about 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture per tortilla, then 1/4 cheese, and then 2 Tbsp jalapenos. Transfer to the oven, and bake about 6-8 minutes until the cheese is melted and the toppings are heated through. Serve with sour cream mixture, cilantro and salsa if desired.

Source: America’s Test Kitchen: 30 Minute Suppers

Pan-Seared Cod with Mushrooms

Happy happy Friday everyone! I am so glad it’s the weekend, and this weekend is super-special because it if my boyfriend Ron’s birthday! He is turning the big 3-1.  Now he can officially say he’s in his 30’s. He doesn’t care at all- it seems to me that guys just don’t care as much about their age as women do. We are going to have a low-key birthday, as he’s not a big party person. I told him that I would cook him whatever he wanted, and so far the menu that he has chosen includes wings, quesadillas and pizza! I fully expect to gain about 50 pounds this weekend 🙂 This dinner was the opposite of pizza and wings! Although it is somewhat rich due to the butter and olive oil, the fish and mushrooms are so good for you that I think it evens out. I loved the combination of the buttery-lemony sauce with the mild flaky cod and earthy mushrooms! Mushrooms are one of my favorite foods, so that combined with the seafood made this dish a winner in my book… and even though I didn’t have the proper spatula to flip my fish and it ended up breaking up a but, I still think this dish was really pretty and impressive looking… and it only used one skillet, and you all know how I feel about that!

Pan-Seared Cod with Mushrooms

Pan-Seared Cod with Mushrooms

Serves 2

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 lb mushrooms (I used a combination of shiitake, oyster and cremini)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of dried red chile flakes

2 skinless fillets of cod, about 1 lb (You can substitute other firm white fish such as snapper or hake)

1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

2 Tbsp cold butter

2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)

Fresh cilantro, parsley or chives (for garnish)

Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

Directions:

1. Place a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat, and add 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add the mushrooms, salt, peppers, and a pinch of red chili flakes, and cook until the liquid is evaporated and the mushrooms are browned, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the mushrooms to a warmed serving dish.

2. Season fish with salt and pepper. Wipe down the skillet, and add remaining oil. Place again over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering add the fish. Cook about 3 minutes on first side without moving. Flip carefully, and cook until fish is done, about 2 more minutes. Remove to the serving dish with the mushrooms.

3. Place the skillet back on the heat, increasing the heat to high. Add the vegetable broth and cook about 2 minutes, until it is reduced by half. Remove from the heat, and stir in the butter and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the fish and mushrooms. Garnish with cilantro, parsley or chives if desired, and serve with lemon wedges if you’d like.

Source: Serious Eats

Gently Cooked Chicken Breasts with Garlic-Chile-Ginger Sauce

Gently Cooked Chicken with Garlic-Chile-Ginger Sauce

 

A few years ago, in The New York Times dining section, there was an article all about how to cook chicken breasts in a way that would make them non-boring. Now, I know it’s not the popular opinion, but I actually favor the taste of chicken breast over chicken thighs and legs. I guess I’d have to say I prefer milder meat in general, and so the stronger flavor of dark meat can be off-putting to me sometimes. I was excited about this article, because, while I cook a lot of recipes with chicken breasts, these promised to appeal to even the non-white meat chicken lover. My plan was to try them all (which I have yet to accomplish), and this is the first one I decided to try, and have made several times since. This dish is a winner! It’s pretty simple- just make a flavorful chicken broth, gently cook your chicken in it. Blend together your garlic-chile-ginger sauce. Assemble your dinner with your chicken, veggies, herbs and sauces topping some rice, and you are good to go! The garlic-chile-ginger sauce is fantastic! I love this stuff, and find myself adding more and more to my dish… but beware, eating a lot of it can cause the garlic to radiate from your pores the next day. I may or may not know this from experience. It’s worth it though!

Gently Cooked Chicken with Garlic-Chile-Ginger Sauce

Gently Cooked Chicken Breasts with Garlic-Chile-Ginger Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 oz each)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 5-inch long piece ginger root, peeled

8 large garlic cloves

4 jalapeno peppers

1 quart (4 cups) chicken broth

3 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp dark brown sugar

2 tsp fish sauce

2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice, more to taste

Cooked rice, for serving

Sesame oil, for drizzling

1 bunch roughly chopped basil, for serving

1 bunch roughly chopped cilantro, for serving

1 bunch thinly sliced scallions, for serving

1 European cucumber, thinly sliced, for serving

Directions:

1. Cut each chicken breast in quarters, lengthwise and crosswise. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Take peeled ginger root, and thinly slice about an inch of it. Add to a large pot or dutch oven. Coarsely chop the rest and put into a blender. Thinly slice 2 garlic cloves and add to the pot. Coarsely chop the rest of the garlic, and add to the blender. Thinly slice 2 of the jalapeno peppers, and add to the pot. Halve the remaining jalapenos, remove the seeds, coarsely chop, and add to the blender.

3. Add the chicken broth to the pot with the ginger, garlic and jalapeno and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken pieces, bring back to a simmer, cover the pot, and turn off the heat. Let sit for 10 minutes. Check for doneness, and if not cooked through after sitting for 10 minutes, bring back to a simmer, turn off the heat once more, and let sit for a couple minutes more. When done, transfer to a cutting board and thinly slice. Strain the broth if desired.

4. Add the soy sauce and sugar to a small bowl, and stir together to combine, and to dissolve the sugar.

5. Add the fish sauce, lime juice and 1/4 cup of the broth in which you cooked the chicken, to the blender. Blend until smooth. If necessary, add a little more broth. Taste. and season with salt and more lime juice to taste.

6. To serve: ladle cooked rice into a bowl. Top with the sliced chicken, a few tablespoons of broth, a drizzle of the soy sauce-sugar mixture, and a little bit of sesame oil. Top with desired amounts of herbs, cucumber slices, and scallions. Serve the garlic-chile-ginger sauce on the side, along with more sweet soy sauce and sesame oil if desired.

Source: The New York Times Dining Section, January 2010

Chicken Tostada Salads

When I saw these Chicken Tostada Salads posted on Shutterbean back in May, they screamed for me to make them immediately… actually, that happens with pretty much everything Tracy makes… I mean, have you seen her photography? It just makes everything look glorious, even the mundane. These salads are anything but mundane though. Super quick, fresh and flavorful, they are everything I look for in a meal, especially a summer meal. The crispy, cheesy tortillas make a perfect base for the “salad” that goes on top. The chicken topping is really yummy, and would also make a great filling for tacos.  This is a great recipe for the summer months to beat the heat. Just a short amount of cooking time (even quicker if you use a rotisserie chicken), and super-speedy assembly, and you have an awesome dinner!

Chicken Tostada Salads

Chicken Tostada Salads

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 corn tortillas

3 tsp extra virgin olive oil

2 oz Monterey Jack cheese (about 3/4 cup)

1/2 small red onion, finely diced

1 1/2 tsp chili powder

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (If you want to use a rotisserie chicken, use the breast meat)

1/2 cup water

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp fresh lime juice

1/2 head romaine lettuce (6 oz), shredded

1 tomato, seeded and chopped

1 avocado, diced

Fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving

Sour cream, for serving

Hot sauce, for serving

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil. Brush each side of the tortillas lightly, with 2 tsp of the olive oil. Place on baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes, until crisp and golden brown. Sprinkle the cheese evenly among the tortillas and pop back in the oven for about 3 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Set aside.

2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 tsp of olive oil. Add half the onion and cook  about 3 minutes, until softened. Add the chili powder and garlic, and cook about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the shredded chicken, 1/2 cup water, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 2 minutes, until the water is evaporated and the chicken is warm. Add 1 tsp lime juice. Remove pan from heat.

3. In a large bowl, toss the shredded lettuce with the remaining lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. To assemble tostada salads, split the lettuce among the tortillas, and top with the chicken mixture, tomato, avocado, remaining red onion and cilantro. Top with sour cream and hot sauce if desired.

Source: Shutterbean, who adapted it from Everyday Food

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Toasted Cumin Seeds

Happy Monday all! We’ve made it through the first day of the week, and hopefully everyone survived intact! Personally, I find Tuesdays to be even harder though, so if I can just make it through tomorrow I’ll be okay 🙂

I thought that you would appreciate a  healthy, refreshing salad to start off this week, especially with the high humidity and temperatures that are hitting the Northeast, and other parts of the country as well. Today it was over 90 degrees here, and that will continue for the next couple of days. This is a perfect salad for summer… good for lunch, a light dinner, or a dish to bring to a picnic or party. I made my salad with honey (as I didn’t have agave in my pantry), but if you use agave then this will be vegan. It is also gluten-free, so it great for those with food restrictions and/or allergies! Most importantly, it is delicious!

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Toasted Cumin Seeds

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Toasted Cumin Seeds

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked quinoa

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 cup plum tomatoes, finely diced

3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3-4 limes)

2 tsp honey (or light agave nectar)

1 tsp grapeseed oil

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup scallions, finely chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1 avocado, diced (optional)

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)

Mixed greens, for serving (optional)

Directions:

1. To toast the cumin seeds, place a small skillet over low heat, add the cumin seeds, and toss for about 5 minutes, until fragrant.

2. In a large bowl, add the toasted cumin seeds, tomatoes, lime juice, honey or agave, and grapeseed oil. Mix together. Add the quinoa, and stir well to combine. Add the beans, scallions, cilantro, avocado (if using), and jalapenos (if using), and mix in gently. Season to taste with salt. Serve over greens, if desired.

Source: slightly adapted from Appetite for Reduction

Cilantro Lime Rice

Except for the very rare occasion, I always make rice and beans to accompany my taco nights. Most of the time I stick to making just regular old white rice, and some spiced up canned beans (I usually add spices like cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne to my beans- never measuring). Sometimes though, I like to change it up, and this cilantro-lime rice is a super simple, and tasty way to make white rice more exciting. Just cook up your rice like you normally do, and then add in some cilantro, lime juice, and garlic… so easy! This was the perfect accompaniment to my fish tacos, and would be a great accompaniment for any Mexican-themed meal.

Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro Lime Rice

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cup long grain white rice

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp olive oil (optional)

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

2 Tbsp lime juice

1 clove garlic, minced

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan, add the water, rice, salt and olive oil (if using). Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 18-20 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes.

2. Fluff with fork, and then add the cilantro, lime juice, and garlic clove, and mix together.

Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats