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 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

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

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