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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Southwest Skillet Ragu

Hello friends! One of these days my goal is to get back to regular posting. I swear just when I think things will get back to normal, something else comes up that keeps me incredibly busy. This time it’s a move!! My boyfriend and I have lived in the same apartment for over 6 years now, and while we love a lot of things about it, when we got word of another place opening up, we jumped on the chance to take it. This time we will be renting the 2nd floor of a two-family house which has a lot more character than the generic apartment we live in now, and I think has a lot more potential for customization… also, I’ll be getting my own office/study/craftroom space which I am super excited about, and there’s space for a decent sized garden!!!! Anywho, our move out/move in date is January 1st, and that is rapidly approaching. With work keeping me busy much of the week, I’m using most of my spare time packing and getting ready for the move. It’s amazing how much we’ve accumulated in the 6+ years we’ve lived together.

With all the craziness around here, I’m searching for quick and easy meals that require few pans, and minimal cleanup. Okay, that’s what I’m always searching for, but even more so these days. This meal fits the bill perfectly. Two dishes, few ingredients, and all around comfort, this dish is a winner. Goulash is such a comforting food to me (it’s one of the first I started making on my own when Ron and I moved into our apartment), and this take on it with the southwest flavors of chili powder and cumin is really yummy. Definitely recommended.

Southwest Skillet Ragu

Southwest Skillet Ragu

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 cup elbow macaroni

1-1.5 lbs ground beef or turkey

1 large onion, diced

1 red (orange, yellow or green) bell pepper, chopped

8-12 oz white button or baby bella mushrooms, quartered

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (optional)

1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, with juices

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded, plus more for serving

Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Place a pot of water to boil, salt the water, and cook pasta according to directions. Reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water when done. Drain pasta and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, place a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add 1 tsp of olive oil, and add the ground meat. Cook until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes, remove the meat from the pan and set aside, and drain off most of the grease. Leave a small amount just to coat the bottom of the pan.

3. Add the onions, and 1/2 tsp of salt, and cook about 5-6 minutes until softened and beginning to brown. Add the mushrooms and cook 5-6 minutes until golden brown. Add peppers, and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, spices, and 1/2 tsp of salt and cook 30-60 seconds until fragrant.

4. Add the tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. Add back browned meat, and simmer for about 5 minutes more until the sauce has thickened.

5. Add the pasta and cheese, and stir until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of the pasta cooking water until the sauce is to your desired consistency. Serve, topping each serving with more cheese if desired.

Source: The Kitchn

 

 

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

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

Cheddar-Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

Cheddar-Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

I really love a good burger recipe, and I love experimenting with new combinations of toppings/flavor profiles. I am a big fan of classic burgers (Five Guys makes one of my favorite burgers), but when I come across an interesting-looking burger recipe it’s pretty much guaranteed that I’ll try it at some point. So far on this blog I have recipes for turkey burgers with cheddar and smokey aioli, jalapeno popper sliders, chipotle turkey burgers, Good Stuff melts, and taco pockets… and I can only see more recipes for burgers appearing here in the future. It’s just one of those foods that’s endlessly adaptable, and soooo delicious! I really would love to try making some vegetarian/vegan burgers as well! (Actually- the black bean-brown rice patties could be classified as a burger- those were awesome!) When I came across this recipe on What’s Gaby Cooking, I knew I would be making it soon- it has some of my favorite things right in the title- cheddar, jalapenos and guacamole. These made a very flavorful burger, with all the spices, and the cheddar, onion and jalapeno being added to the patty itself. This helps keep the burgers from drying out, as chicken is a very lean meat. The toppings that are added (all customizable of course), just make it that much better!

Cheddar-Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

Cheddar-Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

Cheddar-Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

Cheddar-Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 lb ground chicken

1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tsp jalapeno, finely chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/4 cup cheddar cheese, finely shredded

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 hamburger buns

Optional Toppings

Guacamole

Sour cream

red onion slices

lettuce

tomato

Salsa

Directions:

1. Add the chicken to a large bowl. Add the onion, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, paprika, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper. Combine gently with hands. Form 4 patties.

2. Heat a grill pan, or large skillet on medium heat. Spray with a nonstick cooking spray, or add a little bit of oil and swirl so it coats the pan. Add the patties, and cook about 5-7 minutes per side.

3. Serve on a bun with any desired toppings.

Source: What’s Gaby Cooking

Taco Pockets

A few years ago Ron’s mom gave me a cookbook filled with recipes she loves and uses frequently in her own kitchen. It is wonderful!! It has recipes for things like chicken stock, beef stock, vegtable broth, buttermilk dressing, homemade mayonnaise, pasta sauce and a bunch of other great recipes! She put it all in a binder so that it’ll be easy to add more recipes throughout the future. These taco pockets are one of the recipes she included, and has told me many times how great they are, but it has taken me til now to make them! I blame my terrible tendency to procrastinate. I am so glad that I finally made them though. They are just as good as she said they were, and Ron and I both thoroughly enjoyed them, They are a spin on a burger, but they are spiced up with taco seasonings, and wrapped in a tortilla instead of a bun. A very fun twist on a couple of my favorite things- tacos and burgers!

Taco Pockets

Taco Pockets

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 lb ground sirloin, turkey, or chicken

1/2 medium Spanish onion, grated

2 tsp water

2 Tbsp ground cumin

2 Tbsp chili powder

A pinch of cayenne pepper, or a dash of hot sauce

1 tsp garlic powder, or 2 cloves minced fresh garlic

1 tsp salt

4 12-inch flour tortillas

4 oz. cheese (Monterey jack, pepper jack, cheddar or smoked cheddar)

1 head Romaine lettuce, shredded

1 large tomato, chopped

Chopped fresh cilantro, optional

Avocado or guacamole, optional

Salsa, optional

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine the ground meat with the water, onion, spices and salt. Form into 4 patties.

2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray, or brush with a little oil. Place the patties in the skillet and cook about 5-7 minutes on each side.

3. To assemble pockets, place a tortilla on a plate. Put any toppings you’d like in the center of the tortilla, and then lay the patty on top. Fold the tortilla over the patty on all four sides. Flip over, and cut in half.

Source: Adapted from Rachel Ray