Rotisserie Chicken Taquitos

Believe it or not, one of the most popular recipes on this blog is my take on Rotisserie Chicken Burritos.  I’m guessing it must be the combination of cheesy deliciousness and the ease of using precooked rotisserie chicken that makes the burritos so popular. (And did I mention the melted cheese? YUM!)  With that in mind, Matt and I set out to see what other easy weeknight meal we could make with rotisserie chicken.  These baked chicken and poblano chile taquitos are the satisfying result!

Rotisserie Chicken Taquitos

Taquitos are basically little burritos that are bite-sized and perfect for dipping.  Just like burritos, taquitos are created by wrapping a tortilla around tasty filling, but unlike burritos the taquitos are baked in the oven (or fried) to give them a nice crispy texture.  The firm outer shell of the tortilla helps each little taquito hold its shape as you dip it into your choice of salsa, sour cream or guacamole.

We made our taquitos rather plump which worked out well since they were our main dinner entree.  If you wanted to serve these as an appetizer you could make them a little thinner.  Also, we made up our filling as we went along and we’ll probably continue to tweak it when we make these in the future, so have fun and play around with your own combination of shredded meat, veggies, and seasonings.  Just don’t forget the cheese!  🙂

Homemade Taquitos Montage

Baked Rotisserie Chicken Taquitos with Poblano Chiles

You will need…
3 small Poblano Peppers
1/2 Yellow Onion, finely diced
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 large Rotisserie Chicken Breast, meat removed from bone and chopped
1 teaspoon Chile Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Approx. 1 cup Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese
Handful Cilantro Leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup Peanut Oil
12-18 Small Corn Tortillas
Sour Cream and Salsa, for serving

Directions:
Place the poblano peppers on a rimmed baking sheet and broil on the top rack of an oven for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until the pepper skin is blistered and starting to blackened.  Remove from the oven and transfer the peppers to a glass bowl.  Cover the bowl for 5-10 minutes with a dish towel to hold in the moisture.  Then, carefully peel the skin off of the poblanos (it should come off pretty easily), remove the seeds and finely chop.

Saute the diced onions and garlic in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat until translucent.  Add in the chopped poblanos, chicken and seasonings (chile powder through salt and pepper) and stir well.  Saute until ingredients are heated through then transfer to a large bowl.  Stir in the shredded cheese and cilantro to complete your taquito filling.

Heat the peanut oil in a small pan over medium heat.  Use tongs to place a tortilla in the oil.  The oil is hot enough when small bubbles appear around the outer edge of the tortilla.  (It’s too hot if the oil is bubbling wildly and/or causing the tortilla to lift up out of the oil.)  Allow the tortilla to heat in the oil for 20-30 seconds, then use the tongs to flip it over and cook for another 15 seconds.  Lift the tortilla out of the oil, allow the excess oil to drip off, then transfer to a cutting board.  Fill the tortilla with a small amount of the filling (approx. 2-3 tablespoons), roll it up, and place it seam-side down on a baking sheet.  Repeat this process with the remaining tortillas.

Bake the taquitos in a preheatead 350°F oven for 20-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.  Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Taquitos!

Skirt Steak Tacos

Back in early July Matt and I made some yummy grilled steak tacos with a spicy, red chile pepper marinade. We’re going to make these tasty tacos again this weekend so I thought that now would be the perfect time to post the recipe… mostly so I can remind myself of how to make them! 🙂

Zacatecas Skirt Steak Taco

Don’t be intimidated by the red chile sauce. It has a lot of ingredients and took some time to make, but it also keeps well (just freeze any extra in an ice cube tray and bag the frozen cubes for storage) so you can definitely make it ahead of time. Also, keep in mind that the skirt steak needs to marinade overnight so plan accordingly.

~ ~ ~

Skirt Steak Tacos from Zacatecas
(from Tacos by Mark Miller; tweaked slightly for ingredients we had on hand)

Ingredients for the Red Chile Sauce:
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 White Onion, chopped
8 Roma Tomatoes, blackened (to blacken remove stems and broil in the oven for 5 minutes until blistered)
8 oz. (25-ish) dried New Mexico Red Chiles, dry roasted and re-hydrated, soaking water reserved
2 cloves Garlic, roasted and finely chopped (to roast place unpeeled cloves in a 350°F oven for 20-30 minutes until soft)
1 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 tablespoon Dried Mexican Oregano
1 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons Peanut Oil

Ingredients for the Skirt Steak:
1 pound Skirt Steak, excess fat trimmed away
8-10 cloves Garlic, dry-roasted and chopped (see above)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1 tablespoon Chile Powder
1 tablespoon Salt
2 teaspoons Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Cumin
2 teaspoons Onion Powder
1 tablespoon chopped Cilantro
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil (we used canola)
2 tablespoons Red Chile Sauce
1 teaspoon Chipotle Puree (simply puree a can of Chipotles en Adobo in blender; refrigerate any extra for up to a month)

Other Taco Ingredients:
Corn Tortillas
Garnishes, including: shredded Cabbage, thinly sliced Radishes, Chopped Onions, Chopped Tomatoes, Fresh Cilantro, Lime Wedges, and Shredded Cheese

309 Zacatecas Skirt Steak Taco

Directions:

Start by making your Red Chile Sauce in advance. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and saute the onion for 6-8 minutes or until browned. Transfer the onion, tomatoes, rehydrated chiles, garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt to a blender. If the reserved chile water is not bitter, add one cup to the blender mixture. If it is bitter, add a cup of normal water instead.

Blend the mixture thoroughly until a fine paste forms. Then, heat the peanut oil in a (clean) skillet over high heat and refry the blender mixture “at a sizzle” for 3-5 minutes while stirring constantly. The refried sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If too thick, stir in more water.

A day before you want to eat your tacos, prepare the Skirt Steak. Use a butcher’s mallet to pound the steak until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Combine all of the remaining ingredients (chopped roasted garlic thru chipotle puree) in a large bowl or dish and stir well to create a marinade. Rub the marinade over the meat, cover, and allow to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Marinating and Grilled Zacatecas Skirt Steak

Marinating steak (left) and grilled steak (right).

When you are ready to make your tacos, season the steak with more salt and pepper and grill it over direct medium-high heat for approximately 6 minutes total, flipping once halfway through. Remove the cooked steak from the grill, allow it to rest for a few minutes, and then slice it against the grain into 1/4″ thick strips.

Build your tacos by arranging strips of steak on warm corn tortillas and topping with shredded cabbage, chopped onion, and any other garnishes that you like. Enjoy!

Zacatecas Skirt Steak Taco

Carnitas Tostadas

A few weeks ago we made delicious pork carnitas tacos during our Engagement Photo Session. To make those carnitas, we slow-cooked a bone-in 4 lb. pork butt for 8-10 hours and then shredded it and seasoned it once it was fully cooked. That recipe turned out great but we decided to try a (slightly) quicker version of these tasty pork bites just to see how they would differ. In this latest version, the pork is cut up into 1 1/2 inch cubes before cooking, then slow-cooked with an array of seasoning for just 6 hours.

Pork Carnitas Tostadas

The resulting pork was tender and juicy and quite different in flavor and texture than our first take on carnitas. I think that I maybe liked these a little better, but they also required more prep work so it’s really a toss up depending on how much time you have! We used our carnitas to build Mexican tostadas… towers of beans, pork, cheese, salsa, and sour cream atop crispy, fried corn tortillas. Yum!

Pork Carnitas Tostadas

Pork Carnitas Tostadas

Ingredients for the Pork Carnitas:
(Carnitas recipe from Williams-Sonoma’s The New Slow Cooker Cookbook)
2 lb. Boneless Pork Shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Dried Mexican Oregano
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 tablespoon Sherry Vinegar (we substituted in 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar & 1 tsp Sherry)
Salt and Pepper
1 Yellow Onion, quartered
3 Bay Leaves
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Chile Powder

Ingredients for the Tostadas:
1 – 15 oz. can Refried Beans
1/2 Jalapeño Pepper, finely chopped
Peanut Oil
6 Corn Tortillas
Shredded Cheese (we used a mix of Mozzarella and Mexican blend)
Salsa
Sour Cream
Chopped Cilantro, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish

Directions:
To make the pork carnitas, mix together the first six ingredients (pork thru salt & pepper) in a slow cooker. Add in the onion and bay leaves, then cover and cook the pork on low for 6 hours. When cooking is complete, use a slotted spoon to transfer the pork to a plate or bowl. Skim the fat off of the cooking liquid and remove and discard the onion piece and bay leaves. Pull the pork apart using two forks, then season with the cayenne pepper and chile powder (to taste) and add in several spoonfuls of the cooking liquid until the pork reaches your desired level of juiciness.

To make the tostadas, start by combining the refried beans and chopped jalapeño in a microwaveable bowl. Heat the beans in the microwave on high for 2 minutes and stir well.

Meanwhile, coat the bottom of a small frying pan with peanut oil (enough to just allow a tortilla to float on the oil but not enough to submerge it completely). Heat the oil over high heat and then, using tongs, carefully place one tortilla in the oil. The oil around the edge of the tortilla will boil rapidly. (If it doesn’t bubble, increase the heat until it does.) Allow the tortilla to fry in the oil until the bottom side turns golden brown, then use your tongs to flip the tortilla over and fry until that side is golden brown as well. Transfer the tortilla to a paper towel-lined plate, then repeat this frying process with the remaining tortillas.

To assemble your tostadas, cover one side of each tortilla with a liberal amount of the bean mixture. Top with a few spoonfuls of the pork carnitas, then sprinkle a handful of shredded cheese on top. Broil the tostadas for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Top with spoonfuls of salsa and sour cream and garnish with cilantro and lime juice. Serve with a cold beer and enjoy!

Pork Carnitas Tostadas

Pork Carnitas Tacos

Yesterday Matt and I had our Engagement Photo Session with our wonderful wedding photographer, Melissa Hassey. Prior to the shoot Melissa suggested that Matt and I just relax and do what we normally would be doing on a Tuesday afternoon so we embraced that advice and decided to cook a big meal. That’s pretty much a typical weeknight, after all!

Our “Engagement Session Meal” consisted of slow-cooked pork carnitas tacos with lots of yummy sides including jalapeño-lime slaw, avocado crema, and fresh cilantro. We also enjoyed a pitcher of mojito limeade and a few cold beers. Yum!

I can’t wait to see how Melissa’s photos turn out. She actually snapped some of me taking pictures of our food before dinner while Matt waited patiently for me to finish which, once again, is a pretty normal part of our daily life together!  (Update: You can view one of Melissa’s photos of me taking photos of our carnitas here.)

Slow-Cooked Pork Carnitas Tacos (serves 2 with LOTS of leftovers for 2-3 lunches each!)

For the Pork…
3 ½ – 4 lbs. Bone-In Pork Butt, fat mostly trimmed off and discarded
Salt and Pepper
3/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Cumin
1 teaspoon Chile Powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
3 teaspoons Mexican Oregano

Corn Tortillas (approx. 3 per person)

Toppings/Sides…
Jalapeño-Lime Slaw
Avocado Crema
Chopped White or Yellow Onion
Fresh Cilantro
Guacamole
Rice (or, better yet, Cilantro-Lime Rice!)
Lime Wedges
Tortilla Chips

Directions:
Generously salt and pepper both sides of the pork butt and place the meat into a slow cooker. Pour the vinegar into the slow cooker, cover, and cook on high for 8-10 hours.

When pork is finished cooking, remove the pork from the slower cooker and transfer to a large bowl. Pull the pork apart with two forks (or your fingers!) and discard the bone. Stir in the cumin, chile powder, cayenne pepper and more salt and pepper — feel free to adjust the seasonings to taste. Spread the seasoned meat out on a large baking pan and broil in the oven for 5-6 minutes until the edges start to get crispy.

Pour the cooking liquid from the slow cooker into a large measuring cup and then return the broiled pork to the slow cooker. Mix in the oregano, then pour some of the cooking liquid into the slow cooker and stir until the pork absorbs it. Keep adding more liquid and stirring until the pork reaches your desired moisture level. (We skipped this step yesterday and thought that our pork was a little dry but we’ll definitely do it next time!) Discard any leftover liquid and keep the pork warm until you are ready to serve it.

Meanwhile, prepare your toppings and sides as per their respective recipes. Just before serving, heat up the corn tortillas to make them pliable and yummy. Either microwave them in a damp paper towel for approx. 30 seconds or have fun with the grill and grill the tortillas over indirect high heat for 2-3 minutes.

To assemble your pork carnitas taco layer the pork, slaw, crema, onion, and cilantro onto a tortilla and enjoy!

Pork Carnitas Taco

Chicken Enchiladas with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Several weeks ago I shared the recipe for one of our all-time favorite appetizers, Roasted Tomatillo Salsa. In addition to being a great appetizer, this salsa is also a star ingredient in Tyler Florence’s Chicken Enchiladas. We’ve made these enchiladas a few times and they are delicious! Although the original recipe calls for flour tortillas we tried mixing things up last night and used corn tortillas instead. The corn tortillas didn’t hold together quite as well as the flour tortillas (as evidenced by my disheveled-looking plated dinner photos!) but they more than made up for that with their wonderful corn-y texture and taste.

By themselves, these enchiladas will easily feed 4-6 adults for dinner but you could also serve them with Mexican rice or a side of beans to round out the meal.

Chicken Enchiladas with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (from The Food Network)

You will need…
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 White Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons Cumin
1/4 cup Flour
2 cups Chicken Stock
Handful Cilantro Leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
1 small Rotisserie Chicken, meat removed from bones and shredded
Salt and Pepper to taste
Approx. 2 cups Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (view recipe)
14 Corn Tortillas, warmed in a stack under a damp towel in the microwave for 30 seconds before assembly
8 oz. Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
Sour Cream, for garnish
Tomatoes, Chopped, for garnish

Directions:
Heat the Olive Oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the diced onion and sauté until the onion is starting to turn brown and caramelize, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin and continue to cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle in the flour, stir well, and gradually pour in the chicken stock. Stir well then reduce heat and allow to simmer until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Remove thickened sauce from heat and stir in 1 cup of the Tomatillo Salsa, along with the cilantro and shredded chicken. Stir well to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.

Set up five stations with the following: (1) stack of warmed tortillas, (2) shallow bowl with several spoonfuls of tomatillo salsa, (3) chicken mixture, (4) Monterey Jack cheese, (5) 13×9 inch baking pan with several spoonfuls of tomatillo salsa smeared across the bottom. To assemble your enchiladas, coat both sides of a tortilla with salsa and spoon in a few tablespoons of the chicken mixture. Sprinkle some cheese over the chicken mixture and then roll the tortilla up and place in the baking pan. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, lining them up neatly in the baking pan. Spoon any extra chicken mixture over the rolled tortillas and cover with the remaining tomatillo salsa (approx. 3/4 cup). Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake in a preheated 350° oven for 30 minutes.

The enchiladas are done when the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve your enchiladas with a garnish of sour cream, cilantro, and chopped tomatoes. Enjoy!

Jalapeño Garlic Chicken Quesadillas

Wait!  Before you read this, please comment on my Tomato Salad post to win a FREE digital kitchen scale!  Contest ends tomorrow (8/1) at 11:59PM.

We had originally planned to make standard chicken tacos for dinner tonight but decided to mix (or melt?) things up with these cheesy jalapeño garlic chicken quesadillas instead.  Matt found the marinade recipe on About.com and I think that it gave the chicken a great amount of flavor without overwhelming the other ingredients in the quesadilla.

Our garden-fresh peppers were featured three ways in this meal.  We used two jalapeño peppers in the marinade, sliced up two small red peppers to saute with the onions and applied a few drops of our super-hot roasted fresh chile salsa (recipe coming soon!) over top of the cheese in the final quesadilla.  Delicious!

Jalapeño Garlic Chicken Quesadillas

You will need…
2 Jalapeño Peppers, stems removed
2-3 cloves Garlic, peeled
3/4 cup Water
1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Ancho Chile Powder
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 Chicken Breast (2 halves)
Peanut Oil
1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced into thin strips
6-8 Corn Tortillas
1 cup Shredded Cheese (we used Sargento Authentic Mexican Blend – a mix of Queso Quesadilla, Asadero, Queso Gallego, Manchego and Anejo Enchilado Cheese… whew!)
Hot Sauce or Roasted Fresh Chile Salsa to taste

Directions:
Place the jalapeño peppers and garlic in a blender and blend until finely chopped.  Add the next seven ingredients (water thru black pepper) and blend thoroughly.  Pour the mixture into a large zipper-top bag and add the chicken.  Allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes.

Add a tablespoon of Peanut Oil to a large skillet and saute the onion over medium heat.  When the onion is tender and starting to brown, add the red bell pepper and continuing sauteing until the peppers have softened slightly, approximately 5 minutes.  Remove the onions and peppers from the skillet and set aside.

Grill the marinaded chicken over direct medium-high heat until cooked through, approximately 7-8 minutes per side.  Remove the chicken from the grill and allow it to rest for 3-5 minutes before cutting it into thin slices.

Add a small amount of peanut oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat.  Place one corn tortilla in the skillet and top with a small handful of shredded cheese.  Layer a few slices of chicken onto the cheese and spoon some of the onion-pepper mixture over the chicken.  Top with another scant handful of cheese and a few drops of your favorite hot sauce or spicy salsa.  Layer a second corn tortilla onto your creation.  Allow the bottom of the quesadilla to turn golden brown then carefully flip the quesadilla over and cook the other side until golden.  Remove the quesadilla from the skillet, and repeat the layering process with the remaining 2-3 quesadillas.  Slice the quesadillas into quarters and serve with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream… or just eat them as is!  🙂

Easy Chicken Fajitas

This is a quick and easy weeknight recipe that we enjoyed last week.  Besides the basic pantry items, all you really need is a chicken breast, red pepper, onion, and tortillas… simple!

Easy Chicken Fajitas (from Food and Wine)

You will need…
1 teaspoon Chile Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 tablespoon Cornstarch
1 Chicken Breast (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into strips
1 White Onion, cut into 1/2 inch slices
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 cup Water
2 tablespoons Lime Juice
6-8 corn Tortillas, warmed
Sour Cream
Hot Sauce, such as Cholula

Directions:
Combine the first six ingredients (chile powder through cornstarch) in a small bowl and stir well to combine.  Place the chicken, pepper, onion, olive oil and water in a large ziplock bag and sprinkle in the dry ingredient mixture.  Close the bag and mix/flip well so that the chicken is covered.  Allow to marinade in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat and add about a tablespoon of olive oil.  Add in the chicken mixture and stir occasionally until the chicken is cooked through.  Stir in the lime juice and serve in the warmed corn tortillas with sour cream and a few drops of hot sauce.