Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Creamy Chicken Baked Taquitos

Well, another year has gone by and cinco de mayo has come and gone. A lot of you may think it’s just Cinco de Mayo, no big deal, but it means more to me than just the fifth of May- especially this year. Cinco de mayo this year is my five-year anniversary at my job and I couldn’t be happier. Five years has gone by in the blink of an eye and I have learned so much from my colleagues and friends there. Yes I said friends. That’s the one great thing about everyone I work with – they are more than just colleagues and people I see at work everyday. They are like my second family. Truly. I kid you not. They all are amazing people and I could not ask for a better group of people to work with. Here’s to five more years (and more!).

Okay, now that I got that out of the way, it’s time for an ole ole recipe. Don’t you agree?  The idea for this recipe came from the captain’s Dad, Dean and his wife Barb. Hiiii Dean and Barb! There was a recipe for baked chicken taquitos in one of the cookbooks I got for them for Christmas – Jenny Flake’s Picky Palate Cookbook. If you don’t’ already have a copy in your collection, it’s a must have. You can check it out here.  Not to mention she is a fabulous fellow food blogger and is one of my favorite to read. I pretty much drool over all her recipes.  Drool all over. To be honest, she has so many fabulous recipes and there hasn’t been one I haven’t liked yet.  My favorite so far may be her green chili enchilada casserole. It's something I make quite often and it's always delicious. Quick, easy and totally satisfying (here is the recipe!).  So, when Dean and Barb sent me a photo of the baked taquitos they and told me how good they were, I knew I had to try them for myself. Or at least a version of them.

To be honest, it probably took a couple of months after that picture to get around to making these taquitos, but I finally did. I wanted to make something different for the captain and I and these chicken taquitos seemed perfect for a quick and easy dinner. And that they were! To be honest, the hardest part of making these (if you can even say that), is baking the chicken. That’s the longest part at least. Once the chicken is baked and can be shredded without burning your hands, you just mix it up with a little cream cheese, shredded pepperjack (for a little spice – you can use cheddar if you wish or even monterey jack to keep it mild), green onions, green salsa, and seasonings. Once the mixture is ready, you roll them into flour tortillas and line on a cookie sheet. Now, if you want to cook them right away, you can, but my favorite way of making these is ahead of time. Just freeze the unbaked taquitos on a cookie sheet in the freezer until they are firm and them place in a Ziploc freezer bag until you are ready to enjoy. Now, who doesn’t love a quick and easy meal in the freezer ready to go? I know I do and I know you and your family will love these too!

These taquitos are perfect for anytime you are craving something Mexican. You can make them smaller in corn tortillas for more of an appetizer or make them in flour tortillas and have them as your main meal. Serve them with some homemade guacamole, black beans and a fresh corn salad (or green salad!) and you are good to go. Quick, fresh and easy. Plus, none of the junk that is in the processed taquitos you can get in the store and something you can feel good about eating. Now that’s what I am talking about. Ole!

yummy ingredients

don't forget to season your chicken breasts with olive oil, and salt and pepper

lots of flavor!

the only way to shred chicken - your mixer!

the chicken mixed with the creamy goodness

place the chicken onto the torilla

wrap up extra tight

freeze and place in a Ziploc for a quick and easy dinner

baked up nice and crunchy

dinner is served!

Creamy Chicken Baked Taquitos (slightly adapted from Our Baking Bites and Picky Palate)

1/3 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup green salsa (medium or spicy)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup chopped onion (red or white)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (you can even use shredded pork or beef in these too!)
1 cup grated cheese (use pepper jack for a kick or cheddar or monterey jack for something mild)

If baking right away, preheat oven to 425 degrees, line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. If you are freezing, simply follow the directions below and freeze before baking. 

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it’s soft and easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion and granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well. Place 1/4 a cup of the chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges and roll it up as tight as you can. Place seam side down on the baking sheet. 

At this point, if you are freezing for later, freeze until they are solid and store in a Ziploc bag. If baking right away, lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and sprinkle some sea salt on top. Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown. 

Ole! Ole! Ole!

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