SOFT CHICKEN TACOS

Tacos! That one word brings my guys to the table–and quick. The chicken’s brown sugar-cumin rub and made-from-scratch salsa sets this recipe apart from others. So tasty and so many thumbs up.

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SALSA

1/2 red onion, diced

2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced

6 Campari tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 tbsp fresh, chopped cilantro

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

TACOS

1 tbsp brown sugar

1-1/2 tsp chili powder

1-1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied

spray olive oil

4 large flour tortillas

2 cups shredded lettuce

3/4 cups grated Colby-Monterey Jack blend

1) SALSA: In medium-sized bowl, mix onion, jalapeño peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and black pepper; set aside

2) TACOS: In small bowl, mix brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, sea salt, and black pepper; rub mixture over both sides of butterflied chicken breasts

3) Spray olive oil spray over large skillet (I used a grill pan); cook chicken breasts over medium-high, 4-5 minutes each side until just cooked through; remove from heat, let cool a few minutes, and slice thinly

4) Spray olive oil spray over same skillet and heat tortillas both sides until warmed through; place one tortilla on each of four plates and divide chicken between them; top with lettuce, salsa, and cheese and serve immediately; eat ’em up!

Servings: 4

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CHICKEN-CREAM CHEESE-BLACK BEAN PASTA SHELL TACOS

Spring break and Junior is happily home and hungry. Though the refrigerator and pantry is stocked with the ingredients to make one of several planned meals, I opted for a cross between Mexican and Italian fare. Chicken-Cream Cheese-Black Bean Pasta Shell Tacos resulted and was quickly devoured. Need I say “all thumbs up”?

Chicken-Cream Cheese-Black Bean Pasta Shell Tacos

2-1/2 cups salsa, divided

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cups shredded and chopped deli-roasted chicken (or 2 cans chicken breasts, drained)

1-15 oz can black beans, drained

1-4 oz can diced green chiles

1-8 oz package reduced fat cream cheese

1/2 cup scallions, sliced thin (divided)

2 tbsp taco seasoning

20 jumbo pasta shells, cooked al dente according to package directions

1-1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) Spread 1-1/2 cups salsa (reserving 1 cup) in bottom of 11×9″ casserole dish; set aside

3) In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat; add chicken, black beans, green chiles, and cream cheese; stirring often, cook 8 minutes; stir in scallions (reserving 1 tbsp for topping) and taco seasoning and cook 2 minutes; remove from heat

4) Spoon chicken-cream cheese mixture into cooked pasta shells, about 2 tbsp each; place filled shells atop salsa in baking dish and pour 1 cup reserved salsa over the top; bake 25 minutes; scatter cheese and reserved 1 tbsp scallions over shells and cook additional 5 minutes; remove from oven, scatter avocados and tomatoes over top, and serve

Servings: 4-5