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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MAMMOTH CHICKEN QUESADILLAS

There’s no ladylike way to eat these quesadillas. They’re just too thick and chock full of good stuff. But they’re worth the mess. All gone! All thumbs up–duh 🙂

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2 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1-14.5 oz black beans, rinsed and drained

1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Sea salt

Ground black pepper

1 lb ground chicken

1/4 cup mild jalapeños (I used Mezzetta brand “Tamed”)

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

12 small (6″) flour tortillas

spray olive oil

2 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

1/4 cup sour cream

1) Preheat broiler

2) To a large skillet, add 1 tbsp olive oil (reserving 1 tbsp) and heat over medium-high; add onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes; add black beans and cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper; cook 3 minutes longer; transfer to a plate

3) To same skillet, add 1 tbsp reserved olive oil and heat over medium-high; add ground chicken, jalapeños, paprika, and cayenne and cook, stirring often, 5-7 minutes until cooked through; remove from heat

4) Place tortillas in a single layer on 2 baking sheets and spray with spray olive oil; broil 1-2 minutes until golden and just crispy and remove from oven; reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees

5) Assemble each of 4 quesadillas as follows, dividing ingredients equally between them : flour tortilla, chicken mixture, flour tortilla, vegetable-black bean mixture, cheese, flour tortilla; place quesadillas on baking sheet, return to oven, and cook 5-8 minutes until warmed through and cheese melts; remove from oven and cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges; serve with dollops of sour cream

Servings: 4 dinner-sized portions; 8 appetizer-sized portions

CHICKEN-ROASTED RED PEPPER ENCHILADAS

Obviously enchiladas are a family favorite since I make them a couple times a month. They’re all good–really can’t go wrong with enchiladas–but the roasted red pepper makes these stand out beautifully. Easy to make and too good not to eat down to the last serving.

Chicken-Roasted Red Pepper Enchiladas

3 cups chopped deli-roasted chicken

1-1/2 cups chopped roasted red pepper (I used jarred)

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1/2 cup (4 oz) reduced fat cream cheese, softened

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

9 small corn tortillas

1 tbsp olive oil

1-1/2 cups chopped onion, divided

1 cup chicken broth

3/4 cup salsa verde

3 tbsp chopped jalapeno pepper, divided (yes, the picture shows minced but that’s because I let Junior Too have at it)

3/4 cup grated triple cheese (white, sharp, and mild cheddar mix)

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees; lightly oil a 13×9″ baking dish

2) To medium-sized mixing bowl, add: chicken, roasted red pepper, corn, cream cheese, cumin, salt, and pepper; mix well and set aside

3) Heat large skillet over medium-high heat; cook tortillas 30 seconds each side (2 at a time if your skillet is large enough); cut into quarters and set aside

4) To same skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil and onions; cook 7 minutes, stirring often, until softened and transfer half the onions to the chicken mixture and mix well

5) Return skillet with remaining onions to stove top and heat over medium; add chicken broth, salsa verde, and half the jalapenos; cook 10 minutes, stirring salsa mixture occasionally; remove from heat

6) Spread 1/2 cup salsa mixture over bottom of baking dish; layer half the tortilla quarters over salsa, followed by half the chicken mixture, the remaining tortilla quarters, and the remaining chicken mixture; bake in oven 15 minutes; scatter cheese and remaining jalapeños over top and cook additional 3 minutes until cheese melts; serve it up!

Servings: 6

SCRAMBLED EGG FAJITAS

Love, love these Scrambled Egg Fajitas. Though I made them for dinner, I’ll definitely be serving them for breakfast in the future. Not only are they easy and fairly quick to assemble, but talk about yum (and clean plates)!

Egg Fajitas

Olive oil spray

8 corn tortillas

1 tbsp olive oil

5 green onions, chopped

2 tbsp diced jalapenos

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

8 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced thin

1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees

2) Lightly spray both sides of each corn tortilla with spray olive oil; cook tortillas in large skillet over medium-high heat, about 30 seconds each side; stack on oven-safe plate, cover with aluminum foil, and place in oven to keep warm

3) To same skillet, add 1 tbsp olive oil and heat over medium-high; add green onions, jalapenos, sea salt and, stirring often, cook 3 minutes; reduce heat to medium and stir in cilantro

4) Pour beaten egg into skillet and cook, stirring often, until eggs are nearly set; stir in tomatoes and cook until eggs are set, about 1 minute; remove from heat and serve with warm corn tortillas and sliced avocado; enjoy!

Servings: 4

CHICKEN-REFRIED BEAN ENCHILADAS

I love making a big pan of enchiladas since my guys never leave the table less than satisfied and, as an added bonus, I usually have leftovers for lunch the next day (maybe even the day after that). And these enchiladas, filled with chicken and refried beans and all manner of other good things, is definitely worth revisiting time and again. Thumbs up!

Chicken-Bean Enchiladas

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

1-10.5 oz can cream of chicken soup

1 cup reduced-fat sour cream

4 cups chopped chicken (I used deli-roasted)

8 large flour tortillas

1-16 oz can reduced-fat refried beans

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 cups enchilada sauce

2 scallions, sliced thin

1/4 cup sliced black olives

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees; lightly oil 13×9″ baking dish

2 To large skillet add olive oil and heat over medium-high; add onions and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes until onions soften

3) Reduce heat to medium and stir in cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and chicken; cook 5 minutes, remove from heat, and set aside

4) Lay out flour tortillas and divide refried beans between them (about 2 tbsp each), spreading close to edges; divide onion-sour cream-chicken mixture between tortillas, spooning down center; scatter 1 tbsp cheese over top (reserving balance of cheese for later); roll up tortillas and place seam-side down in baking dish

5) Pour enchilada sauce over enchiladas and bake in oven 30 minutes; scatter reserved cheese, scallions, and black olives over enchiladas and cook an additional 5 minutes; remove from oven and serve it up!

Servings: 6-8

CUBAN PORK QUESADILLAS

There’s something about cuban sandwiches that makes one’s tastebuds sit up and take notice, but place those ingredients between flour tortillas, crisp them up and–oh, yes–even yummier.

Cuban Pork Quesadillas

3 tbsp olive oil, divided

1/2 large red onion, sliced thin

3/4 lb pork tenderloin, sliced thin into bite-sized pieces

sea salt

ground black pepper

4 large flour tortillas

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

6 oz baked ham (about 1/8″ thick)

4 dill pickles, sliced thin

8 oz grated provolone cheese

1) To large skillet, add 1 tbsp olive oil (reserving 2 tbsp) and heat over medium-high; add onions and cook 3 minutes, stirring often; add pork tenderloin pieces, lightly season with salt and pepper, and cook 5 minutes, stirring often, until pork is just cooked through; remove from heat

2) Lay out 4 flour tortillas and assemble quesadillas as follows: spread mustard on half of each tortilla, top mustard with ham, pork and onion mixture, pickles, and cheese; fold tortillas over

3) To each of 2 large skillets (or 1, though you’ll have to cook in batches), add reserved 2 tbsp olive oil and heat to medium; carefully place quesadillas in skillets and cook 3-4 minutes each side until golden brown and crispy; remove from skillets, cut each quesadilla into 4 pieces, and serve

Servings: 4

BLACK BEAN POBLANO RELLENOS

It’s been ages since I’ve made these Black Bean Poblano Rellenos, and what a mistake it was to wait so long to revisit them. Granted, a couple of my guys (I won’t name names) just like the black bean-chorizo-egg stuffing and the corn-onion-cheese polenta, but I like the whole enchilada–er, Relleno. Though it might not look filling, it is, so much that, regardless of which flavor of Ben & Jerry’s lurks in the freezer, I am not doing dessert 🙂

Black Bean Poblano Rellenos

4 large whole poblano peppers (dark green)

1 tbsp butter

1/4 cup chopped onions

1/4 cup frozen corn

1-1/2 cups milk

1/4 cup quick-cooking polenta

1/4 tsp sea salt

pinch ground black pepper

2 tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese (or grated)

8 oz chorizo sausage (I used Ole Mexican Foods brand)

1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

8 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup grated Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 cup salsa (store-bought)

1) Preheat broiler; place poblano peppers on broiler-safe pan and broil 3-4 minutes each side until skin browns and blisters (keep an eye on them!); remove peppers from oven and place on plate to cool (leave broiler on)

2) In medium-sized saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; add onions and corn and, stirring occasionally, cook 3 minutes; add milk and, stirring often, bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, add polenta, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese and, stirring often, cook 3-4 minutes until mixture thickens; reduce heat to lowest setting to keep warm

3) When poblanos are cool enough to be handled, peel away the tough, blistered skin, cut a slit in peppers, and scrape out seeds; place on broiler-safe pan

4) To large skillet over medium-high heat, add chorizo sausage and cook, stirring often, 4-5 minutes until cooked through and crumbly; add black beans and cook, stirring often, 2 minutes; pour beaten eggs in skillet and stir until lightly scrambled; remove from heat

5) Stuff peppers with chorizo-black bean-egg mixture and sprinkle Colby-Monterey Jack cheese over tops; broil 3-4 minutes until cheese melts (keep an eye on them!); remove from oven

6) Divide polenta mixture between 4 plates; place a stuffed poblano pepper atop each serving of polenta and spoon salsa alongside; serve it up!

Servings: 4