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

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

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