Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Creamy Chicken Taquitos

This is one of those meals you can make with leftovers and random things in your fridge, which in itself is awesome.  The fact that the end result is crunchy, creamy, and hard to stop eating, is even better.  I cut the ingredients in half, because I was eating alone, and still had around 6 taquitos leftover.  All in all - get ready to chow down!
I had some leftover cooked chicken that I shredded and used, and it worked great.  Directions on how I cooked the chicken are below in case your minus some leftovers.  I decided I should always have shredded chicken around, I used it for a couple different things in the following days; pizza, salad, pasta.  Lesson learned.
The original recipe calls for scallions, I didn't have any, so I "substituted."  Although not really similar, I thought that shallots couldn't hurt.  Plus as I said before, they were in my fridge, so I made do!  Shallots are just a really strong garlic, in my humble opinion, and we all know how much I love garlic.  :)
Speaking of garlic!  Thought I would show everyone a quick trick on fast and easy fresh minced garlic.  With the blade of a large knife laid down, like above, smash a clove under the knife by hitting the knife with the palm of your hand (more towards the wrist.)
I usually hit it a couple times with my hand, and then it's way easier to chop up.  Fresh minced garlic is so much better than the pre-made, and this is an quick way to do it.  Another great thing is your hands don't smell as garlic-y for the next two days :)
My Mom recently took a canning class, and made this tomato salsa for me.  You can use any kind of salsa you like.
Now that you have everything cut up and ready to go, combine cream cheese with salsa, lime juice, cumin, Chile powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic, cilantro, shallots and salt together in a large bowl.
Fold in the chicken and cheeses.  Taste and season with any additional spices.
Working three tortillas at a time, stack them on a microwave safe plate and cover with plastic wrap.  Cook for around 30 seconds, until tortillas are soft.  Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of filling onto the lower third of each tortilla, and roll tightly.
Place seam side-down on a baking sheet that's been sprayed with non-stick.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tortillas are crisp and golden brown.  Like I said earlier, I was cooking only for myself, so I only cooked three.  The others I put on a cookie sheet and placed them in the freezer.  After they were frozen, I put them in a zip lock baggie.  Cook them the same as I did the non-frozen, just for a little longer.  
Serve with salsa, sour cream and/or guacamole.  I put a little bit of lime juice on top too.  I was a little nervous about cooking these in the oven, as usually taquitos are deep fried, but this is a great healthy alternative.  They were very crunchy and the stuffing inside was spicy and flavorful.  A spoon full of guac on top would be my only addition.

Creamy Chicken Taquitos
3oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup salsa
juice of 1/2 of a lime
1 teaspoon Chile powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 chip chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped scallions *I used shallots
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken**directions below
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese *I used low fat Colby jack
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
8-12 corn tortillas
salt and pepper
cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese with the salsa, lime juice, cumin, Chile powder, cayenne, onion powder, garlic, cilantro, scallions, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. 
Fold in the chicken and cheeses, add any additional spices to taste.
Three tortillas at a time, stack them on a microwave safe plate and cover with plastic wrap. 
Cook for 30 seconds in the microwave until soft.
Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of filling into the lower third of each tortilla, and roll tightly.
Place seam side down on the baking sheet.
Sprinkle taquitos with salt.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
Serve with salsa, sour cream and/or guacamole.

** Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Spread a pieces of foil across a baking sheet, and arrange chicken breasts in a single layer in the center.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and season as you wish.  Fold the foil over the chicken, and enclose them in a "pocket."  Bake for around 35 minutes, or until cooked through.  Cool, then shred.

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