Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

We were out with our friends Fernanda and Jorge this past Saturday night.  They moved their family from Mexico to Milwaukee for Jorge’s job a few years ago, and we’ve gotten to know them recently.  I love their accents.  I also love to pick Fernanda’s brain about food from her Motherland, so of course I had to ask her about her menu plans for Cinco de Mayo.  And naturally – because I tend to get really excited about these things – I was expecting a full and colorful description of authentic dishes, recipes and family traditions — and instead she looked at me like I was loco.

“Oh Leah, Cinco de Mayo is not a serious holiday in Mexico (“May-he-co”),” she said.  “It was only a small battle where we crushed the French.  Our real Independence Day is September 16th.  Then we celebrate!”

Pffft, seriously?  While I am slightly embarrassed that I am not up on my history of Mexico, I have to celebrate anyway.  I simply cannot wait until September to satisfy the craving that the current sale has planted in my brain.    On the upside, Fernanda did promise to make authentic posole when September rolls around, and I’m looking forward to that day.

For now, here’s a little recipe I found recently and just had to try.  I used corn tortillas, which I happen to like, but they crack easily when they’re rolled.  If you find these cracks unsightly, go ahead and use small flour tortillas instead.  My kiddos seem to like the flour ones better anyway — either way, both corn AND flour tortillas are on sale through tomorrow night.   We’re going to have these taquitos with a simple salad and a batch of refried beans.

As for Wellness Month, this recipe isn’t ‘diet’ per se, but it’s far lighter than traditional, deep fried taquitos.  Spraying them lightly with oil helps crisp them slightly without the calories (and mess) of deep frying.  I also used light cream cheese and light shredded Mexican cheese to cut down on fat.  Keep in mind that rotisserie chickens will be on sale tomorrow (Tuesday) and would be perfect here.


Makes:  12

1/3 cup cream cheese (Shur Fresh is on sale)
1/4 cup green salsa
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 Tablespoons sliced green onions
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (Rotisserie Chickens will be on sale on Tuesday)
1 cup shredded Mexican Blend Cheese (Sargento Shredded Cheeses are on sale)
About 12 small corn or flour tortillas (Mission Brand Tortillas are on sale)
Kosher salt
Cooking spray
Pico de Gallo & Guacamole as accompaniments (Sendik’s Brand Pico’ and Guac’ are on sale in the produce department)
Sour cream (Daisy Sour Cream is on sale)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

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 powder and garlic powder and mix well. Add cilantro, green onions, chicken and shredded cheese and combine well.

You can prepare up to this step ahead of time. Just keep the mixture in the fridge.

The corn tortillas are harder to roll without cracking. For the corn tortillas: work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. It helps to place them between damp paper towels. Usually 20-30 seconds will do it. If you find yours are cracking when you roll them or come unrolled right away, just try heating them longer and try the paper towel thing.

Place 3 tablespoons of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges, and roll it up as tightly as you can.

Place seam side down on the baking sheet.  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 kosher salt on top.

Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown. Makes around 12 taquitos.  Transfer to a platter and serve with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream as desired.

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | May 3rd, 2011