Category: chicken

“Flautas? You don’t even KNOW us!”

Haha. CORNY. At least I know when I’m being corny, and I admit it.

I love all things Mexican; Dia de los Muertos, sugar skulls, calaveras, catrinas, Frida Kahlo, pinatas, etc, etc. But I  am a Mexican food fanatic. I make a lot of it at home, but just basic Tex-Mex or Americanized-Mexican stuff: quesadillas, burritos, tacos, tortilla soup, tres leches cake, etc. So this post is about my adventures in making flautas. Flautas are basically the same as taquitos, except apparently taquitos are longer, and flautas are typically made with flour tortillas and taquitos are made with corn tortillas. Or something.

Taquito (from the Spanish diminutive of taco[1]), is a Mexican dish consisting of a small rolled-up tortilla and some type of filling, usually beef or chicken. The filled tortilla is crisp-fried. Corn (maize) tortillas are generally used to make taquitos. Flautas are similar to taquitos but generally made with flour tortillas.

There are many varieties of taquitos in different regions. Taquitos most often contain beef, chicken, and sometimes include cheese, pork, potato, or vegetables. They are generally thin and tend to be about 6 inches (15 cm) long. Potatoes are usually involved in the breakfast form of taquitos, which are thick and come with eggs. Taquitos are usually served with a type of salsa and/or guacamole.

In the United States, taquitos are very popular as a frozen food.[2][3] They are also sold by 7-Eleven[4] and QuikTrip[5] convenience stores in a variety of flavors, as well as established restaurants such as Chico’s Tacos.[6] Taco Bell began to sell steak and chicken taquitos in 2006. Taco Bell’s versions are wrapped in a flour tortilla and grilled, rather than fried.[7]

Crispy fried taquitos sold in Mexico are often called tacos dorados (“golden tacos”) or flautas (“flutes“). Typical toppings and sides include cabbage, crema (Mexican sour cream), guacamole, green chili or red chili salsa and crumbled Mexican cheese such as queso fresco.[8]

I got the recipe from the newest Food Network magazine, which just came in the mail last week. It sounded simple and delicious and what with the chicken, avocado, sour cream, cilantro and salsa (not to mention the frying!) I was a goner. Best part of it is you can use up leftover chicken, or just make some. You can add things to it (cheese, black beans, rice, jalapenos, etc) or take things away (I know not everyone loves avocado- you crazy people!). Or, you can make different sides for it like yellow rice or refried beans and rice.

I kept it simple: just chicken & salsa inside, with the avocado-lime-sour cream and salsa on the side, with some slices of avocado. I used corn tortillas, but the smaller ones, so instead of folding & rolling them up like mini-burritos, I just rolled ‘em up like cigars. They look like the crispy taquitos at The Cheesecake Factory, actually, now that I think about it. They would be fantastic over a bed of rice with black beans on the side, and they’d also be awesome for a summertime meal with just this avocado-cream (or even fresh guacamole), salsa, & fresh cilantro. Mmm. Fuhgeddaboudit.

The avocado-sour cream was AMAZING. Just make sure you buy avocados that are already ripe (needless to say). The flautas were really easy, but just a few tips: make sure your corn tortillas are really, really soft. Otherwise they’ll crack and break and you won’t be able to roll them. Follow the instructions on the package for heating them in the microwave, and let them go a few seconds longer. They should be pretty floppy and malleable. Also, angle the toothpicks. Don’t just stick ‘em in… they won’t sit evenly in the pan and they’ll fry unevenly. And wait for them to cool before attempting to remove the toothpicks. Sounds like common sense, but sometimes hunger overrides that! Making sure the tortillas are soft enough is very important. But if you mess up and few of them tear, don’t worry. Save them on the side and fry the torn up pieces later to make homemade tortilla chips.

I had a hard time getting the first few to stay rolled up, my tortillas weren’t soft enough and I just kinda stick the toothpicks in haphazardly. I learned after that though. Make sure your oil is hot enough too!  Otherwise they won’t brown & get crispy, they’ll just be soggy.

CHICKEN FLAUTAS

Ingredients:

  • 1 Hass avocado
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 limes (1 halved, 1 cut into wedges)
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 ½ cups fresh salsa
  • 16 corn tortillas
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. Scoop the avocado into a blender. Add the sour cream and the juice of ½ a lime, pulse until smooth. Season with salt.
  2. Squeeze the remaining ½ lime over the radishes in a small bowl and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt. Toss the chicken with ¾ cup salsa in a medium bowl.
  3. Wrap the tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave until soft, about 45 seconds (or a little longer, as needed). Spoon the chicken mixture down the middle of the tortillas. Fold in the ends and roll up like a burrito, secure with toothpicks.
  4. Heat ¾ inch vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until a deep fry thermometer registers 375° F. Fry the flautas, turning as needed, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with tongs; drain on paper towels and remove the toothpicks. Serve with the avocado cream, radishes, cilantro, lime wedges and remaining salsa.

I’ve been getting tons of inspiration from food magazines lately. No idea why. I’ve gone so long, or well, since October, without making much that I saw in any of my magazines. Now it seems every page is drawing me in. Maybe it’s the spring? Spring recipe fever? This is a great spring & summer meal. Use all those fresh herbs & veggies!

Needless to say I didn’t do the radishes thing, I’m not a big radish fan. However, I did put fresh cilantro in the flautas themselves as opposed to on top. If you’re going for a prettier presentation, lay them next to one another on a plate, spoon the salsa and avocado-cream on top, then the radishes and then top with the fresh cilantro. I basically just wanted to shove them in my mouth like a fatty, so presentation wasn’t a priority. Besides, like I said, food stylist I am not. My salsa was just jar salsa, which is lame I admit, but next time I’ll use fresh salsa or pico de gallo. Actually, I was really disappointed because I used Pace Thick & Chunky salsa… and it wasn’t so thick & chunky! BOO PACE! I had a Stop & Shop brand Southwestern salsa with corn & black beans in it that was bangin’… should’ve used that one. Pfft.

Side note, how much do you love that vintage poster!? I’m kinda obsessed with vintage travel posters & postcards, I’d love to have that full size!

“Nah, I don’t eat buffalo.”

I know, all my posts lately have been either cupcakes or macaroni & cheese. That says a lot about me, right? I like fatty, cheesy, carb-loaded foods. But in all honesty, macaroni & cheese is probably the most basic, easiest and common comfort food. I can make it blindfolded (same with cupcakes), which is a good thing since I’ve been busy with other things. Yes, my dear readers, I’ve been lazy and distracted lately… mainly with my hair. No seriously. I have a new haircolor/cut and it’s massively cute. Those of you who follow me on Twitter have probably seen it already but for the rest of you:

Do you like it? How about my apron? And my Jem button and mini whisk? Don’t hate…

I was on a mission to find a cut that suited my not-quite-fully-grown-out hair. It just so happens that I decided to go a lighter blonde, and get rid of my highlights, so when I saw the color I just knew I had to cut bangs, get the back stacked & get myself a Velma Kelly-esque ‘do. It’s very flapperish/1920’s. I’ve had this style before, just in black. I keep going back to it, but this time in an amazing platinum/so-white-it’s-almost-lavender blonde. I guess it’s the whole 20’s thing that does it. It’s my favorite era. Just imagine me wearing rolled down stockings doing the Charleston with a flask tucked in my dress. Or something.

Anyway, sorry, went off on a tangent there.. like I was saying… macaroni & cheese. It’s comfort food. And who couldn’t use lots of comfort food? It also just so happens the newest issue of the Food Network magazine agrees with me; they have 5 or 6 amazing recipes for macaroni & cheese with a twist, one of which I made just a few weeks ago. I’ve been macaroni & cheese obsessed lately.

Anyone who knows me knows I love hot/spicy food and blue cheese. I could eat buffalo wings with blue cheese all day, everyday. I put hot sauce on everything. And blue cheese? I dip chicken fingers in blue cheese, french fries, I love it on burgers, etc. One of my favorite sandwiches at a restaurant me & Jay frequent is the Bourbon Street grill: grilled (almost blackened) spicy Cajun chicken on toasted garlic bread with blue cheese. God. I just love it. Once we ordered this Cajun shrimp as an appetizer at another of our favorite spots and Jay took one bite and was disgusted, he had to gulp down almost an entire pint of beer just to cool his mouth off. I loved it… it was so hot! Jay laughs at me because he says he actually likes to taste his food, whereas I seem to just douse everything in hot sauce. *makes sad face* It’s not true. I like to taste food too! I just love hot stuff… and how the blue cheese cools it down. Some people are just built to tolerate it better, though, I guess. Some sauces that others deem too hot is just fine with me. Plus, hot sauce is good for you. it speeds up your metabolism, helps heal ulcers contrary to popular belief and also helps clear your sinuses and drain phlegm and mucous from your nose, etc. Don’t believe me? Read this.

So in other words, this recipe was like a gift from the foodie gods to little ol’ me. BUFFALO CHICKEN MACARONI & CHEESE… WITH BLUE CHEESE. Yeah, my heart stopped too. I also had hears where my eyes should have been. So as it turns out, last week I  roasted a chicken for Sunday dinner. I had a lot of chicken leftover, and that’s where this recipe comes in. The next day, I used the leftover chicken for the chicken in this recipe, instead of buying a rotisserie chicken just for this. Do as you like in that department, though. I guess you could even cook some chicken breasts up and shred it as well.

See the chunks of buffalo chicken? Unf.

I changed the recipe a bit to suit me once again, so I’m giving my version of it here. If you want the real version (which includes dry mustard powder, onion, celery and other things I cleverly omitted) then buy the Food Network magazine, bitches! But whatever you do, if you’re a fan of buffalo chicken or blue cheese, you HAVE to try it. It was, in the words of Brianne: amazeballs. And I want to thank the second (the first, most assuredly, is Sarah Palin) most famous American idiot (no Green Day pun intended), Jessica Simpson, for the quote that titles this post. Remember when she thought buffalo wings were made of buffalo? *sigh*

BUFFALO CHICKEN MACARONI & CHEESE

Ingredients:

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the dish
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cooked rotisserie chicken (like I said, I used leftover chicken from when I roasted a whole one… )
  • 1  pound pasta (I used shells, but anything will work)
  • 1 bottle Frank’s RedHot hot sauce (original)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ cups half-n-half
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 pound cheddar cheese (sharp or mild, whatever you like), shredded
  • 1 cup panko
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9 x 13″ baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil; add the pasta and cook according to package directions for ‘al dente.’ Drain. DO NOT RINSE.
  2. Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and garlic, cook 2 minutes. Then add ½ cup of hot sauce and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened.
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and stir with wooden spoon until smooth. Add the half-n-half then add ¼ cup hot sauce and sour cream. Stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar until smooth.
  4. Melt two tablespoons butter and mix it with the panko, parsley and blue cheese. Set aside.
  5. Put the pasta in the dish. Pour the cheese mixture over the macaroni and mix well. Top with the chicken, then the panko/blue cheese mixture. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until panko is slightly browned and cheese is bubbly.

I will 1,000,000% make this again. It was unbelievable and totally delicious. I would add more blue cheese next time, I didn’t feel there was quite enough for my liking, and I’d add some blue cheese dressing to the hot sauce/cheese mixture as well as having the crumbled blue cheese & panko on top. But that’s just personal preference. It was quite hot, with ¾ of a cup hot sauce in it total. If you want to tone it down, I’d suggest just using the hot sauce on the chicken, not in the cheese mixture as well. And if you’re really unsure, do it ¼ cup at a time, and then taste. I happen to have quite the tolerance, so for me it was hot, but amazing. For others, it might be too much, especially older people or small kids. I’d also bake it a bit longer because my panko didn’t brown enough or get crunchy enough.

Stay tuned later on this week for part one of my much requested frosting tutorial!

“Leftover” fried rice.

I love Chinese food, and I’m one of those people who eats a lot of white rice with her main dish, so therefore I order a lot. But you always end up with a buttload of extra white rice that sits in the fridge, and no one eats it, and it gets thrown away. Not anymore!

Sara Moulton had this recipe on her show Sara’s Weeknight Meals last year and I made a mental note to make it. Tonight was one of those nights when it was hot, and I didn’t want to cook anything incredibly involved or complex, and so I made this. I used chicken because I didn’t have shrimp, but according to Sara, “any protein can be used.” I used peas, carrots,  corn, egg, chicken, minced garlic and since I didn’t have sesame oil, I threw some sesame seeds in with regular vegetable oil for the first step. You can throw in broccoli as well if you have it (which I wish I did), and use shrimp or any kind of “meat”, I guess- even strips of steak. I had some soy sauce left over from Chinese takeout as well so I used that, but if you have a bottle of it around then thats fine. Basically you could use anything in this, and it works.

This can be a side dish, without a protein in it, or a meal. Its great to use up any leftovers at the end of the month- leftover chicken, rice, veggies, etc.

FRIED RICE

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 cups frozen shelled and deveined shrimp, halved (or chicken, or whatever you wish)
  • One 10-ounce package frozen peas
  • 3 cups leftover cooked long-grain white rice or Simple Boiled Rice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Reduce the heat to medium. Combine the eggs with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and pour into the skillet. Cook, stirring, until scrambled, about 1 minute. Break into small pieces and transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add another tablespoon of oil, the onion, and garlic to the pan; cook, stirring 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and peas; cook until the shrimp are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bowl with the eggs.
  3. Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly crispy.
  4. Stir together the soy sauce, rice wine, ginger, and sesame oil; add to the rice in the skillet along with the shrimp, peas, and egg. Cook just until the egg is heated through and serve.

Its a really quick easy meal to serve up that makes use of all that stuff in your fridge/freezer and is delicious too.

French-toasted chicken sandwiches.

This recipe idea is possibly one of the best I ever saw but never would’ve thought of myself (and now I’m consequently kicking myself for not doing so). I got this recipe from the book Eat Cheap but Eat Well by Charles Mattocks, aka “The Poor Chef,” another author I met at the Lord & Taylor fundraiser last week. It combines the idea behind French toast, where you dip the bread in an egg mixture before you cook it, and the classic French sandwich croque monsieur, in which the bread is slathered with butter and then fried. Its another easy and affordable and most importantly quick meal that’s both fun and delicious. The entire book is filled with amazing meals so I highly suggest you check it out for yourself. Plus, Charles is a really nice guy! And he’s Bob Marley’s nephew, which is kinda cool.

Speaking of cool, this is like a cooler, more sophisticated grilled cheese, with chicken. Its really delicious, and you can add whatever you like to it; onions, peppers, etc… or remove options, like the tomato. Its great for kids, but also parties, etc. You could make a vegetarian version using just cheese and veggies, or even make a sweet version using Challah bread and chocolate! The possibilities are endless.

FRENCH-TOASTED CHICKEN SANDWICHES

Serves 4, or 2 very hungry people

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of freshly ground black (or white) pepper
  • 8 slices sandwich bread
  • 2 cups sliced cooked chicken (about 1/4 inch thick)
  • 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano, chopped
  • 3 ounces Gruyere, Swiss or mozzarella cheese (about 3/4 cup), preferably sliced but shredded could work too
  • Butter

Directions:

  1. In a shallow bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, Parmesan and salt and pepper. Lay out a baking sheet or piece of aluminum foil large enough to hold 4 pieces of bread. Dip one side of each of the 4 pieces of bread into the mixture so that the outside is coated but the bread isn’t soggy. Lay the bread egg-side down on the prepared surface.
  2. Top each slice with an equal amount of chicken. Cover the chicken with slices of tomato. Sprinkle the tomato with oregano and cover with the cheese.
  3. Dip one side of the remaining bread slices into the egg mixture, adding more milk if necessary, and place the slices egg-side up on top of each sandwich. Trim off any chicken, tomato or cheese that extend past the ends of the bread.
  4. Over medium heat, melt enough of the butter in a medium-size skillet to cover the bottom. Carefully add 1 or 2 sandwiches. When the bottom is golden brown and firm, carefully flip over to the other side, adding more butter as necessary. Repeat until all the sandwiches are done.
  5. Serve immediately, while warm.

Yum! Super good, super easy, and super filling. I look forward to making more recipes from this book, and of course sharing them with all of you!

In other news, Yoyo‘s Earth Day tote giveaway went off without a hitch today! The winners are TRACEY, ESTHER, BRIANNE and J.INGLE! Congratulations ladies! In case you were wondering, the totes are filled with tons of good stuff, including two recipes from me, printed out on fancy-schmancy designed-and-created-by-myself recipe cards (with special handwritten messages on the back).

To the rest of you, wanna see what you didn’t win?

Of course, that giant CUPCAKEREHAB watermark isn’t on them, they’re bigger, and much cooler. Bet you’re sorry now that you didn’t enter, huh. They’re both recipes you can find on here, but you won’t find them all pretty like that. Oh well, maybe next time when Yoyo has a contest- you’ll enter!