Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Lime Sauce


Hello there– We’ve been having record breaking heat here in southern California.  So it seems all we eat these days are salads and tacos!    Anything light and cool.

So when Jenna texted and said she wanted to come by and help with dinner, this was on the menu.  She is so much fun in the kitchen– and we had lots to talk about to catch up!

And– there’s lots of flavor in these little tacos– with the cilantro lime sauce and any toppings you have in the fridge. A perfect summer supper.

HONEY CHIPOTLE CHICKEN TACOS

Chicken:
1 1/2 ponds boneless skinless chicken breast
3 tab. olive oil
3 tab. honey
1 tab. Dijon mustard
1 tab. ketchup
1 tab. lime juice
1 tab. McCormick Chipotle & roasted garlic seasoning
1 tab. apple cider vinegar
1 tab. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt

Cilantro Lime sauce:
1 cup sour cream
2 tab. mayonaise
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine
1 tab. lime juice
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Extra Taco Ingredients:
street style small corn tortillas
shredded lettuce
chopped tomato
grated cheese
salsa
cilantro
red onion
avocado
anything you like on your tacos!

Cut the chicken to small bite size bits.  Set aside.

In a container with a lid, mix together the oil, honey, mustard, ketchup lime juice, cider vinegar, cumin and salt.  Drop the bit of chicken into the mixture and stir until the chicken is thoroughly coated.  Then refrigerate the chicken 2 to 8 hours.

To make the Cilantro Lime Sauce, stir together the sour cream, mayonnaise, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, garlic powder and salt.  Cover and set it into the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.

When the chicken is done marinating, heat tab. of olive oil in a skillet,  When the skillet is hot lift the chicken from the marinade (use a slotted spoon so that the extra marinade is left in the container) and grill the chicken 3 to 4 minutes, stirring now and then until it is browned on all sides.

Serve the chicken with lettuce, tomato, cheese, avocado, salsa (all your favorite taco ingredients…) and the cilantro lime sauce.

Pork Tacos with Pineapple Salsa


Hello all– There isn’t a week that goes by at our house that we don’t have tacos, at least once. Are there other taco lovers out there??  We’re pretty much happy with anything we can wrap into a fresh tortilla!

So when the kids came to stay a couple weeks ago pulled out this new taco recipe. The pork is sort of carmelized and the pineapple sweet and bright.   A perfect summer lunch-  light, fruity and fresh.

PORK TACOS WITH PINEAPPLE SALSA

Salsa:
1 cup cucumber, cut to small bits*
1 cup pineapple, cut to small bits
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped fine
juice of 1/2 lime
pinch of salt

Pork:
small street tortillas for serving
2 tab. olive oil
1/4 cup onion, chopped fine
1/2 jalapeño chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1  1/2 pound pork loin, chopped to smallish pieces
2 tsp soy sauce
4 tab. sugar
2 tab. water

To make the salsa, Mix together the cucumber, pineapple, cilantro, red onion, lime juice and salt.  Set the bowl into the fridge to meld together while you cook the pork.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Drop in the chopped onion and jalapeño.  Cook on high for 2 or 3 minutes until the onion is all wilted.  Add the garlic and cook a minutes more.

Then add the pork to the skillet and cook 3 or 4 minutes until the the pork is lightly browned.  Add the soy sauce and stir.  Then sprinkle on the sugar and water and mix it in.  Then let the pork continue to cook 2 or 3 minutes more until it is golden and the liquid has evaporated.

Warm the tortillas and serve with the pork and salsa!

Lime Cilantro Chicken Tacos

Hi there friends– Truth be told, we eat Mexican-ish food 2 or 3 times a week around here.  I’ve never met a food I didn’t like folded into a tortilla.  How about you?? I have a feeling we’re not the only ones.

So when I found this super easy way to come up with a potful of spicy chicken (thank you Pinterest)– that could top a tortilla any number of ways, I couldn’t wait to try it.  And it was delish!

LIME CILANTRO CHICKEN TACOS

Chicken:
2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup chicken broth
to finish it off: 2 limes, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Taco ingredients:
street size corn tortillas (or whatever is your favorite!)
chopped lettuce
chopped cilantro
grated cheddar jack
avocado

Drop everything into a pot and bring to lowest simmer on your stove top. Cook for an hour (maybe a little more depending on how big you cut up the chicken chunks).

With a slotted spoon remove the chicken to a plate and shred it with 2 forks.  Scrape it all back into the sauce in the bottom on the pot and let the chicken soak up all the juicy sauce.

Serve with warm tortillas, lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa, jalapeños, sour cream, salsa, avocado…  The list is pretty endless– just pick the taco ingredients you have on hand!

P.S –The recipe I worked from said to dump it all in crock pot and let it cook– 3 to 4 hours on high– or 6 to 7 hours on low.  Alas, I don’t own a crock pot, so you get my stove top version–or you can crock pot it yourself!

Baked Taco Stacks

Hello all–  Do you love tacos as much as we do around here??  I saw this recipe and it reminded me of the big taco stack that old Mrs. Neely would bring to the church suppers when I was small.  I remember waiting in line and hope hoping there would still be a slice for me left when I got to the table…

These are little individual stacks of that same memorable dish– hot from your oven.  Add a little sour cream, some avocado.  Delish!!

BAKED TACO STACKS
1 pound ground beef
1/2  yellow onion, chopped
2 tab. Taco Seasoning
1 cup corn kernels*
14 oz. cn petite diced tomatoes**
18 small “street taco size” corn tortillas
1  1/2 cup grated cheddar or colby jack
garnish:  sour cream, avocado, cilantro leaves, hot sauce.

Salt the bottom of the skillet (to prevent sticking) and then drop in the ground beef and chopped onion.  Cook chopping the beef to bits, until the beef and onion are nicely browned and cooked through.  Drain any fat rendered in the pan.

Stir in the taco seasoning, corn and tomatoes to the beef.

Spray a baking sheet with a rim with cooking spray.  Layer a tortilla, then the beef mixture, then a little cheese.  Repeat 2 times to make a 3 layer taco stack.  Do this whole stack process 6 times to make 6 little stacks.

Tent the tray with foil (try not to touch the tops of the stacks with foil) and pop it into a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Take off the foil and cook 5 minutes longer.

Garnish the stacks with a spoonful of sour cream, cilantro and avocado.   Serve hot sauce or salsa on the side.

Carnitas (again)

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Hi all– I don’t know about you, but at our house we could eat Mexican food about 4 nights a week! And these carnitas are a great start–because we can use them for tacos, burritos, enchiladas…  I’ve posted a carnitas recipe before, but I’m loving this new and improved version– crispy from the oven and lightly spiced.

I made them last week and sort of on the spur of the moment invited a bunch of friends for Friday night “Talk & Tacos!”  I thought, well, it’s the last minute and people are on vacation or busy or just want to stay in– But everyone came– 22 friends up and down a long table in the back yard!  It was big fun under the maple trees as the breeze picked up and the evening cooled down and we talked our way into the night….

CARNITAS
1/4 cup olive oil
4 to 5 pounds pork loin, cut into 3″ chunks
2 tab. salt
1 yellow onion, chopped to small bits
32 oz. carton chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tab. lime juice
1 tab. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
chopped red onion & chopped cilantro for serving

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Heat the olive oil in a soup pot.  Throw in the chunks of pork in two separate batches and stir them a bit to brown them on all sides, salting the meat as it cooks (about 8 -10 minutes per batch).  Then put all the pork into the pot together, stir in the chopped yellow onion and cook 2 minutes more.

Add in the chicken broth, garlic, lime juice, chili powder and cumin.  Bring the whole thing to a low simmer and cook for about 1 1/2 hours until the meat is tender and can be shredded.

Remove the pork from the pot, reserving the cooking juices.  Shred the pork with two forks and spread the shredded pork out over 2 baking sheets that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Drizzle a small amount of the cooking liquid over the meat and put it into a 400 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes until the cooked shreds are crispy but still tender– as it cooks drizzle on more cooking juices every 10 minutes or so.

Serve the carnitas with chopped onion and cilantro– and any other fixings your family likes.

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Breakfast Tacos

IMG_5983Buenas Dias!   It’s taco time–for breakfast.  If you think breakfast burritos are a little too heavy duty first thing in the morning, here’s a nice little alternative.  Start with tortillas and eggs and add whatever taco-ish ingredients you like for breakfast–and that you happen to have in the fridge.   These are quick (less than 15 minutes) and everyone can fill their tortilla to their own liking.  I love tacos.  I literally could eat them for breakfast lunch and dinner.  Hope you like them too.

BREAKFAST TACOS
8 small corn tortillas*
4 slices turkey ham**
4 eggs
salt & pepper
a few drips of hot sauce
cheddar
cilantro
avocado
tomato

Lightly toast the tortillas in the toaster oven for just a couple minutes.  While they are warming up, cut the turkey ham to small bits and brown it in a skillet sprayed with cooking spray (you can use butter or olive oil if you like the real thing).  Beat the eggs in a cup with salt & pepper and a few drops of hot sauce.  Then pour them over the ham and gently fold them in to cook up firm and golden.

Set the torillas on plates and spoon on the eggs, topped with cilantro, cheese, avocado and tomato***.  That’s it.  So breakfast yummy!

* I love the new tiny “street taco size” tortillas made by Guerrero (if you live in California).
**Any ham will do, of course, I just like my inexpensive, almost healthy turkey ham.
— or bacon, who wouldn’t love this with bacon?!
*** or whatever other Mexican food-ish things you love to eat.

Spicy Lentil Tacos

IMG_4487Hi all– If I had to eat one food every day for a month, I’m pretty sure I it would be tacos.  So many bright flavors scooped up into a tender little tortilla– Yep, I could eat them pretty much every day.  So here’s a new version to us– centered on savory lentils.  I’m thinking these spicy, savory things could go a lot of places–mixed with couscous or rice, into a salad for dinner, worked into a dip…  I think you may be seeing them again here.

SPICY LENTIL TACOS
1 tab. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup brown lentils
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 14 oz. can chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 to 1 chipotle pepper, seeded and minced*
Corn tortillas
condiments– lettuce, chopped tomato, grated cheddar (or cortijo), sour cream, avocado, salsa, cilantro…

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Pour the olive oil into a hot pan and add the onion.  Stir and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onion starts to brown.  Add in the garlic and cook another minute.  Then stir in the lentils and taco seasoning until it’s all blended.  Add the chicken broth, water and chipotle and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes until the lentils are tender.

Toast the the tortillas lightly and scoopy those hot lentils across the middle.  Then layer all your favorite fixings.  And eat!

* Add more of less chipotle to meet your own person hot & spicy comfort level.

Smoky Carnitas

IMG_3643Hi there–  Favorite food?  Mine is tacos in general.  Carnitas tacos, more specifically.  It’s like a puzzle.  Every taco can be different.  Corn salsa on this one.  Avocado on the next.  With lettuce or without.  Add beans, maybe cilantro rice.  Sour cream?  Each time trying for the masterpiece, the perfect  taco!

This recipe make piles of smoky carnitas meat.  We had the family over and have been eating leftovers all week on those small taqueria tortillas.  Delish!

SMOKY CARNITAS
4 pounds pork butt
1 cup water
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 yellow onion, cut into fourths
5 cloves garlic, minced
salt & freshly ground pepper
red onion & cilantro for garnish

IMG_3656Put a grate into a roasting pan.  Then pour the water and liquid smoke into bottom of the pan.  Cut the pork into 2″ cubes discarding the bone and extra fat.  Put it on the grate and top with the onion and garlic.

Stick into a 350 oven for 2 hours covered with a lid or foil. Cook it for 2 hours* and then check to see if it is tender enough to shred.  If not, put it back in the oven for another 30 minutes.

Shred the meet on a plate a few chunks at a time and transfer it to your serving bowl.  Salt and pepper liberally to taste.  Mash the well cooked onion to a pulp and add it to the meat.   Then pour the liquids at the bottom of the pan through a strainer and add about half the liquid to your carnitas.  Sprinkle a little red onion & cilantro on top just to make it pretty.  Stir it up and serve it hot — for tacos, burritos, enchiladas…

****For carnitas tacos serve your smoky pork up with fresh tender tortillas, chopped cilantro, lettuce, chopped tomato, corn salsa, mango-avocado salsa, sour cream, black beans or refried pintos, Mexican rice, guacamole, grated cheddar or queso fresco, hot sauce, jalapeños…  The list could go on.  Just pick your “faves” to create the perfect taco!

Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa

IMG_2355Hello there– If you’re the kind of person who loves fish tacos (and you can certainly put me in that group), then I think you’ll love this really easy shrimpy version with creamy, juicy mango salsa slathered on top.  These were seriously good!

SHRIMP TACOS

1 pound medium sized shrimp
2 tab. olive oil
3/4 tsp. salt & freshly group pepper
lettuce cut into shreds
lime wedges
small size corn tortillas*

IMG_2335Peel and devein the shrimp.  Toss them in a bowl with the olive oil and a liberal sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Then spread them separated on a cooking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Slide them into a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes.  They should come out salty, peppery crispy good.

Then  warm the tortillas just a minute in the toaster.  Fill them with lettuce, shrimp and a squeeze of lime juice.  Pile on the mango salsa and they are ready to eat.

IMG_2343MANGO SALSA
1 mango, peeled and cut into chunks
1 avocado, peeled and chunked as well
1/3 cup red onion, chopped to bits
1 chipotle, seeded and minced finely**
1 tab. lime juice
salt & pepper to taste

Carefully fold together the mango, avocado, onion, chipotle and lime juice.  Salt and pepper and taste to see if you need a bit more seasoning.  Delicious on tacos or just with a bowl full of chips!

* The year we lived in Costa Rica,  our little market sold small tender tortillas just wrapped in saran wrap and made by the ladies in the neighborhood–so fresh and tender.  So I’m excited that I found the mini taqueria size tortillas at Stater Brothers if you live in Socal.  Guerrero brand.
**If you don’t like too much spice, just use half a chipotle pepper and be sure to scrape out the seeds and membranes before you mince it up.

Chicken Chorizo Tacos

Hi there–Years ago Larry gave me a greeting card that said, “I love you more than tacos.”  It had a bright photo of a fully loaded taco on the front– I did feel loved– We are both big taco fans!  I tacked in on the side of the fridge until finally the colors began to fade.  So when I ran across yet another taco recipe, I had to give it a try.

CHICKEN CHORIZO TACOS
3 pieces of bacon
6 oz. fresh chorizo
1 large boneless chicken breast, cut in bits
1/3 red bell pepper cut in chunks
1/4 cup chopped red onion
cortijo cheese
cilantro, coarsely chopped
avocado, cut in chunks
fresh salsa
8 corn tortillas

Cut the bacon to small bits and cook until crispy in a deep pan.  Remove bacon from the pan and crumble in the chorizo.  Cook it until well browned, about 5 minutes.  Then drain any excess fat from the pan and stir in the chicken.  Continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through.  Lastly mix in the red pepper and onion and cook a couple more minutes until it’s softened and add the bacon back into the pan.  Meanwhile, wrap the tortillas in foil and set them in a hot oven for about 10 minutes.  Serve the meat mixture on the warm corn tortillas and top with the cheese, chunks of avocado, cilantro and salsa.

We made this last weekend and set it out with a big pot of Mexican rice and an a salad of  dark greens, oranges, and pistachios with a an orange vinaigrette dressing.  Spicy, salty sweet.