Monday, March 19, 2012

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos with Creamy Cilantro-Lime Ranch Dipping Sauce

My daughter tried these and said she loved them, so we made them for our big family party this past weekend. Oh my goodness-they are delicious!!  They are a low-fat version - because they are not fried, but when you bake them, they still come out crispy.  The dipping sauce is over-the-top yummy!  I highly recommend you make the sauce with these.  All the adults agreed that this was a keeper.  (the kids saw the green stuff (onions) inside the taquitos and wondered!)  I have been dreaming about them ever since we had them - oooh they are good!

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos with Creamy Cilantro-Lime Ranch Dipping Sauce
From Our Best Bites Cookbook

1/3 C (3 oz) cream cheese
1/4 C green salsa
1T fresh lime juice
1/2 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t granulated garlic
3 T chopped cilantro
2 T sliced green onions

2 C shredded cooked chicken (We used chicken breasts that we grilled)
1 C grated pepperjack cheese (I didn't want it too spicy for the kids - so I just used monterey jack cheese)

small corn or flour tortillas (we used flour ones - fajita size)
kosher salt
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425. 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 granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.

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

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 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges.

Then roll it up as tight 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. 

Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing
Recipe by

1 pack (1oz) Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix (regular or buttermilk, and ignore directions on the packet)
1C mayo
1/2 C milk (or buttermilk depending on which packet you buy)
1 lime
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 C roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 C green salsa
hot sauce

 Place milk, mayo, and ranch mix in a blender.   Juice the lime in there too, you should get about 2T juice.  Toss in the garlic, cilantro and green salsa.  Blend 'er up.  Sample it and add hot sauce to taste.  Make it several hours ahead of time to allow it to thicken. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Crispy Coconut Chicken Fingers

I found this recipe in "Our Best Bites" cookbook and thought it looked good.  I haven't cooked with curry very much, so I wasn't sure how it would taste.  My husband and I both loved this recipe!  It is kind of like chicken fingers for adults! (I'm sure kids will like them too!) What great flavor - the coconut and curry with the yummy dipping sauce - it was a hit!

Crispy Coconut Chicken Fingers
from Our Best Bites

1 c sweetened coconut flakes
1 c panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp table salt
3/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, optional (it doesn't add a lot of heat, but kids may be sensitive to it)
1/2 c flour
2 eggs
12 chicken tenders (you may use more or less depending on their size)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Spray a foil-lined baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray

Chop coconut so it's roughly the same size as the bread crumbs (I used my food processor)

Combine the coconut, bread crumbs, and spiced in a shallow dish.  Stir well to make sure everything is evenly distributed.

Place the flour in a shallow dish and the eggs in another shallow dish.  Whisk the eggs.

Working with one chicken tender at a time, dredge the chicken in flour, shaking off any excess.  Then dip in the egg, again shaking off any excess.  Roll in the bread crumb/coconut mixture, gently pressing the mixture onto the chicken.  Place on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining chicken tenders.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until juices run clear, being careful not to overcook them.  If the tenders are smaller, the time might be closer to 15 minutes, whereas if you have larger tenders, it could take closer to 25 minutes, so keep a close eye on them.  Either way, the coconut and bread crumbs will be lightly golden brown and crispy.

Dipping Sauce

1 c apricot-pineapple preserves
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp curry powder

Whisk together for a great dipping sauce.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Easy Baked Chicken Parmesan

I got this recipe from my friend Melinda.  It is so easy and fabulous tasting!  It has great flavor and the croutons make a yummy topping.  I love how easy it is to make.  It would be a good recipe to make when you are entertaining because it can all be put together and in the oven with no last minute things to do.  Thanks Melinda - once again you gave me a winner!

Easy Baked Chicken Parmesan
from Chef John

2 TBSP olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
hot red pepper flakes, to taste
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or however many you need)
2 c bottled Marinara Sauce
1/4 c chopped fresh basil (or if using dried, about 1 TBSP)
8 oz shredded mozzarella
4 oz grated Parmesan
1 (5oz) package garlic croutons

Pour olive oil into bottom of a 9X13 pan.  Add garlic and swirl it around to coat bottom of pan.  Sprinkle on red pepper flakes (to taste).  Lay the chicken breasts in the pan.  Cover with the sauce.  Sprinkle on the basil.   Top with half the mozzarella and half the Parmesan.  Spread the croutons over the top, then add the rest of the mozzarella and Parmesan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.
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