NACHOS SUPREME

Call them Nachos Supreme, or Loaded Nachos, or Nachos Bell Grande…no matter what you call them, they are fun and easy to make…not just on Cinco de Mayo.

Besides corn tortillas chips and nacho cheese, feel free to go crazy with your other ingredients. Let’s face it…you can get Nachos (chips and nacho cheese sauce) at almost any convenience store or the ball park. So at home…have at it!

Mine are loosely based on Taco Bell’s Nacho Bell Grande. I start with fresh made, lightly fried corn tortillas chips, taco meat mixed with refried beans, and home made nacho cheese sauce, diced tomatoes, green onions, and sour cream. Loretta is a bit sensitive to spicy stuff, so I have left off the sliced pickled jalapenos on the go around.

Instead of refried beans, sometimes I like to use black beans…or both. Besides the nacho cheese sauce, sometimes I layer on some more shredded cheddar then hit it with the broiler for a minute or so. Black olives are another addition that work well too.

Of course, you could buy some canned nacho cheese sauce or use Cheez-Whiz…but its so easy to make your won…and so much better! Usually, I make my own corn tortillas chips, but this time I found some really good chips made in-store at my local grocer. They’re really good.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium bag of corn tortilla chips
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 cup diced yellow onions
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 cup Pace chunky salsa
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 can of Rosarita refried beans
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chopped green onions
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Diced avocados (optional)
  • Pickled sliced jalapenos (optional)

For the nacho cheese sauce:

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 cup Velvetta, cubed
  • 1/2 cup Pace chunky salsa
  • Tabasco sauce to taste

Directions:

For the taco meat:

  • Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and add 1 tsp canola oil. When the oil is hot, crumble in the ground beef and diced onions and cook until the beef is no longer pink. Drain the beef with a wire strainer and return to the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.Mix together the garlic powder, onion powder, chile powder, paprika, cumin, and cayenne in a small bowl then add to the ground beef, Stir to combine. Add the salsa and water and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer another 10 minutes until the liquid has cooked off. Cover and keep warm.

For the nacho cheese sauce:

  • Heat a small saucepan over medium low heat and add the butter and flour. Cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in the cream and cook, whisking, until it is smooth and thicker. Add the cheese and continue to whisk. When the cheese sauce is smooth and combined, add the salsa, cumin, and black pepper, and whisk for another 2 minutes. Taste and add Tabasco to taste. Use immediately or place a piece of parchment paper on the surface of the sauce, turn off the heat and cover until ready to use. The parchment paper helps prevent the surface from forming a skin.

To assemble the nachos:

  • Place your desired amount of corn chips on a small sheet pan. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes until the chips are warm.
  • Mix the refried beans with ground beef. Place the pan over medium heat and heat through until bubbly.
  • Remove the chips from the oven. Place half the chips on a large platter.
  • Spoon on half the beef and bean mixture evenly over the top of the the chips. Ladle on about half the nacho cheese sauce. Add another layer of chips, beef and bean mixture, and nacho cheese sauce. Optional, sprinkle on some shredded cheddar and place under the broiler for a minute.
  • Garnish with diced tomatoes, green onions, jalapenos, diced avocados, and sour cream and serve immediately.

MEXICAN STREET TACOS

Having been raised in California, specifically Southern California…I’m used to seeing Mexican taco trucks in our area. And of course, one of the staples of these abundant little traveling restaurants is tacos. And these tacos don’t resemble Taco Bell tacos in the least!

First of all, the corn tortillas are miniature compare to Americanized tacos, only about 4 inches across versus the usual 8 inch variety most people are used to. They are warmed on a “plancha” or flat griddle, layered 2 per each taco, and topped with carne asada, beef barbacoa, stew chicken, tripe (stomach), or lingua (beef tongue) just to name a few. Then a healthy sprinkle of diced onions and diced chiles (usually serrano or jalapeno), maybe a little cilantro, fresh lime or lemon juice…and that’s it. No lettuce, no taco dressing, and no shredded cheese. Simple…a bit spicy for most Anglo tastes…and easy to eat in just a couple of bites. Usually comes 2 to an order on a paper plate. Current price: perhaps $3.00 for 2 tacos.

My version below has beef barbacoa (shredded beef), Pico de Gallo, a little Cotija cheese, and some cilantro. I embellish a little from the traditional street taco form factor. And since today is Taco Tuesday and I have an abundance of leftover Beef Barbacoa…time for a few Mexican Street Tacos.

BARBACOA CRUNCH WRAP SUPREME

So, what do you get when you combine the workings of a Taco Bell Crunch Wrap Supreme and Barbacoa Beef? You get a Barbacoa Crunch Wrap Supreme!

Barbacoa Beef is chuck r brisket slow cooked in a savory, a little spicy, chile, and stock, and lime juice liquid until fall apart tender. This one is made with chuck in my Instantpot. A Taco Bell Crumch Wrap is usually made with spicy ground beef. The Barbacoa elevates to a new flavor level.

Basically, it’s a flour tortilla wrapped around a bunch of good taco stuff along with a crunchy corn tortilla inside…all folded up and grilled until crunchy on the outside too.

After all is said and done…just hit the drive-thru! But, it was good.

Ingredients:

For the barbacoa beef:

  • 2 pounds beef chuck roast
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp chipotle peppers in adobo, minced
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups beef stock
  • 1 small can diced green chiles
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp ground oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice

For the crunch wrap:

  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • 4 small corn tortillas
  • 1 cup Spanish rice or cooked white rice
  • 2 cups cooked barbacoa beef (recipe above)
  • 1 1/2 cups Mexican blend cheese (half Monterey Jack, half Cheddar)
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 cup Pico de gallo
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha taco dressing or sour cream
  • Sour cream for garnish
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Canola oil for frying

Directions:

  • Trim excess fat from the chuck roast then cut into 2 inch chunks. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the Instantpot on saute and add 2 tbsp canola oil. When the oil is hot, add the beef chunks and brown thoroughly on all sides.
  • Add the chipotle, onions, garlic, beef stock, green chiles, cumin, oregano, ground cloves, and lime juice. Turn off Saute. Seal the lid and pressure cook for 50 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. Remove the beef from the cooker and shred then chopped it. Return to the pot to keep warm.
  • Heat about 1/2 inch of canola oil in a skillet and lightly fry the corn tortillas until crispy. Drain on papers towels and set aside.
  • Heat a large flat griddle over medium high heat. Place the flour tortillas on the griddle for about 15 seconds per side to warm and make pliable.
  • Place the flour tortilla on a work surface.
  • To assemble, place 2-3 tbsp of the cheese on the tortilla. Top the cheese with 1/4 cup of the beef, then the crispy corn tortillas, then 1/4 cup of rice, then the lettuce, then the Sriracha taco dressing or sour cream, then 1/4 cup Pico de gallo, then a sprinkling of chopped cilantro. Fold up the sides of the flour tortillas, then fold up the ends 3 times each, pressing it all down to hold together. Place seam side down on the hot griddle and cook until golden brown, then flip and repeat with the other side.
  • To serve, add sour cream, Pico de gallo, and cilantro.

MEXICAN CHOPPED SALAD

Also known as a Taco Salad, they are not only tasty they are fun to eat!

What you put on this thing is so up to your individual tastes. This one has spicy ground beef, Spanish rice, kidney beans, Mexican blend cheese, Cotija cheese, chopped tomatoes, green onions, Chili Cheese Fritos,a spicy Sriracha crema, and chopped romaine and iceberg. Of course, feel free to add chopped cilantro, avocado, and salsa if you want.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • Avocado oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Pace Chunky Salsa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Taco seasoning (I make my own but you can use the stuff in a packet)
  • 2 cups chopped romaine
  • 2 cups chopped iceberg
  • 1 cup cooked kidney beans (drained and rinsed if using canned)
  • 1 cup Mexican blend cheese (Monterey Jack and cheddar0
  • 1/4 cup Cotija cheese, grated

For the Sriracha crema:

  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chile powder
  • 1-2 tsp Sriracha
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Spanish rice:

  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 2 tsp avocado oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup Pace Chunky Salsa

Directions:

For the ground beef:

  • Place a medium saucepan over medium high heat and add 2 tbsp avocado oil. Crumble in the ground bee and cook until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper and the taco seasoning. Add 1/2 cup of salsa and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook on low about 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer until most of the liquid has reduced.

For the Spanish rice:

  • Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and add 2 tsp of avocado oil. Add the rice and saute, stirring, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and the cumin.
  • Add the stock and the salsa and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat, cover, and cook about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn of the heat and let it set for another 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Fluff with a fork and keep warm.
  • To assemble, place 2 cups of the lettuce mix in a large bowl or plate. Add some ground beef, then some rice, then some kidney beans.
  • Add the Mexican cheese, diced tomatoes, green onions, crema, Cotija cheese, and the Fritos.
  • Optionally, add chopped cilantro and diced avocado.

BEEFY CHEESY ENCHILADAS

Red sauce enchiladas at home can’t be beat if you make your own enchilada sauce. Canned (Las Palmas) enchilada sauce is not bad, but nowhere near as tasty as one you make from scratch. And you know what? It is super easy!!! And, taking it one step further, if you grind your own chile powder fresh it becomes even better.

For this recipe, I took dried Fresno chiles and ground them finely in a spice grinder. Sometimes I use dried Pasilla (Ancho) chiles but it makes for a much darker sauce.Try to make the sauce early in the day or the day before as the flavors will meld better. Experiment with other chiles if you wish like guajillo. Also, introduce a half teaspoon or so of cayenne if you want more heat as this recipe is relatively mild.

Ingredients:

For the enchilada sauce:

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil (I used avocado but canola works well, any neutral tasting oil)
  • 1/4 cup chile powder
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

For the enchiladas:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • Canola oil
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 1 small can diced green chiles
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2-3 cups enchilada sauce , home made or canned
  • 8-10 white corn tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced green onions

Directions:

For the enchilada sauce:

  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and the chile powder, cumin, and oregano. Stir and cook about 30 seconds. Add the flour and stir, cooking for another 30 seconds.
  • Whisk in the stock and bring to a simmer. Add garlic powder, Kosher salt, and sugar and simmer to 4-5 minutes, whisking so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Season to taste with salt.
  • Add 2 tbsp of cold unsalted butte and whisk until melted. Lower the heat and simmer for another 8 minutes. Taste and reseason if necessary.
  • Cover and keep warm.

For the enchiladas:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a mixing bowl, mix together the two cheeses and set aside.
  • In a medium skillet over medium high heat crumble in the ground beef and brown for 3-4 minutes. Add the onions and cook another 4-5 minutes. Drain the meat if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the diced green chiles, tomato paste, garlic powder, cumin, and beef stock. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook another 4-5 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Keep warm.
  • To assemble the enchiladas, heat the tortillas on a hot plancha or cast iron griddle. Keep warm on a plate covered with papers towels.
  • Place a small amount of sauce on the bottom of a baking dish.
  • Place a tortilla on a work plate. Lay down a warmed tortilla and spoon on some sauce. Then spoon on about 2 tbsp of meat and 2 tbsp of grated cheese. Add about 2 tsp diced green onions. Roll up the tortillas as tightly as possible then lay in the baking dish seam side down. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas. Ladle sauce on top of the enchiladas then sprinkle on some cheese. Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake another 5 minutes.
  • Plate 2 enchiladas per plate. Add some sour cream, diced tomatoes, and green onions.

BARBACOA BEEF

DISCLAIMER: This is just my way of making a traditional favorite originating in the Caribbean many years ago: Barbacoa. Many countries makes this using pork, lamb, beef, or goat. Historically, the meat was marinated in spices and citrus, then cooked for a long time over an open fire, or, wrapped in agave leaves and buried in the ground with hot coals. This Americanized version is much easier!

The level of heat you desire is entirely your choice. With Mexican Barbacoa, guajillo chiles are often used. I chose chipotles and roasted green chiles. I also chose to make it in my Instantpot. My other method of choice is braising it in the oven for several hours. The P/C doesn’t require as much babysitting.

We had tacos, but Barbacoa beef is excellent for any shredded beef application like burritos, enchiladas, taquitos, and so on. Freeze what you don’t use that day.

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 3 pounds beef chuck roast, excess fat trimmed, cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, thin sliced
  • 2 tbsp minced chipotles and adobo sauce
  • 1 large Anaheim chile, roasted, skin and seeds removed, rough chop
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled, rough chop
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock

Directions:

  • Place all the ingredients in the Instantpot. Stir everything to combine.
  • Set Instantpot to High Pressure Cook and cook for 55 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally. Then let everything sit on Warm for 1 hour.
  • Remove the beef to a bowl. Strain the liquid and reserve. Discard the vegetables.
  • When ready to serve, chop the beef to your desired consistency. Use two forks and shred if you want. Place the shredded beef in a bowl and add about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss to coat. Taste and reseason if necessary. Serve immediately.

CARNE GUISADA TWO WAYS

Carne Guisada is similar to Carne Asada. Where Carne Asada is Mexican marinated beef that is grilled, Carne Guisada is Mexican beef that is stewed.

Typically, you use beef chuck for this dish, but, since I had a big rib eye thawed out and ready to go, I opted for the ribeye! Why not? I still cooked (braised) it for a couple hours so it would be butter tender. Braised in a spiced tomato and beef stock liquid, it came out perfect.

Add as much or as little heat as you like, ie, more jalapenos or chipotles. I dropped in a chipotle pepper and some of the adobo to give it a little kick. If the finished guisada is not thick enough, mix a little flour or cornstarch with some stock and simmer it until it thickens. Some Carne Guisada preparations are made like a beef stew with carrots and potatoes. But, I decided to make Carne Guisada tacos, just like shredded beef tacos only the beef is already cut into bite size chunks.

Garnish your lightly fried corn tortillas tacos with finely shredded iceberg, diced tomatoes, and shredded Mexican blend cheese (cheddar and Monterey Jack). We served this Carne Guisada over white rice the next night…it was yummy both nights. And, full disclosure, I actually made ours in the Instantpot….40 minute cook.

Note: This is a very mild recipe. Ramp up the braising liquid with guajillo or chiles de arbor for more heat.

Ingredients:

  • About 1 1/2 pounds of beef, cut into 3/4 inch chunks (I used ribeye, but chuck works well)
  • 2 tsp lard or bacon fat or canola oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced green pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, thin sliced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 chipotle chile and 1 tbsp adobo (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cups water
  • Corn tortillas
  • Shredded Iceberg lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Diced onions
  • Shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • Chopped cilantro

Directions:

  • In a large pan or Dutch oven over high heat, add 2 tsp of canola oil then brown the beef on both sides. Do it in batches. Remove the beef to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the onions, garlic, and bell pepper and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the beef back, and the tomato paste, chipotles, and spices. Stir to coat for 1 minute. Add the stock and 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer. Cover, lower the heat, and cook for about 1 1/2 hours until the beef is tender. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  • You can do this in an Instantpot like I did. Just cook for 40 minutes and let the pressure release naturally.

TACO BELL NACHOS BELLGRANDE

Ah…Taco Bell. Some of their menu items are good…some are nasty. Nachos Bellgrande are good, and here’s why. They’re loaded nachos…nachos with chips, refried beans, spicy taco meat, sour cream, and diced tomatoes…plus, any of their various taco sauce packets you want to drizzle on. I believe you can request pickled jalapenos and a spicier cheese sauce as well.

This recipe is for two people. Since we’re not big fans of the pickled jalapeno thing, we have left those off…but added sliced green onions. We also fried our own corn tortilla chips, though any good, crispy store bought chips will do…I would suggest you avoid Doritos Nacho Cheese as this is kind of a cheese and spice overload…but go ahead and use them if you wish. The nacho cheese recipe is wide open…make it as mild or as spicy as you want. This recipe is kind of medium spicy and utilizes a Mexican cheese blend of a sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack. To make the nacho cheese sauce, I chose to eliminate the flour roux and milk thing and opted for heavy cream and half and half. It makes such a creamy, smooth sauce. Be sure to make your nacho cheese sauce just before serving as it will form a thick film on the surface if it sits for any length of time. If you are not serving right away, just place piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper on the surface of the sauce until ready to serve.

I usually make my own refried beans from scratch, but this time I used Rosarita Refried beans and they work great as well as being a childhood favorite. I will include my taco seasoning recipe below for the meat since those taco seasoning packets from the grocery store are just gross!

This recipe makes one big nacho platter, enough for 2-3 people.

Ingredients:

For the taco meat:

  • 1/2 pound 80/20 ground beef
  • Canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp taco seasoning (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup pac Chunky salsa
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

For the cheese sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Mexican cheese blend (half sharp cheddar, half Monterey Jack)
  • 1/4 cup Pace Chunky salsa
  • 1/2 tsp taco seasoning (recipe below)
  • 1/2 tsp chile powder
  • Cayenne to taste
  • Crispy corn tortillas, store bought or home made
  • Rosarita Refried beans, store bought or home made
  • Sour cream
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Guacamole (optional)

Directions:

  • Brown the ground beef in a medium saucepan or small skillet. Drain. REturn to the saucepan. Season with Kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Add 1/2 tsp taco seasonning. Add 1/4 cup salsa and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat, cover, and cook about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep warm.
  • Heat the refried beans and add 1 tbsp unsalted butter and stir in.
  • To a small saucepan over low heat, add the cream and then the cheese. Stir while it slowly melted, don’t let it simmer. Add the salsa and the taco seasoning and continue letting. Add cayenne to taste for heat. Cover and keep warm.
  • To put together, warm the chips on a sheet pan in the oven for few minutes. Spread one layer of crispy tortilla chips on a platter. Add spoons of refried beans down the center. Add more corn chips. Then add spoons of taco meat until all of it is gone. Dot sour cream around the plate. Garnish with sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, and diced tomatoes. Add pickled jalapenos if using. Add guacamole if using. Serve immediately.

TACO SALAD

Ditch the big old fried tortilla bowl…besides, how do you make those at home?

Got Fritos? Or, corn tortilla chips? It’s Taco Tuesday today!

This recipe is enough for 2-3 big salads.

Ingredients:

For the taco salad dressing:

  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2-3 tbsp buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chile powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 1-2 tsp Sriracha sauce
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

For the salad:

  • 2-3 cups chopped romaine and iceberg lettuce
  • 8-10 ounces of lean ground beef
  • Taco seasoning
  • 1 cup cooked red kidney beans
  • 1 cup chopped ripe tomato
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 1 cup diced ripe avocado
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1-2 cups Fritos

Directions:

  • For the dressing, mix all the dressing ingredients in a bowl thoroughly. Then, if possible, put it in a small squeeze bottle. Not necessary if you don’t have one.
  • For the ground beef, brown the beef in a small skillet then use your own taco seasoning like I did, or one of those packets. Cover and simmer until well cooked. Drain well.
  • For the salad, assemble all of your salad ingredients like a buffet and have at it!

CRISPY CHICKEN FLAUTAS

There is a Tex-Mex Southwestern Mexican style restaurant on the west coast called Chevy’s Tex Mex. They serve a menu of Mexican and Tex Mex style dishes (obviously, hence the name). I worked as a General/Kitchen Manager for them in the early 2000’s. The job didn’t last long but I appreciated the scratch-made food they had. One of the menu items I loved to eat during my dinner break was a version of the Crispy Chicken Flautas. My recipe here is very mild compared to their version that had some sort of habanero sauce that made them pretty spicy. You can make these spicier by ramping up the ingredients in the taco dressing that is inside the flauta and is served on the side for dipping.

Chevys served these as an appetizer, but I served them with Mexican rice as an entree.

Ingredients:

For the chicken seasoning mix:

  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

For the flautas:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup Pace chunky salsa (or your favorite salsa)
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend (half Monterey Jack and half Sharp cheddar)
  • Sour cream
  • Finely shredded lettuce
  • Chopped Roma tomatoes
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Guacamole
  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • Canola oil for frying

For the taco dressing:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tsp Cholula or Sriracha sauce
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp lime juice

Directions:

  • Mix together the seasoning mix in a small bowl.
  • Butterfly the chicken breasts. Place between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to 1/4 inch thickness. Season with salt and pepper the coat with the seasoning mix. Heat a ribbed cast-iron griddle over medium high heat. Lightly coat with canola oil. When the griddle is screaming hot, add the chicken breasts and press with a meat press or a heavy skillet. Cook for about 2 minutes then turn and cook for another 2 minutes until the internal temperature is 165 degrees. Remove breasts to a plate and let cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, shred or dice the chicken, place in a saucepan, then add the salsa. Add 1/2 cup water and bring to a simmer. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Keep warm.
  • Core the Roma tomatoes and remove the seeds. Dice 1/4 inch.
  • Heat 1 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • To assemble, lay the tortillas one at a time on a hot cast-iron griddle and until warm and pliable.
  • Lay the tortillas on a cutting board. Spread to 2 tbsp of the tortillas. Spoon on about 1/2 cup of the salsa chicken mixture leaving about 1 inch empty on the ends. Add 1/4 cup of the cheese blend. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
  • Mix together 2 tbsp of flour with 2 tbsp of cold water. Roll up the tortillas tightly and brush the flour and water slurry on the edge to seal. Slice of the ends of the flauta to square it off. Let sit for 5 minutes to seal. At this point, they can be kept covered in the refrigerator if you want to make them in advance.
  • When the oil is 350 degrees, fry the flautas until golden brown and crispy, turn, and fry on the other side. Place on a wire track over a sheet in a warm oven while you cook the rest of the flautas.
  • To serve, slice a flauta in the middle diagonally. Lay a bunch of shredded lettuce on a plate. Place the flauta on the lettuce then top with a dollop of sour cream, then top with chopped tomatoes, guacamole, and chopped cilantro. Serve with a small ramekin of the taco dressing.