I heard a joke once that all Mexican food is essentially the same ingredients just combined in different ways. And it’s true if you think about it. Nachos: tortilla chips covered with beans, meat and cheese. Burritos: tortillas filled with beans, meat and cheese. Tacos… well, you get the idea. It’s essentially meat, cheese and tortilla, sometimes beans (unless you’re me). Salsa is always in the mix, too. And I’m here to say—that’s A-ok with me. Cause I like meat. And cheese. And tortillas. Beans and I don’t get along, but that’s alright. And if this recipe for taquitos is just another combination of stuff I like? Hey, there ain’t a thing wrong with that.
I based this recipe on one I found here, but modified it slightly to fit my own tastes. It definitely turned out really good and will be making many more appearances in the dinner line up. It was crunchy, creamy and (when made with pickled jalapenos) nice and spicy. Everything Mexican food should be.
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup salsa
1 Tbsp lime juice (half a lime)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp onion powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 small can pickled jalapenos (less to taste)
2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 cup shredded Mexican mixed cheese
Small flour or corn tortillas
Start by boiling your chicken. Everyone has their own way of doing this, but here’s my method. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut your chicken breasts into thirds for faster, more thorough cooking, and add them to the boiling water. Boil for about 10-14 minutes, checking your thickest piece to see if it’s cooked through. When it is, use two forks to shred the chicken, put it in a bowl and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and prepare a baking sheet either with parchment paper, or spray it lightly with cooking spray. Mix the cream cheese, salsa and lime juice first. I recommend breaking out your mixer, even though it’s a hassle. Trust me, it's worth it. I tried mixing with a fork, and then a spoon, and there is just no way to get all the cream cheese lumps out without using a mixer. Once it’s mixed add in all the spices, plus the garlic and cilantro and combine. Finally mix in the chicken, jalapenos and cheese. I unfortunately didn’t have pickled jalapenos and used green chiles instead, but they imparted no heat whatsoever. That was my only regret with this recipe.
To build your taquitos, spoon on your desired amount of chicken mixture in a line on the tortilla. I made mine pretty thick. Maybe that means it wasn’t technically a taquito, but I just didn’t want a mouthful of tortilla. Roll it as tightly as you can and then put it on the baking sheet with the rolled side down. If you put it the wrong way you’ll know because it’ll start to unroll. Once you have all your taquitos rolled (I had 8, which was perfect for my baking sheet, but if you put in less filling you’ll have more taquitos), spray the tops lightly with cooking spray and then cook for about 10-15 minutes. Mine went for 13 and that was perfect. They should be a light golden brown and crunchy. Watch that the tips of the tortilla don’t burn.
Serve with salsa, sour cream or whatever Mexican topping you love. My husband put Tabasco sauce on his and really enjoyed it. I hope you will too!
(Click here for printable recipe)