Monday, May 16, 2011


Our Cinco de Mayo fiesta.

If you're like me, you didn't even know how or why one would make taquitos when you can buy them in a giant box at the store. (To me they were in the same category as brownies. I seriously didn't know you could make them from scratch until I was in college.)

But let me assure you that these homemade taquitos are WORTH THE EFFORT. (And there is effort. It took me like 30 minutes just to roll these bad boys.) They are very good and healthier than the deep-fried, preservative-laden store-bought ones, and they taste great.

As a bonus, this might be your first time using queso fresco or chiles in adobo sauce. It was for me. But after you make something with those ingredients you'll have that "ah-HA!" moment where you realize these are what your favorite Mexican restaurants use, with delicious results.

Both of these recipes are from the talented ladies at Our Best Bites. I really like the chicken....well, and the beef. Try them both!


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, or garlic powder
3 T chopped cilantro
2 T sliced green onions
2 C shredded cooked chicken (for extra yumminess, use grilled taco chicken!)
1 C grated pepperjack cheese
small corn tortillas (and actually, flour ones are really good as well)
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 are coming 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.

The ones pictured below are actually flour tortillas- which I found out I like just as well (maybe even better!) than corn ones.

Dip ‘em in salsa, sour cream, guacamole, or dressing.

Makes 12-16

3 C cooked, shredded beef roast
4oz green chilies, undrained
1/4-1/2 t minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (I do 1/4 for mild spiciness)
3 t adobo sauce from the canned chipotle peppers (see below for note)
1 t garlic powder
1 t coriander
1/2 t cumin
1 t chili powder
zest from one lime
1 T fresh lime juice
1 package Queso Fresco (about 12 oz)
6″ white corn tortillas (about 20) I decied I like white corn torillas WAY better than yellow.
olive oil or cooking spray
kosher salt

Note: If you don’t want to work with the chipotle peppers, or can’t find them, try adding some Chipotle Chili Powder. You can find it by the other spices in the grocery store. It will still give you a smoky spice, so start with a little and increase to taste.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Take your shredded beef and slice any larger pieces across the grain so you have pieces about 1/2-1″ long. Place in a bowl and set aside.

Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce: We’ve talked about chipotle peppers before. They’re little red beauties that come canned in a smoky sauce. (They’re the same peppers used in this salad) Most of my recipes only use a small portion of the can you need to buy. So as not to waste the rest, I take the left overs and after de-seeding the peppers, I blend it all together with the sauce and then freeze it in 1t portions. Then it’s easy to pull out for recipes like this.

To prepare the peppers for the taquitos: pull out a pepper, trying to leave as much of the sauce as you can in the can. You’ll want to slit the pepper open to remove the seeds. You can just scrape them out with a small knife. Or, what I often do is just take care of it over the sink. Open it up and run it under a slow stream of water to wash the seeds out. You’ll want to be careful as the flesh is tender and can wash off too!

Mince it up as needed. And be careful, they’re spicy! Don’t touch your nostrils or your eyes, or pretty much anything else before washing your hands very well. Kate and I both know this from experience. Lots of experience.

Combine chilies, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, garlic, coriander, cumin, chili powder and lime zest and juice in a bowl. After stirring to combine, gently toss together with shredded beef.

Wrap a pile of about 10 tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave for 1 minute to soften. (after those are used, do the next 10)

Now bust out the queso fresco. You can find it at just about any grocery store now days. It’s generally in the refridgerated cheese section.
You can always substitute monterey jack or pepperjack, but I like queso fresco because I feel cool using foreign foods. Plus, it’s a traditional Mexican cheese and it tastes good.

Working with one tortilla at a time, crumble about 1T queso fresco in a line across the center of the tortilla. Top with 1-2 T shredded beef mixture and roll that baby up.

I use 6″ tortillas and I usually get about 20 taquitos. I fill them on the full side, so you could definitely stretch this and easily get more out of the recipe.

Place seam-side down on a lightly oiled/sprayed baking sheet. Use cooking spray or lightly brush olive oil on the top of each one. (I use olive oil in a mister and it works perfect.) Lightly sprinkle kosher salt on the top of each one.

Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and your house smells like a Mexican restaurant. A Mexican restaurant in a good way, not in a nasty, greasy, stinky way.

Take them out of the oven and let them cool for just a few minutes. Eat ‘em hot!

These should absolutely, positively be served with a healthy smothering of fresh guacamole. And some sour cream if you wish.

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