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Thursday, January 10, 2013

{Baked} Creamy Chicken Taquitos

I've been meaning to share this recipe for a long while!  We've been making this quick dish for dinner multiple times a month for the last year or so. Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos are definitely a request my husband makes every time I ask what he wants on the menu.  He also requests my own version off beef taquitos too. I'll be sharing those next, in a few more days. 

If you've ever had the store bought taquitos that are tiny and wrapped in corn, you are probably thinking greasy and saturated.  These are not that at all. Because they are baked you don't get that icky-seep-through-the-tortillas-grease that coats the roof of your mouth like you do with the store bought ones (am I the only one that feels that way about those things?). These are light and healthy. The base of the filling is cream cheese (I use the 1/3 less fat because it's softer and healthier), salsa verde, a few spices (that don't make these spicy, just flavorful), chicken, fresh green onion & cilantro, and cheese.  All of that goodness wrapped up in a flour or corn tortilla (I prefer flour) lightly sprayed with cooking spray and baked to a golden crisp is irresistible!   We love these dipped in sour cream and/or salsa. I often mix salsa verde and sour cream together for a nice creamy dip. Or I also love a side of fresh pico de gallo and sour cream! Yum! These are light and refreshing!

One more reason I love these is that my whole family LOVES them. Even my picky 2 year old will gobble up a whole taquito (and sometimes more)! This is the only way I can get her to eat any meat these days! 

And one last thing - these work great as a freezer meal, see note below. 

See below the recipe for a few more pictures!

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos
Printable Version
⅓  cup (3 oz) cream cheese, softened to room temp (regular & low-fat work great)
¼ cup salsa verde
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons green onions, sliced
2 cups chicken, cooked & shredded
1 cup pepper-jack cheese, grated (can use Monterey Jack too)
small flour or corn tortillas (I prefer the flour since I love them, and always have them on hand)
kosher salt
cooking spray

Pre-heat oven to 375-400 (my oven is pretty hot, so I do 375) and line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray..

Soften cream cheese in microwave for 20-30 seconds if you forgot to leave it out to soften. Add the green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder. Stir to combine, and add cilantro and green onions. Add the chicken and cheese and mix to incorporate.

If you are using corn tortillas work with only a few at a time. Do this by heating them in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. It is helpful to place them between damp paper towels. 20-30 seconds should be enough time. If they are cracking, try heating them just a little warmer.  If you are usiing flour tortillas there is no need to do this. I usually use the uncooked flour tortillas (they taste much better, I think), so I quickly brown them before filling them. I’ve do it without doing this and it doesn't turn out as good since the bottom where the tortilla will overlap when rolled doesn’t cook crispy like the rest of the taquito.  But if you are in a hurry you can use uncooked tortillas. 

Scoop 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture and place it on the lower third of each tortilla, keeping it about ½ inch from the edges. And then roll it up as tight as you can.

Place the 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. At this point you can stick them in the fridge and keep them there until dinner time. I do this a lot so I can have a quick meal come dinner time.  Before baking, spray the top of each taquito roll lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.

Dip them in salsa, sour cream, guacamole, etc. I like sour cream mixed with salsa! :)

Makes 8-10 on flour tortillas, and more like 12-16 on corn tortillas.

Freezer Meal Note: 
I assemble these the same as the recipe except for I don't spray them with grease or salt them.  I like to freeze them until solid on a foil or wax paper lined cookie sheet and then transfer them into a gallon-size freeze bag and freeze til ready to use. The day I want to use them I pull them out and put them on a greased foil lined cookie sheet for easy clean up - and let them thaw in the fridge if I think about it in the morning, or I let them thaw on the counter an hour or two before I want to bake them.  When they are ready to bake I lightly spray them with spray grease and sprinkle a little bit of kosher salt on them and bake as directed in the recipe. 

Recipe Source: slightly tweaked from Our Best Bites

Although she doesn't look happy, she does love these taquitos. She was just going through a phase of not liking her picture taken.  I think she was saying "put that camera down and eat, Mom!".  I'm sure my family loves that I pause after dishing up a meal and say "let me just snap a photo real quick!" LOL!