Saturday, January 18

Chicken Taquitos (a favorite & delicious freezer staple)

Homemade chicken taquitos. I repeated the title again. Could it work? I asked myself. Maybe. I had store bought frozen ones before years ago at a friends house. I knew what they were supposed to taste like. Crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Yummy right? 

One night not long after, I had patiently waited for a night my hubby was at work in case the recipe flopped, and tried out it out. Every once in awhile a recipe flops, and its a bit easier to deal with when its just me and the kiddo. Much to my delight and surprise the healthy, baked taquitos were delicious! 

My next question was if they were freezable and reheatable? AND how good did they taste after reheated? Serious questions here.... I love reheatable food I can send overnight with my hubby to work. Cold lunches like sandwiches don't seem to taste as good for lunch in the middle of the night - if you are up you want something warm and comforting especially in winter. Wanting to make sure I could maintain that great crunchy texture, I froze a bunch, waited a month, and tried them again. Blogging and testing recipes out are so time consuming! My stomach doesn't seem to mind though. 

The results: Yum! They are great freshly made and baked. You can't tell that you used greek yogurt. I love it that they only need a small amount of leftover chicken. They bake really quickly and you don't miss the white flour tortilla at all. When reheating the best is if they are frozen unbaked and the baked when you want to eat them. Reheating them after baking them the next day, in the microwave gave soggy results with no crunch - felt like a bad tiny burrito. The frozen ones I didn't thaw before baking. They were just as good, crunchy on the outside, creamy on the inside, as the first night we made them fresh. 

Healthy Crispy Chicken Taquitos
prep + cook time: 20-25 minutes
adapted from: Tasty Kitchen
Serves 5 people (3 each)
This is what they look like after baking straight from my freezer

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1/3 cup salsa verde
1 Tbs lime juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder (*double for spicy taquitos)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried or 1 tsp fresh chives
1/2 tsp dried or 1 tsp fresh parsley
2 Tbs fresh chopped cilantro
1 cup of leftover cooked chicken, shredded
(this was 2 leftover bone in chicken pieces from another meal)
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
15 whole wheat flour tortillas
1-2 tsp sea salt

Mix everything together in a very large bowl. Get your kid(s) involved with this. My son loved helping and it was easy since everything was the fridge. No worry about dealing with sharp or hot things. Dump, pour, mix. 

If you are baking these right now preheat your oven to 425 degrees, and line a large baking sheet or two with foil. Spray the foil with nonstick spray. I didn't spray the foil one of the times I baked them and they stuck a bit. Don't forget this step for easy cleanup. 

Spread the torillias out how over many you can fit on your counter or kitchen table. Put 2 Tbs full in the center of each one and roll them up tight by tucking the ends in first so the filling cannot fall out. Let them rest on the counter seam side down until you are finished with all of them. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling until they are all rolled. 

 If freezing for a make ahead meal pack up the taquitos into good quality freezer bags quart size or gallon sized. Write the baking instructions on the bag for easy meals or snacks or football games.  Be sure to use your oven for good results. 

When baking line up the taquitos so they aren't touching. Then spray some nonstick spray on the tops of each and sprinkle them with some sea salt. 

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes - they should be golden, crunchy, and look delicious. Let it sit a few minutes especially if you have kids - the filling inside is hot. 

So next time you have some extra chicken (wink) try this healthy freezer favorite of my family and take the night off from the kitchen.  This would taste with dips such as: guacamole, sour cream, and salsa. Great sides would be tortilla chips, rice, and corn on the cob. 

From my kitchen to yours!

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