As a child, one of my staple meals were those frozen taquitos that you can buy in sacks of, like, 100. I distinctly remember running home from school, slamming down half a dozen taquitos, and immediately running off to soccer practice.
You might think that taquitos and two hours of soccer don't mix, but I made it work somehow.
These days, taquitos are still a pretty frequent staple in my dinner line-up. The only difference now is I can make them myself, customizing the fillings to my liking!
You could easily substitute the chicken in this recipe for beef or mushrooms – and feel free to adjust the spices to your liking.
RECIPE: Baked Chicken Taquitos
The filling for my version is pretty easy and only takes about 20 minutes to throw together. It would be equally good in tacos.
Start by dicing up your chicken into pieces so it cooks a bit faster. Add it to a hot pan over medium-high heat with a tablespoon or two of oil.
Cook it, stirring frequently, until it's cooked through. Then remove the chicken and either chop it up or use two forks to shred the pieces.
While the chicken is cooking, you can chop up the onions and peppers that you're using for the filling. Chop them pretty finely.
Also, don't forget to grate your cheese!
Add your onions to the pan the chicken was cooking in. If the pan is dry, add another tablespoon of oil. Cook the veggies until they're soft, probably five minutes.
Then add in the shredded chicken, canned tomatoes, and any spices you're using. Cook this down for a few minutes to let the flavors combine. Taste it and adjust to your liking.
As a final step, kill the heat and stir in your grated cheese. Adding the cheese straight to the filling now makes it easier to fill the taquitos later.
Making the taquitos might take you one or two tries to get right. The thing about corn tortillas is they aren't that flexible when they're cool, so to make them easier to work with, I fry them quickly in a small bit of oil. That makes them flexible – you can roll without a care!
So get a small skillet and add a tablespoon of oil to it over medium heat. When it's hot, add a single tortilla and cook it in the oil for about 10 seconds a side, until it's flexible. Beware: if you cook it too long, you'll make one big tortilla chip!
You should be able to cook two or three tortillas in a small amount of oil, but when your skillet is dry, add more oil and keep going.
Remove the tortilla from the oil and move it to a clean surface. Add a few tablespoons of filling to the tortilla. Ideally, add the filling a bit below halfway on the tortilla – the one I photographed is a bit too much toward the center.
Roll it away from you and you should end up with a perfectly rolled taquito. It's okay if some of the filling spills out.
As you finish one taquito, move it to a baking sheet (seam side down) that's been oiled well. Keep rolling like this until you run out of filling. I was able to get about two dozen out of this batch, which filled two baking sheets.
Traditionally, you would fry these bad boys, but since the tortillas have some oil on them from cooking earlier, and the pan is oiled also, baking them works just fine. You still end up with a really crispy shell.
If you notice that your taquitos aren't staying rolled, you can secure them with a toothpick. This batch my taquitos held together pretty well, so I didn't need toothpicks.
Bake the taquitos in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Check them every 5-10 minutes and turn them once or twice as they cook. When they are nice and golden brown, they're done!
I recommend serving these with salsa, sour cream, and maybe some guacamole!
These might seem like a bit of work, but the learning curve for them is pretty quick. After you get the hang of it, you'll be making taquitos for every party you host!Nick's wife said YES partially due to his taquito-making abilities. Check out his other skills at his blog, Macheesmo or on his Tablespoon profile.