Chicken Tacos

Apparently tacos are popular in our household. K gets them regularly at work (Taco Tuesdays are super cheap, he says), and he requests them regularly for dinner. Luckily, we have now locked down beef, chicken, and shrimp recipes for them. I find tacos to be almost a guilty pleasure even though they they do not have to be unhealthy for you. Growing up, we never ate them. Where I lived, there were not many places you could get tacos, and even then I did not go. (I have only been to a Taco Bell twice, and the first time I did not get anything because I had already eaten dinner and it seemed wrong to me to eat a second dinner–such a good daughter.) At school, tacos were always hard shells with grainy weird-tasting meat. I cannot remember the first good taco I ever had, but at some point it kicked in and I realized they could be more than bad junk food. My brother and sister-in-law lived with me briefly and they invited me to join in their taco feast. I did, and enjoyed them, but was stunned to realize how much salt was in the taco seasoning. (Even more surprised because my brother tends to be the health nut in the family.) After seeing that, I decided I could make my own kind without resorting to packages.

K and I began making tacos using store-bought tortillas, but now I can’t think of the last store one I’ve had. When making this iteration, I mixed chives and onion powder into my tortilla dough and they tasted awesome without extra sodium. K surprised me by asking for chicken breast tacos. Normally he is not a chicken breast man (that sounds too funny) but he thought it would be okay. He ended up pleasantly shocked at how tender and flavorful the meat turned out to be. You could also make this recipe with thigh meat, but it is not necessary. For the tortilla recipe, you can go check out my beef tacos.

I adapted this recipe only slightly from Portugese Girl Cooks. It is pretty quick (under an hour) and full of flavor, even without the extra heat (we left out the chipotle chile). You can easily add other seasoning to this, such as cumin. Feel free to play with it! We used a mashed avocado, some lettuce, and a corn/tomato salsa for our toppings. Keeping a light hand with sour cream, cheese, and even the avocado keeps the tacos healthier. We started making our own salsas after not being happy with the ones we see in the stores. For this one, we mixed some chopped tomatoes with fresh corn and cilantro. Add a little salt and pepper, and you’re done!

Directions for Chicken Tacos

Slightly adapted from Portugese Girl Cooks 

  • 1.5-2 pounds chicken breasts (whole)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon mustard

Heat some oil over medium heat to coat the bottom of your skillet/pan. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes.

Cook for a minute. Then, stir in half of the cilantro, 1/2 cup orange juice, and the Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil before placing the chicken inside.

Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and cook the chicken until done (using an instant-read thermometer, it should read 165 degrees for breast meat). Turn the chicken every 10 minutes or so. When the chicken is done, remove it from the pan (turn off the heat) and set aside to cool.

Shred the chicken after it is cool. After the chicken is shredded, continue with the next step.

K shredded this and recommended using a knife to hold the meat and the fork to pull away. He said it was really easy.

Add the rest of the orange juice to the pan, returning to medium heat and scraping the bottom to remove any browned bits. Then, stir in the lime juice. Turn off the heat and stir in the mustard and cilantro. Stir the chicken into the sauce.

Serve with tortillas and whatever toppings you like!

Directions for Chicken Tacos without pictures

Slightly adapted from Portugese Girl Cooks 

  • 1.5-2 pounds chicken breasts (whole)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon mustard

Heat some oil over medium heat to coat the bottom of your skillet/pan. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for a minute. Then, stir in half of the cilantro, 1/2 cup orange juice, and the Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil before placing the chicken inside. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and cook the chicken until done (using an instant-read thermometer, it should read 165 degrees for breast meat). Turn the chicken every 10 minutes or so. When the chicken is done, remove it from the pan (turn off the heat) and set aside to cool. Shred the chicken after it is cool. After the chicken is shredded, continue with the next step.

Add the rest of the orange juice to the pan, returning to medium heat and scraping the bottom to remove any browned bits. Then, stir in the lime juice. Turn off the heat and stir in the mustard and cilantro. Stir the chicken into the sauce.

Serve with tortillas and whatever toppings you like!

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5 thoughts on “Chicken Tacos

  1. Pingback: Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips | fudgingahead

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