A Taco Stand Favorite

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One of my favorite things about living in San Diego is the availability of really delicious authentic Mexican food. There is a taco stand on almost every street corner, no seriously, not an exaggeration. On any given block there will be an Alberto’s, Roberto’s, Rigaberato’s… The girls (that I nanny for) helped introduce me to my favorite place Taco Surf, or as the girls like to call it, Surf Taco. I could eat there 3 or 4 times a week. I love the carnitas and the carne asada is amazing. Occasionally I indulge in the rolled tacos, YUM.

Rolled tacos are one of the most popular taco stand foods. Deep fried little rolls of heaven. All my life I’ve seen them called taquitos and I had only tasted the frozen variety, which are nothing to write home about. But rolled tacos from a taco stand, those are something I can get down with. Of course if I really ate these taco stand delights as often as I would like I’d have to go around in elastic waist pants all the time.


Needless to say, when I saw this recipe I was instantly intrigued. They are a healthier homemade version. I love the fact that these taquitos, or rolled tacos, are not deep fried but still have a nice crispy salty finish. These are not a dead match for taco shop rolled tacos, but I think I actually like them better, let’s face it, it’s nice to know what’s inside and not have to worry about mystery meat. They come together quickly, can be frozen and baked later, and taste wonderful! Try them today!

Creamy Baked Taquitos or Rolled Tacos
(Adapted from Pink Parsley)

3 oz cream cheese, softened (I used reduced fat)
1/3 cup salsa
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I didn’t have any fresh so I used dry but fresh is best)
3 Tbs chopped green onions
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (boiled, roasted, left over, anything works)
1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Pepperjack cheese
8-12 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese with the salsa, lime juice, cumin, chile powder, cayenne, onion powder, garlic, cilantro, green onions, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt. Fold in the chicken and cheeses. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Stack tortillas on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel and plastic wrap. Cook 30 seconds, or until tortillas are soft and pliable. (Mine took 60 seconds total after coming straight out of the fridge)

Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of filling onto the lower third of each tortilla, and roll tightly. Place seam side-down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

Spray the taquitos lightly with cooking spray, sprinkle with salt. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp and golden-brown. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and/or guacamole.

Enchiladas

** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

I adapted this recipe from one that my mom used to make when we were growing up and I can tell you that it was one of my favorites then and it is still one of my favorites now. I can actually remember impatiently waiting on the nights when my mom would make this dinner because she would have to prepare everything and then bake it. 20 minutes seemed like an eternity while waiting for this delicious dinner to come out of the oven. I promise you though, it is well worth the wait (though now that I am older, 20 minutes really doesn’t seem all that long).

I should also add a disclaimer here that this recipe is not really a traditional one and it’s probably not the healthiest meal I’ve ever prepared either(though I’ve made worse :)). And it dirties a lot of dishes. But it is worth it, I PROMISE!

Enchiladas
(Source: My mom!)

Ingredients

Filling
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 pound lean ground meat (beef, turkey or chicken will all work)
1 medium red onion chopped
1 bell pepper finely chopped(I used red but any color will work), reserve half for sauce
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheese (I used colby jack)

Sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil
half of the reserved bell pepper
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
2/3 cup water
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp dry parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
8-10 8 inch tortillas (Today I used flour but my mom used corn)
1/2-1 cup shredded cheese

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet heat the vegetable oil and then cook the onion and bell pepper for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Next, add the meat to the pan and brown. If the meat is too greasy then drain and return to the pan. Finally, stir in the sour cream and cheese.

In a small sauce pan heat the vegetable oil and cook the bell pepper until tender. Then add the rest of the sauce ingredients from tomato sauce to salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Then pour into a pie plate.

Dip each tortilla into the sauce and coat on both sides. Spoon 1/4 cup of the meat mixture onto each tortilla and then roll the tortilla around the filling. Place in an ungreased baking dish. Repeat until you’ve used all of the filling.

Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and then top with the cheese. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until the cheese and sauce is bubbly.

Serve with spanish rice (at the bottom of the post), black beans(at the bottom of the post), or spicy broccoli.

The best mac and cheese you’ll ever put in your mouth….

** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

Was that title too long? 🙂 LOL. In all seriousness, this is really the best mac and cheese I have ever had. I found it on one of my all time favorite blogs Pioneer Woman Cooks. I’ll admit, I’m in love with Ree. Her blog is full of witty commentary and informative cooking entries, plus she has the cutest family ever. If you haven’t had the pleasure of viewing her blog before please go check it out, you’ll be hooked!

PW’s Spicy Mac and Cheese
(source: Pioneer Woman Cooks, my changes are noted in bold)

Ingredients
4 cups cooked macaroni or cavatappi
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 finely diced red onion
Equal amount diced red bell pepper
1 finely diced jalapeno
1 4 oz can chopped green chilies
1 cup frozen corn
2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup half and half
1 generous cup grated Pepperjack cheese (I sometimes use half pepperjack and half mild cheddar)
2 Tbsp butter
Salt
Pepper

Directions

Boil pasta until al dente. In a large skillet, add olive oil and saute garlic and vegetables over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add in canned chilies and stir around, then turn off heat. Drain pasta and add it to skillet. Pour on cream, add cheese, then add salt and pepper to taste and stir gently. At the end, add 2 tablespoons butter and stir again. Check seasonings and serve.