One of the greatest gifts we have in this life is food. And if you know me, you know I love to cook and I love to eat. Throughout the life of IM we will share tons of wonderful recipes that are easy to make and very delicious. Maybe sometime soon we'll start making videos as well with guest chefs and everything.
So here in the United States we seem to have an affinity for Mexican food. Why? Because it tastes great and it super easy to make. The fun thing about Mexican food is you have many different variations of some of the same ingredients depending on whether you want tacos (hard or soft shell, flour or corn tortilla), burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, and so much more.
Now, in my opinion, tacos are the best! There really isn't a wrong way to make a taco but today we'll keep it fairly simple. Let’s make chicken tacos!
We’ll start off with the ingredients you’ll need. Again, since there is no way to make a wrong taco you may choose to add or remove some of these ingredients.
· Chicken (chicken breast or thighs)
· Taco Seasoning
· Bell Peppers (red and yellow)
· Minced Garlic
· Tortillas (flour or corn)
· Rice (white or brown)
· Beans (refried or black)
· Aioli (mayo, lemon juice, garlic powder, hot sauce)
· Cabbage (chopped thinly)
· Cheese (shredded)
· Lime (fresh lime juice makes it explode with flavor)
PREPARING THE CHICKEN
There are actually many ways you can prepare the chicken. You can grill it if you want a more smoky flavor, bake it, or even cook it in a skillet. For todays purposes let’s go ahead and bake our 1 pound of chicken. You can bake most chicken at 350 degrees for 45 minutes and it will come out fully cooked. At this point I cut up the chicken into bite size strips and put it into a skillet with two table spoons of taco seasoning and some olive oil over medium heat. Stir until all chicken is coated in season and then turn off the heat so you don’t dry out the chicken.
The great thing about baking the chicken is it gives you time to prepare the other ingredients that go on your tacos. Take your two bell peppers, onion, and mushrooms (about a handful) and slice them up into strips. Put them into a skillet over medium heat with some olive oil and cook for about 20 minutes. Now, most people don’t want to take the time to mince garlic, so you can easily buy minced garlic in the store, but there really is nothing better than fresh garlic. Either way add the garlic to your skillet with the other vegetables towards the end. If you put it in the same time as the other veggies, you’ll end up burning the garlic before your other ingredients are properly sautéed. Once they are done turn off the heat and let rest.
BEANS & RICE:
Thankfully you can get which ever beans you would prefer right from the can and heat them up. It doesn’t take to long and no reason to make life hard. However, if you wish to do it the old fashion way, you are more than welcome to soak the beans and them cook them for the instructed amount of time.
Rice is simple. Just remember it’s one cup of rice and two cups of water. Bring rice and water to boil then turn down heat to simmer. If you choose white rice then it will cook for about twenty minutes and if you choose brown rice it will cook for about forty minutes. White rice is more common but brown rice is recognized as being the healthier option. Once the rice is complete, add the desired amount of salsa to the rice to make it more like traditional Mexican rice. Yes, I know this isn't how Maria's abuela would make it but I'm trying to save you some time.
I really prefer to have an aioli type of dressing over sour cream, but you can do what you like. To make an aioli all you have to do is take a ¾ cup of mayo, add juice from a half of a lemon (make sure to not get the seeds in there. Add about ½ tsp of garlic powder and however much hot sauce works for you. I personally like either Tapatio or Cholula brands but you can choose what you like. Then stir all together and drizzle over tacos as desired. YUMMO!
Now, make sure you cabbage is thinly sliced. It doesn’t offer a lot of flavor but it’s great for texture and it is good for digestive tract. Also shred the cheese if you wish and you’re ready to go.
Tortillas can be heated up in a skillet or over or not heated at all.
Now this is very important, so listen closely. Take your tortilla and put what ever the heck you want on it. I can assure you that the above recipe is going to be good, but you are more than welcome to eat it however you wish. All I can tell you is if you divert from the recipe you are cheating your tasted buds out of an amazing experience.
Have fun! Enjoy! And we’ll catch you next time.