January 25, 2011

Lisa’s Texas Chicken Taco Night! {Naptime Tales from the Trenches}

Taco Tales

This is the latest installment of my Tales from the Trenches Series. An ongoing series where friends and readers share their stories and recipes about the great food they fit into family life. We all have tips and tricks to share with each other: when we cook, what we cook and how we cook the delicious food we love to eat. If you are interested in contributing a story and recipe please feel free to contact me. Today Lisa, a Texas transplant living in New York City, is sharing her go-to recipe for the homestyle Texas chicken tacos she makes after work with her family. She is a busy working Mom but still maintains her love of cooking. Lisa happens to work at Ellen Hanson Designs. Do you remember when Ellen herself shared her recipe for amazing Chicken Curry? As you can see by the photographs (taken by their friend Kristy Knight) this is a design firm with plenty of talent. When I saw these photographs (turns out the whole office ate tacos for lunch after the photo shoot) I told them they ought to add a food blog to their website!

A popular fall back for unprepared parents is the TACO night. At our house, taco night is chicken tacos with rice and beans garnished with shredded red cabbage, avocados and lime slices.  We always add grated cheese and sour cream (or yogurt). My five year old son has had the job of chief grater since the day he could hold himself up on the kitchen stool. Being good Texan transplants, we keep corn and flour tortillas stocked in our crisper drawer. This dish is fun to put together as a family, and it works well if you have no meat in the house  – you can sauté almost anything, and if you wrap it in a tortilla with cheese it will taste good!

The taco fixings bar

All the Taco Fixings!

Recipe

Lisa’s Texas Chicken Tacos

Ingredients

What you’ll need:

For taco meat

Chicken breast (antibiotic free/organic if possible)

1 can of Ro-Tel tomatoes( I always have this miracle product but one small can of green chiles and a can of

simple chopped tomatoes works as a substitute)

1 onion (Vidalia or Spanish)

For beans

1 can black or pinto beans

Garlic

Cumin

Chili powder

For rice

Broth (vegetarian or chicken)

Rice

Butter (a smidge)

Salt

Garnishes

Red cabbage

Avocado

Sour Cream or Yogurt

Sliced limes

Cheese – Cheddar or Montery Jack

Olive or canola Oil

Flour and/or corn tortillas (the smallest size)

If you like spice have some hot sauce on the table (el yucateco,

chilula and goyas achiote are faves at our house)

we don’t serve this with salsa unless I have a fresh batch of pico

de gallo already prepared

Instructions

I’m a bit of a speed cooker and I’ll share my tips which make things go faster:

I begin by getting the rice going, I like a rice cooker because I can throw in the ingredients, hit a button, and forget about it. I add the rice, water, a dash of salt and a pat of butter then cover it.  I then chop the garlic and onion tossing them into their pans as I go. The garlic goes into a saucepan on medium heat with heating oil and the onion into a cast iron skillet (also medium heat) for the chicken. As those are softening, I chop the chicken into bite-size pieces.  When the onions are translucent, I add the chicken. Open the beans and mix them in with the garlic. Stir in salt, pepper, cumin and a little chili powder and leave to simmer.  When the chicken looks cooked,  open the Ro-Tel and pour it over, mix it in, and raise the heat.  I chop my condiments and dispense in to little bowls to be set on the table (quartered limes, avocados, sour cream and cabbage). I call in my grating specialist and get him started. (can’t start him too early because he takes his percentage off the top!)

By this time the rice is finished cooking and while everyone is gathering, I place the tortillas in the microwave wrapped in a clean dishcloth witha sprinkle of water- 45 seconds is usually enough for 6 tortillas (make ‘em as you go). Prep each plate with rice and beans but bring the chicken to the table in a serving bowl. Once you sit no one has to get up for seconds and each person can customize their tacos. My son also likes to prepare his lunch tacos, rolling up a couple on the side of his plate for me to put in his lunch box.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

Other great fillers:

Eggs

Potatoes

Zucchini/ summer squash

Corn off the cob

Sliced radishes

Sausage or Bacon

Naptime Stopwatch

30 minutes!

Naptime Reviews

Have you ever had a taco in Texas you didn’t like?

More Naptime Recipes