Baja Chicken Tacos

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tacos are a pretty common dinner choice in our house. When all else fails, tacos will be eaten. We love these Baja Chicken Tacos. The chicken is slow cooked in a crock pot all day, so the only thing that I have to do is prep the toppings and cook the sides of rice and black beans.They are not as heavy as beef tacos , which I love.  These tacos are so flavorful. We add shredded cheese, onions marinated in fresh lime juice, lettuce, cilantro and salsa. Sometimes, if I do not have taco shells, we use lettuce leaves and make Baja Chicken Lettuce Wraps. The lettuce wraps are a great option for lunch.

Baja Chicken Tacos
2 1/2 - 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5 4oz cans green chilies
2 T taco seasoning ( I use Penzey's brand)
1 T ground cumin
Taco shells and toppings of your choice

Place the chicken , green chilies, taco seasoning and ground cumin in a crock pot. Place lid on tight and cook on high 4 hours or low 6. Take chicken out  and transfer to a platter to shred.Add shredded chicken back to the crockpot juices, stir and let it cook for an addition 10 minutes or so to heat back up. Serve shredded chicken in tacos with toppings of your choice.

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Coconut Milk Chicken Thighs

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Chicken dishes are one of the staples on our dinner table. I usually cook with chicken a few times a week. This recipe is one I came across a few years ago from Amy over at She Wears Many Hats . I love the flavor profile of coconut milk, garlic, lime and basil. This recipe uses all of those, plus the added bonus of ginger. If you do decide to add this recipe to your menu plan, make sure you prep ahead. The chicken is better if it marinates for a few hours ( or overnight). But if you don't, that is ok too. I have made it late in the afternoon and let it sit in the fridge for an hour or so before baking it and it has been yummy. No complaints from any of us. Also make sure that you buy canned coconut milk , and mix it well before you prepare the marinade. Coconut milk tends to separate while shelf stable in the can. In the summertime, if you can find fresh Thai basil, I highly recommend mincing a few leaves and garnishing the chicken before you serve it. It gives it a subtle spicy kick.
* you can use any type of chicken, but I love the bone in, skin on chicken thighs. It absorbs the flavor and the chicken doesn't dry out when baking . You can always take the skin off before serving.

Baked Coconut Milk Chicken Thighs
{Adapted from She Wears Many Hats)

1/2 c canned coconut milk
3 T fresh lime juice
3 T brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
6 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
thai basil leaves , for garnish ( optional)

Preheat the oven to 450*
In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients together except the chicken thighs and thai basil, if using.
Transfer the marinade to a large Ziploc bag. Add the chicken thighs and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours, or overnight.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and place the chicken in an oven proof skillet. Discard the marinade.
Bake the chicken for 35-40 minutes , or until the chicken is cooked through.
Garnish with minced thai basil, if desired.

Baked Pesto Chicken

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I don't know about you, but the time change has thrown me for a loop. I have zero motivation to think about making dinner when it is still light outside at 7pm. Tonight I thought very seriously about chick fil a. But I had chicken thawed and I needed something to make that was quick and easy. So I went for an old favorite. Baked Pesto Chicken.
Surprisingly, this pesto chicken is one of my kids' favorite meals! I think it has to do with the melted cheese and chicken. The pesto makes the dish, and the kids do not complain. And with three ingredients, it is affordable and quick to get to the table.
Now if I can just get used to longer days, with the kids lingering outside until the last hint of daylight...

* For weeknight meals, I used traditional basil /pine nut pesto and provolone cheese.  But if you want something a bit more fancy, try pecan kale pesto and gorgonzola cheese or sun dried tomato pesto and fresh mozzarella cheese. 

Pesto Chicken
4 boneless , skinless chicken breasts
4T pesto
4 slices provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken breasts in a oven proof casserole dish. Spread  1T of the pesto evenly over each piece of  chicken.  Place the cheese slices on top of the pesto.Cover and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the cheese is melted.if you want the cheese browned a bit, uncover the chicken for the last 5 minutes or so until is is a light golden brown.