Guest Post by Rachael Cherry @NannyPro
If you are on a budget and need to feed a group it can be hard to think of a good recipe to work from. Of course you have your standards, but what if you want to make something special to wow the group as well?
The other day I had a last minute party and had to feed ten people. Being the end of the month the food budget was pretty tight. However with a few modifications, I made a fun and festive Mexican meal fit for a king.
My recipe: Easy Cheesy Chicken Taquitos. This versatile meal can be a lot of things. Enchiladas, burritos, and, yes, taquitos. What’s the difference, you ask? Well, it’s all about the presentation. Taquitos are usually skinny wrapped tortillas with a yummy filling. Burritos are fatter, sealed wrapped, and also filled. Enchiladas are somewhere in the middle. You can make them like burritos or taquitos, but you add extra cheese to the filling and a yummy spicy sauce on top.
However for a party, easy to eat taquitos go far and taste great. Plus they are a snap to make!
Although you can change the recipe up a bit and use beef instead of chicken if you prefer, chicken is usually more affordable. You can also use corn tortillas instead of flour, but keep in mind they are harder to work with and tend to break apart when rolled.
Okay, so to start out you get four large boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Cook these however you like best. Boiled or plain is okay, but if you have the time season them with some Mexican seasonings like chili powder, garlic, onion, etc., and bake them until cooked through.
Once cooked, chop them into big hunks and then run them through the food processor. Smaller is better as the chicken goes further that way and is super easy to eat.
Next, mix in a package of softened cream cheese and a cup of green tomatillo salsa. Then chop up four green onions, green part only. Save the white part and set it in a cup of water in your kitchen windowsill and watch it regrow! We use the same green onions over and over again. Toss the green onions in the chicken mixture and squeeze in the juice from one small lime.
Now come the spices! Chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder should be all on hand and ready to go. If you have fresh cilantro in your herb garden, feel free to add that in. If not dried works well too or you can buy a bunch at the grocery store if you must.
Last but not least, the cheese! I had Cheddar and Mozzarella on hand from another meal, so I used what I had. However for an extra spicy kick, Pepper Jack tastes the best. As all cheeses are pretty much the same price, it is up to you what flavor you want. I spend the extra few cents to buy pre-shredded cheese because it saves me time, cleaning, and frustration.
Once all your ingredients are in a big mixing bowl, use your hands to squish it all together. You can use a spoon, but it is a lot easier with your hands. Make sure it is mixed well before you start to fill your shells.
Now, set the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (about 220 degrees Celsius) and get out a couple of large cookie or baking sheets. Depending on how tight you pack them and how big your sheets are you may need more or less. Spray the sheets with some oil so the shells don’t stick.
Now, get out your flour shells and fill each one with about two heaping teaspoons of filling. You want to roll up the shells with about an inch left unfilled on both ends, so give it a shot. The shells will end up being about an inch and a half in diameter once filled and rolled. For bigger taquitos, add more filling. Keep in mind the more filling you add, the fewer you can make.
Place each taquito seam side down on the cookie sheet. Bake for fifteen to twenty minutes or until they are golden brown. Some may leak a bit, especially if you overfilled them. They still taste good. Serve with sour cream and salsa for a fun and festive meal!
For a couple extra dollars you can add Mexican Rice and refried beans to make the meal complete!
Easy Cheesy Chicken Taquitos
4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, shredded (frozen as part of a 5 lb. bag bulk purchase, approximately $4.00)
1 package cream cheese, softened ($1.00)
1 cup green tomatillo salsa (half a jar, approximately $1.00)
4 green onions, chopped (part of a bunch, approximately $0.49)
1 lime, juiced (or 1 tablespoon lime juice, $0.25)
1 tablespoon chili powder (on hand)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder (on hand)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (on hand)
1 teaspoon dried cilantro (on hand or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped)
2 cups shredded Pepper Jack cheese (or 1 ½ cups Cheddar cheese and ½ cup Mozzarella cheese, $2.50)
Flour taco tortilla shells ($3.00)
Sour cream ($1.25)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (about 220 degrees Celsius).
- Cook chicken.
- Cut chicken into chunks and run through food processor until shredded.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken and softened cream cheese.
- Pour in 1 cup green tomatillo salsa.
- Chop four green onions and add to chicken mixture.
- Cut one small lime in half and squeeze juice, no seeds, into chicken mixture.
- Add the chili, garlic and onion powder to chicken mixture.
- Add cilantro.
- Add two cups cheese.
- Mix everything until well combined.
- Oil two large cookie sheets.
- Fill flour shells with around two heaping teaspoons of chicken mixture per shell.
- Roll to close and place seal side down on cooking sheet.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serve with sour cream and salsa.
Total spent: $14.99. Serves 10+
Rachael Cherry is a wife, mother, and writer who is passionate about helping connect families in need with high quality caregivers. She has taken that passion and put it to work through NannyPro, a respected online nanny referral service. Learn more by visiting @NannyPro on Twitter.