Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's Happened!

Well, it's finally happened: my dream  has come true.  I have always, always wanted people at work to ask for a recipe of mine, and it happened yesterday!  Now to be honest, it sort of happened a few times before, but mostly I think people were just being nice to me.  I think I pick really bad items for pot lucks.  Like last year I made homemade focaccia, which I was all excited about.... and who eats focaccia at a pot luck?  Besides me?  So this time when we needed to bring something to eat for our PD day pot luck lunch, I asked Kenzie to help me.  I know I am a good cook, and I have some great recipes.  But when I am left to my own devices, I show up with weird stuff.  So she recommended that I bring my tried and true creamy chicken taquitos.  I've made them for family parties and they are always a hit, so Monday night I made about a million of them.  We ate one tray for dinner, and the rest I put into the fridge.  I wrapped them but didn't bake them yet; I was a little worried that the tortillas would get mushy, but they didn't.  I baked them up at work in the cafeteria and they crisped up just fine.  I brought sour cream and salsa to serve them with.  I grabbed one on my plate and went to eat, and decided I could maybe go for another one - but when I went back up, they were gone!  Honestly it was probably around 30 taquitos. And many people were asking for the recipe and telling me how good they were.  I was probably grinning like an idiot, but honestly this was my goal since I started this resolution back in January!  I will be posting the recipe on our school email.  Thank you, easy and delicious creamy chicken taquitos.

Pre-pan frying
Tonight we're in the midst of a snow storm.  It's not horrible - yet - but Kenzie was willing to brave the pre-storm flurries for a trip to Price Chopper (our new love) for groceries.  I had decided to make something a bit weird: pinto bean falafel.  You know my love for falafel, and this is sort of a "Mexican" take on a middle eastern dish.  Traditional falafel is made with chickpeas, but this dish used pinto beans.  Instead of bread crumbs, it uses crushed tortilla chips, which I thought was cool.  Then there is cilantro, monterey jack cheese, scallions, and cumin - and salt.  Trust me, although the recipe doesn't call for it, it really brightens the flavors.  Then, while I bake my falafel, these get pan fried.  Let me tell you something: I hate pan frying bean patties.  It was quite a mess when I made my crispy black bean fritters, and it was a bit messy again tonight.  I think if I made them again, I would try to bake them. 

Anyway, what really made this dish was the avocado sauce.  It was absolutely delicious.  Avocado gets mixed with chopped tomatoes, red onion, sour cream, and lime juice.  Sounds simple enough, and it is, but the flavors are so amazing and complex!  It's creamy and tangy and I could probably drink it.  I didn't, but it was tempting.  Anyway, you smear some (lots) of this sauce into a pita pocket, toss in a falafel patty, and you're good to go.  The recipe says to add more red onion - no thank you - or microgreens (whatever that means), but I didn't use either.  Mom, Kenzie and I ate them and we all thought they were good.  Mom even had a second sandwich and asked how she could heat the leftovers up tomorrow! Score.  To be honest I am not sure how to heat them up, but I am sure she will figure something out. 

In the end, I think I am a traditionalist and love my traditional falafel better (I am such a good little Armenian girlfriend), but this was deliciously wonderful in its own Latin way!

pinto beans falafel with avocado

Creamy Chicken TaquitosAdapted from Annie's Eats (, adapted from Pennies on a Platter and Our Best Bites

Yield: about 12 taquitos

3 oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ cup salsa
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. onion powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1-2 green onions, chopped
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, etc.)
1 can beans (you can use black, kidney, pinto, whatever)
10-12 6-inch flour tortillas
Cooking spray
Kosher salt

1) Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2) In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, spices, garlic, cilantro, green onions, chicken, beans, and shredded cheese. Mix thoroughly until well combined.

3) Briefly heat the tortillas in the microwave to make them soft enough to roll easily, about 20-30 seconds. Place a tortilla on a work surface. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the filling mixture down the middle of the tortilla. Roll the tortilla up tightly around the filling. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling, spacing the assembled taquitos evenly on the baking sheet.

4) Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt.

5) Bake 15-20 minutes, until crisp and golden brown. Serve with sour cream and salsa, if desired .

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