I’ve been oven “frying” ever since I saw Oprah’s chef, Rosie Daley, on her show about a zillion years ago making oven fried french fries. This was back when fat free was all the rage and let me tell you, I am a FAN of french fries people. I mean, I love potatoes like nobody’s business. Oprah’s weight loss was truly impressive and Rosie was cooking foods we were all familiar with, pizza, turkey burgers, oven “fried” chicken, and those lovely french fries. The method was new but the cuisine was not. These concepts were very appealing to me and since that time I think I’ve oven fried just about everything under the sun and have found the method translates beautifully to taquitos.
It seems the low fat diet was a passing phase but a lot of it stuck with me and I’m always on the lookout for recipes using this method because it embodies one of my main concepts about food. It’s got to be recognizable, familiar, and comforting in order to satisfy, but you can do all sorts of things to reduce fat and calories in these familiar comfort foods.
So, there’s cheese in it, yes, but then we won’t fry it in a bunch of oil. Give and take. That’s what it’s all about.
The grocery list – Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, garlic pepper, seasoning salt, smoked paprika, cumin, vegetable oil. cheddar and jack cheese, onion, jalapeno, and soft taco sized flour tortillas.
I’m seriously fond of garlic pepper. Just thought I’d pass that on.
Start by mixing all your spices together in a small bowl. Garlic pepper, seasoning salt (I use Lawry’s), smoked paprika (make sure it is smoked), and cumin.
Cut up three chicken breasts into very small pieces. When you think they are small enough, cut them in half again.
How hot do you want it to be? Here’s how I handle my jalapeno. If you like things really spicy, leave all the ribs and seeds intact when you dice the jalapeno. If like us, you prefer it medium, remove the ribs and seeds from just one half of the jalapeno as shown above. If you are serving little ones or really don’t want any heat at all, remove all the seeds and ribs from both sides of the jalapeno. I’ve found that the heat of jalapenos can vary throughout the year but this method will typically control the heat level pretty well.
Chop up about 1/2 cup onion and 1 jalapeno.
Add about 3 tablespoons vegetable oil to the bottom of a large pan. Once the oil is nice and hot, add the chicken.
When the chicken is cooked through, add the onion and jalapeno and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes.
Time to add the seasonings.
Cook and stir till well combined.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheese.
It’s going to get all melty and delicious.
Time to roll ‘em up. Warm the entire stack of tortillas in the microwave for about 30 seconds, just to soften them slightly. This will make them roll easily without cracking. Place a small amount of the chicken mixture down the center of one of the tortillas. You’ll need to divide the mixture between 10 tortillas so just eyeball it.
Fold in both ends of the tortilla like so.
Then fold one of the other ends up over the chicken mixture.
Continue to roll it all the way up, with the ends tucked in.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy duty foil and spray it generously with non-stick cooking spray.
Transfer your rolled taquitos to the prepared baking sheet, seam side down, and then spray the tops of them with more of the non-stick cooking spray.
Ready for the oven.
Bake them at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Using tongs, flip them over and let them bake for about another 5 minutes so they’ll get nicely browned on the other side.
Serve with all the usual suspects. Guacamole, salsa, sour cream.
Put them out in front of the guys at the next game and I guarantee they won’t question your methods. They’ll just eat them…gone!
Baked Chicken Taquitos
Yield: 10 taquitos
- 1 tablespoon garlic pepper
- 2 teaspoons seasoning salt (such as Lawry’s)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 jalapeno, seeded as desired and diced
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup each shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheese
- 1 (10 count) package small flour tortillas (soft taco sized)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously coat a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
In a small mixing bowl combine the garlic pepper, seasoning salt, smoked paprika, and cumin. Set aside.
Cut chicken breasts into very small pieces. Coat the bottom of a large saute pan with 3 tablespoons vegetable oil and place over medium heat. When oil is nice and hot, cook the chicken just until cooked through and no longer pink in center. Add the diced jalapeno and onion and continue to cook and stir for another minute or two until onion begins to soften. Add the seasoning mix and stir well to coat all the pieces of chicken. Remove pan from the heat.
Add shredded cheddar and jack cheese to the chicken mixture and stir to combine. Cheese will melt into the warm meat mixture.
Warm the entire stack of tortillas in the microwave for about 20 seconds just to soften them slightly. Lay a tortilla on a cutting board or other work surface and place a couple tablespoons of the meat filling down the center of the tortilla. Fold in the both sides and then roll the tortilla up. Place seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Coat the tops of the taquitos with additional non-stick cooking spray.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Pull baking sheet out of the oven and using tongs, flip each taquito over to brown the other side. Return to the oven for an additional 5 or 10 minutes or till nicely browned on both sides.
Serve with sour cream, guacamole, and salsa on the side.