When I was growing up in south Texas, my parents always had a freezer full of chicken taquitos for us to eat. A few minutes zapped in the microwave, and we had a tasty little lunch we all adored. So when I got older and saw how readily available taquitos are in the freezer sections of most grocery stores, I totally stocked up. I knew my kids would love them.
Unfortunately, they despised them! When I tried them myself (twenty years after I’d last had them), I realized they weren’t quite as amazing as I remembered.
So I set about making them from scratch, knowing that they couldn’t possibly be that difficult, and I could add quality ingredients to make them really amazing.
I’ll also point out that these are more technically flautas than taquitos, as they are made with flour tortillas. But you could just as easily use corn tortillas, and they’d be just as great. My kids prefer flour, though, so that’s what I used.
2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
4 ounces of cream cheese (1/2 a block)
1.5 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (I used sharp white)
1 red pepper, finely diced
1 small onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 salsa (any kind you like)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
10 small flour tortillas (fajita size)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Non-stick cooking spray or olive oil (I used organic coconut oil cooking spray)
Optional for serving: fresh cilantro, green onions, sour cream, salsa and/or black olives
Preheat oven to 425. Line a 9×13 baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stock cooking spray.
In a large skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the red pepper and onion until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about a minute longer.
Turn the heat down to low and add the salsa, chili powder, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Add the chicken and mix well. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cream cheese. Mix until the cream cheese is fully incorporated.
Add the shredded cheese and mix well.
To fill the tortillas, work with one at a time. Heat a burrito shell for 10 seconds in the microwave to make it pliable and easy to work with.
Add 1/3 cup of the filling to the center of the shell and roll it tightly. Place it on the baking sheet, seam side down, leaving a little space between each one. Repeat until all 10 are rolled.
Spray the tops of the taquitos lightly with cooking spray or brush with a little olive oil.
Place the baking sheet on the center rack in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until brown and crispy. If the edges get brown too quick, cover them with foil and continue baking.
Serve immediately with fresh cilantro, green onions, sour cream, salsa and/or black olives, if desired.
Notes: When rolling the taquitos, try not to squeeze the filling to the edges of the shell. That will help prevent too much from oozing out as it bakes and the cheeses start to melt.
When measuring out the filling, use just at 1/3 cup, and don’t pack it down. If you do, you’ll wind up with too much filling in each one and not enough for all 10 shells.