This week’s Taco Tuesday adventure was a smashing success. Roasted chicken soft tacos and homemade pico de gallo served with a dynamite corn and black bean side dish. I started by preheating my oven so I could roast my bone-in chicken first. I chose to buy one chicken breast and a couple of thighs, because I appreciate the mixture of the white and dark meats. I wasn’t always keen on dark meat, but as I grew to love food and cooking, I realized that the dark meat is full of tender, juicy, flavor- much more so than the white meat, actually.
In my pantry, I found a homemade combination of Mexican seasonings. Ah, what a time saver! Rather than just sprinkling on the dry spices, I combined them with a bit of olive oil and painted the mixture onto the chicken with a brush.
Into a hot oven they went to transform into roasted, flavorful goodness. Again, I kept the skin on during the cooking process to retain moisture within the chicken.
Next, it was time to whip up some pico de gallo. For the longest time, I only used store bought salsa on my tacos and nachos. But over the past few years, I have become a total convert. Making your own pico de gallo takes just a few minutes, and the difference in fresh, bold flavor will make your head spin!
Tomatoes, red onion, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and pepper. Chop it all up, mix it with a spoon, and taste it. Then adjust the seasoning to your liking. Ta dah!
After that, I was ready to get my side dish together.
This time around, I used a can of corn, since I was not able to find any good-looking ears at the market. You’ll notice that many of the same ingredients pop up again in this dish. So, save yourself some time and do all of your chopping first! Then you can portion out the ingredients as you need them. The new addition here is a red cherry bomb pepper. These little guys are packed with a sweet and spicy punch. I had never seen them before they appeared at the Farmer’s Market last year. Now, I am a huge fan!
I started by sauteing the onions until they were soft. And then, I added the cherry bomb.
It all happened pretty quickly after that. Aside from the corn, the rest of the ingredients went into the pot along with a little seasoning, lime juice, and cilantro.
And then, the chicken was ready!
Whoot! Whoot! I let it cool down for a few minutes until I could handle it, and then I discarded the skin and shredded the meat apart with my fingers.
Lastly, I added the corn and a pinch of sugar to bring out its natural sweetness and finished off our side dish.
So pretty! And it literally only took about 10 minutes from beginning to end.
I set up our taco building station with all the fixins. You’ll notice I sliced up some purple cabbage instead of lettuce or mixed greens. Variety is the spice of life! So, even though we generally create some sort of Mexican fiesta every week, and it’s a simple flavor profile for clients to successfully execute in their own kitchens, I like to alternate ingredients to keep things lively! Purple cabbage is inexpensive, has beautiful color, and provides a great crunch that we did not get from crunchy taco shells this time around. Finding cost effective and varied building blocks, offers my clients and me interesting choices over time.
Corn tortillas were my vehicle of choice this week. I used two shells per taco, as you see at various Mexican restaurants. Sometimes, the corn tortillas are fragile, and layering two together makes for a stronger shell.
Mmmmmhmmmmm! Beautiful, flavorful, and light! None of this was difficult to create. Even the most novice cooks and my busiest clients can find success in a meal like this one.
I encourage you to cook smarter, not harder. If you plan out your cooking adventure strategically, you can accomplish a lot in a little bit of time.
Mix it up, friends. Don’t be afraid to pass by the store bought salsa this week and build your own homemade Mexican fiesta that will make your taste buds sing.