Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Baked Chicken Flautas and Spanish Rice

Burritos stuffed so full they are the size of a football are very near and dear to my heart, but certainly aren't good for it.  The cheesier and saucier, the better, as far as I am concerned.  As stated in my last post, however, the trend in our house as of late has been healthy Mexican food.  When I came across a recipe for baked flautas, I got excited.  They are the size of a cigar and packed with flavor--seasoned shredded chicken, sauteed spinach with jalapenos, and a sprinkle of habanero jack cheese.  A side of healthy Spanish rice full of tomatoes, peppers, chiles, and onions was the perfect complement.

The baked flautas were so good that I (may) have curbed my burrito obsession.  I can't wait to try different flavor combinations--chicken with onions and peppers, turkey with corn and black beans, or just a whole bunch of seasoned and sauteed veggies with chipotle peppers.  This summer, I am going to try them on the grill too--the char from the fire will certainly enhance the flavor.  

We have a vat of leftover rice that is going to be recreated into a tortilla soup tonight.  I am going to throw in some corn, shred some more chicken, and possibly add some black beans.  It is sure to be a treat!

(Also, as a result of the little flautas, I learned a new strategy for shredding chicken that was literally life-altering.  I am never shredding chicken by hand again--ever.) 


Chicken Flautas:
(Very closely adapted from this recipe.  The only thing I did differently was change the amount of spices and the type of chicken.  They deserve full credit for the mind-blowing chicken shredding strategy.)
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 beers (I used one amber and one Corona)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • a dash of Italian seasoning
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 3 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • a number of normal sized tortillas (we used flour, but wheat, spinach, or tomato would be great)
  • 6-8 ounces of habanero jack cheese (Monterey jack, regular jack, or really any cheese that melts in a gooey fashion would be great)
  • Pam cooking spray
  1. In a large saute pan, add the chicken, beer and water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 7-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.  Be careful not to overcook otherwise your chicken will be dry. 
  2. Remove the chicken from the liquid and shred it.  Life-Altering Shredding Method: Place the cooked chicken in your KitchenAid mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on medium for 30-45 seconds.  During those seconds, stand in awe at the amount of time and effort you just saved.  (This will change your shredding chicken life.)
  3. Leave 1/4ish cup of the liquid in the pan and discard the rest.  Add the minced jalapeno and chopped spinach and cook over low heat until for 3-5 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted and liquid is absorbed.
  4. Cut the tortillas in half. Spoon a tablespoon or so of the chicken along the cut edge of a tortilla.
  5. Repeat with the spinach and sprinkle with cheese. Roll the tortilla up, starting with the straight edge.  Make sure it is rolled very tightly to prevent leakage or unraveling.  
  6. Place seam-side down on an oiled baking sheet. 
  7. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  8. When placing tortilla on baking sheet, leave a little space between them so that they are able to evenly crisp.  If you pack them in, only the tops will crisp and the sides will steam each other and thus become soft and potentially soggy.
  9. Spray the tops and sides of the flautas with Pam.  Bake for 10 minutes or so until the tops begin to brown and crisp. 
  10. Turn them over and bake for until for another 10 minutes or so until lightly browned and crispy.
Spanish Rice:
Inspired by this recipe.

  • a healthy glug or two of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (Alaska's tomatoes are horrendous, so I used one can of no salt added diced tomatoes)
  • one 7 ounce can of diced green chiles
  • 2 teaspoons of chili pepper
  • paprika, cumin, or cayanne if you want
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. 
  2. Saute rice, onion, and bell pepper until rice is browned and onions are tender.
  3. Stir in water and tomatoes. 
  4. Season with your choice of spices. 
  5. Cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed.

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