Recipe: Chicken Flautas with Avocado Side Salad

A few weeks ago, I bought the smallest pack of corn tortillas I could find to make some sort of shrimp tostada dish or something like that (whatever it was, it obviously wasn’t very successful, because I didn’t post it here). Well, “smallest pack” meant “use four for dinner and have upwards of twenty left over,” so I’ve been trying to get creative and use them up. I tried making baked tortilla chips (my boyfriend and I are trying to be smart about what we eat) without much success, then I made some sort of kinda awful tacos (you really can’t eat those tortillas right out of the pack; they are not at all like soft taco shells), but finally, I came across this recipe for flautas while browsing Pinterest food boards and it looked like a winner. I did my usual “look at the recipe, then ignore 85% of it and do it my own way” thing that I like to do and made my own version of these tasty little crispy rolls. Obviously, frying them up in oil makes them not quite as healthy as they could be, but I tried to keep the oil levels to a minimum and balanced the dish out with a fresh side salad of avocado, baby bell peppers, and red onion.
Chicken Flautas with Avocado Side Salad

Serves: 2 (makes 2-3 flautas per person)

Prep. time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

 

Ingredients

  • 1 large chicken breast
  • Chicken stock
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Paprika
  • Ground ancho chile or other ground, dried pepper
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested
  • Sour cream
  • Mayonnaise
  • Cojita cheese, crumbled or shredded
  • 4-6 corn tortillas
  • Vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 avocado, flesh cut into chunks
  • Approx. 6 baby bell peppers, sliced*
  • Approx. 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

*Cut from end to end to get circular slices

 

Directions

Bring a small-to-medium pot of chicken stock to a boil, then add the chicken (liquid should just cover the chicken breast) and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until tender and cooked all the way through. Remove the chicken breast (the leftover broth can be used as stock for another meal or it can be tossed) and set in a bowl. Using a fork, shred the chicken breast by running the fork through the flesh and pulling it apart; shred the chicken into the bowl. In a small bowl, blend together a few tablespoons each of sour cream and mayo, then add approx. 1-2 tsp. each of all of the dry seasonings in the ingredient list, along with a splash of lime juice and some lime zest, then whisk to blend. Toss the mixture with the chicken until fully coated (chicken should not be soaked in this creamy blend but, rather, lightly coated); add more dry seasoning as desired. Add a heaping handful of cojita cheese and toss to combine. Cover and set aside in the fridge.

In a large, deep skillet, heat vegetable oil—about 1.5 to 2 inches deep—over medium high heat. While it’s heating up, lay 4-6 corn tortillas out on a flat surface. Remove the chicken mixture from the the fridge and spoon some of the mixture onto each of the tortillas. Roll each tortilla tightly and pierce each one with a toothpick to keep them shut and form your flautas. When the oil is hot (about 375*F; if you throw a little piece of tortilla in the oil, it should immediately start bubbling), start adding in the flautas. Let them cook for about a minute, then turn, making sure to turn so that each side has a chance to fry; do not overcook them or let them sit in one spot for too long—they brown easily. As they finish, remove them from the pan and set on a paper towel-lined paper plate to drain excess oil.

In the meantime, heat a little oil in a small pan. Add the red onion and peppers, season with a little salt and pepper (and other seasonings, as desired), and cook until crisp-tender. Remove from pan and toss with the avocado, a little more salt and pepper, and fresh lime juice. Serve the flautas on top of the salad, with a dollop of sour cream added, if desired.

 

Cook’s Commentary

This is the best of both worlds: healthy, fresh food and crunchy, fried food combined to make the perfect dinner. The “salad” is fresh and flavorful, with the creamy texture of the avocado blending deliciously with the sweet and spicy flavors of the red onion and peppers. The chicken flautas are crispy on the outside and the chicken mixture within is tender, a little spicy, a little tangy, and oh-so-tasty. I had a little of the “sauce” mixture that I tossed the chicken with left over, so I served that as a dipping sauce, but a spoonful of sour cream or, if you want to splurge, a drizzle of queso, would work as well.

Recipe: Key Lime Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup and 3 tbsp. honey graham crackers, finely crushed
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large egg yolks*
  • 1&1/2 tsp. key lime (or reg. lime) zest
  • 1, 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2/3 cup key lime juice** (approx. 1 bag, or approx. 20-25 key limes)
  • Whipped cream or lime wedges for garnish, if desired

*If you’re worried about wasting egg whites, save them and try making meringues, souffle, omelets, or angel food cake.

**If you run a little short on key lime juice, use a little regular lime juice.

 

Directions

For the crust: Preheat oven to 350*F. Stir together crushed graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter in a small bowl until well-mixed (should look a bit like wet sand). Press evenly into the bottom of an 8-inch, oven-safe baking dish. Bake for approx. 10 minutes, until crust is golden brown and slightly dry, then let cool completely.

For the filling: Keep the oven at 350*F. Put the zest and egg yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer (fitted with a whisk) and mix on high speed until the mixture is thick, creamy, and pale yellow (approx. 4-6 minutes). Reduce speed to medium and slowly pour the condensed milk into the mixture in a steady stream. Raise the speed to high again and mix until thick (approx. 3-4 minutes). Reduce the speed to medium and slowly mix in the lime juice until just combined. Pour the mixture over the cooled crust and spread it evenly all over. Bake for approx. 10-12 minutes, until it is set (wiggles ever so slightly) and is just faintly golden around the edges. Let cool completely and then cover and chill in the fridge for a few hours. Serve with whipped cream, lime wedges, or a drizzle of chocolate or caramel. Eat within 3 days.

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Key Lime Bars

Cook’s Comments

I bought key limes on a whim the other week and, after noticing them languishing in my fridge a week later, I went on a frantic search for recipe ideas. Dessert bars are fast, easy, and delicious and the key limes worked perfectly in this application. These were a hit at work and at home—tangy, sweet, and creamy. Best in the summer time, but not bad on an unusually warm October day.