Sunday, October 07, 2007

Cooking: Chicken Soft Tacos Onions & Apples and Chicken w/Lime Sauce

Since my last cooking post, I've cooked three new recipes. Two were very good, one was a dismal failure. I'll talk about that one first. It was Slow Cooker Red Beans & Rice, and it was pretty much my fault. The recipe said "Combine first 12 ingredients," which I read as "combine all ingredients" and so the rice, which wasn't supposed to go into the mix, was in the slow cooker all day. The result? Bland, flavorless awful mash that I couldn't even eat. Might try it again and cook the rice separate, like you're supposed to.

My favorite recipe of the bunch so far is Chicken with Lime Sauce.


4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
Cooking spray
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons lime juice, divided
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan; keep warm.

Add chicken broth, sugar, 2 tablespoons juice, and mustard to pan; cook over medium heat, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.

Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; stir well with a whisk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook 1 minute or until sauce thickens slightly. Whisk in remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice and butter, stirring until butter melts. Return chicken to pan; simmer 2 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly heated.

I have only minor adjustments to make on this one. It would have been nice to have a little more sauce, as most of it evaporated or coated the chicken, so next time I think I'll reserve some of the sauce before returning the chicken to the pan, and then drizzle it on after I'm done. There was also a very, very slight lime flavor, so I'll probably add 2 tablespoons of lime juice instead of 1 with the butter, and keep adding a tablespoon here or there until the lime flavor gets a little bit stronger.

I also need to come up with a good side dish for this one. I'm really bad about cooking just an entree and not spending any time putting a side dish together.

Tonight I made Chicken Soft Tacos with Sauteed Onions & Apples:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups thinly sliced onion
2 cups thinly sliced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 2 apples)
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 (6-inch) flour tortillas

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken evenly with salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Add chicken to pan; sauté 7 minutes or until golden. Remove the chicken from pan; keep warm.

Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add onion; cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add apple; cook 6 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Return chicken to pan; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently.

Heat tortillas according to package directions. Arrange 1/2 cup chicken mixture evenly over each tortilla.

Since this came from Cooking Light, I thought it might be a little flavor light, and I bumped up the salt and nutmeg to 3/4 teaspoons instead of 1/2. I also don't really measure fresh ground pepper, I just grind it on until it looks like enough to me. The result was pretty good.

Half of the secret of this one is having fresh tortillas... fortunately, in Austin it's really easy to get fresh tortillas, and they're good enough to eat on their own, so that makes them really good for fajitas and soft tacos.

I also recommend having a large skillet... my medium sized nonstick was very full when the onions and apples were cooking, and I tossed a few of them over the side while I was stirring, no matter how carefully I tried to stir.

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