Chickinspiration

Sometimes I work 12 hour days. Sometimes all that is in the freezer is chicken. Sometimes I am not inspired. Sometimes if it is thighs I do something fancy. Lots of times I only have breasts and lots of times I make the same dish. This time I decided that I was going to break the cycle of blah chicken and rice! I also decided that I wasn’t going to the grocery store but to the dollar store and the tiny market inside the burger place that are around the corner from my house. Kind of a challenge because I didn’t know what I would be able to find and I didn’t know which way I wanted to go with flavors. All I knew was that I didn’t want to spend more than about 20 bucks.

I started at the Dollar Store. I didn’t get a basket so that I could really keep to the budget and so I didn’t make too much work for myself. I ended up with 2 cans of those diced tomatoes with chili’s, balsamic vinegar, white vinegar,  a bag of white rice, a package of Spanish style rice and a box of trash bags that weren’t for dinner but I remembered we needed.

On the drive to the tiny fresh market the wheels started to turn in my head as well as on the car. I was able to get a sweet onion, a package of radishes, sour cream, a shredded cheese blend and a package of flour tortillas. I decided on chicken tacos with caramelized onions, pickled radishes, chipotle sour cream and Spanish rice.

I seasoned the chicken with smoked paprika, oregano, chipotle powder, garlic and a seasoning mix called Sazon which is coriander and annatto flavored and is Spanish but I get it at the Asian market, and annatto is the seed of the achiote tree and when used in small amounts, primarily as a food colorant, achiote has no discernable flavor. When used in larger amounts to add flavor, it has an earthy, peppery flavor with a hint of bitterness. 

I let the chicken hang out with the seasonings on it for about 30 minutes while I decided how to cook it. I put one can of the tomatoes in a baking dish and put the chicken on top and baked it at 350 for 20 minutes.

To pickle the radishes I do a quick pickle kind of thing which is  1/3 cup each of water, white vinegar and white sugar plus 1/2 teaspoon in a pot and heated until the salt and sugar have dissolved, stirring in the sliced radish and leaving them to cool while the chicken cooks.

To make a zippy sour cream I stir in some granulated garlic, chipotle powder, smoked paprika and a pinch of salt.

For the rice I just cheat and follow the package directions. I could have made my own with another can of the tomatoes and chili’s and that bag of white rice and maybe some other seasonings but I wasn’t trying to think that hard and there is always next time.

After 20 minutes in the oven for the chicken, I took it out and let it cool a little before I shredded it and added the other can of the tomatoes and stirred that all together and added a little more garlic, paprika, oregano and cumin and tossed it back in the oven while I got everything all together.

I also cheated on the tortillas and heated them in the microwave as folks made their plates.

I layered in a different order than the hubs did but it’s all the same ingredients so it doesn’t really matter how you build your taco but my recommendation is to keep the sour cream as a topping instead of as a spread on the tortilla, my stuffing slid out the back side of the taco on the first bite which was a little amusing to my table mates but a little not so for me.

All together we had the chicken, rice, cheese, sour cream and pickled radishes, I spent right at the 20 bucks and dinner was ready in about 30 minutes and sweet kittens it was tasty like I had been slaving in the kitchen all day! A little extra love for some simple ingredients can go quite a ways in the flavor department so don’t be scared to step out of your blah chicken coop!!

Thanks ya’ll!! Happy cooking!

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