I love making food for people, but it wasn’t always that way. In high school, I mostly cooked out of necessity, but I found joy in it those times when I was doing it because I wanted to and not because I had to. In college, my love for cooking for other people really blossomed. Those days were filled with boxed Funfetti cake mix and my sorority sister’s recipe for taco soup. Over the years, making food for other people has helped defined who I am.
These days, whenever I’m making food for someone, it’s most often because they’ve had a baby. They get food; I get baby snuggles. It’s a win, win. My friend and old neighbor recently had twins, and I made these taquitos for her family to enjoy. They’re one of my favorite foods to make when I’m taking food to people because they’re different than what most people seem to take (pasta dishes and casseroles). Between these, the barbecue chicken taquitos, and my favorite breakfast taquitos, I’ve got handheld food covered.
There are plenty of reasons these taquitos are such a favorite around here. For Clara, it has to do with the fact that they’re easily held and perfect for dipping. It also doesn’t hurt that there’s a fair amount of cheese inside each one, that is if she doesn’t steal all of it from the cutting board while I’m shredding it. For us, well, you guys know we love Tex-Mex food. The tomatillos in the salsa verde add enough tartness to balance out all the creamy cheese. They’re crunchy and salty (in a good way). They’re baked, not deep fried. Plus, they come together quickly and are perfect for freezing and reheating. Basically, they’re full of awesome.
- COOK TIME:
- YIELD: about 12 taquitos
3 ounces cream cheese, softened (reduced fat is fine)
⅓ cup salsa verde
Juice of half a lime
1 teaspoon chile powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon onion powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped green onions
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
½ cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup shredded pepper jack cheese
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Salsa, sour cream, and guacamole for serving, optional
I typically use leftover roasted chicken when I make these, making them even easier and quicker to come together.
Heat the oven to 425º and line a baking sheet with a nonstick mat or spray with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, use a spatula to combine the cream cheese with the salsa, lime juice, cumin, chile powder, cayenne, onion powder, garlic, cilantro, green onions, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Fold in the chicken and cheeses. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
Working 3 tortillas at a time, stack them on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Heat for about 30 seconds, or until tortillas are soft and pliable.
Using a 2½-3 tablespoon cookie scoop, put filling onto the lower third or each tortilla. Roll tightly and place seam side down onto the baking sheet, spacing so that the taquitos are not touching. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
Mist the taquitos lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt (seasoning salt is especially good here if you’ve got it). Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp and golden-brown. Serve with your choice of dips on the side.
To freeze, prepare the taquitos as directed. Before baking, place the baking sheet into the freezer to freeze the taquitos completely. Once frozen, wrap in foil or place in a zip-top bag. To bake from frozen, simply unwrap and cook for 20 minutes. There’s no need to thaw them first.