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What Did I Tell Ya?

Well kids, that ship I told you about, she’s turning but fast.  I got called last-minute on Monday to meet with someone to go over the photo shoot for a wedding he wants me to help with, and then yesterday I went in to hear a job offer for a part-time job and ended up working it for the rest of the day, and yesterday I found out I’m one of the finalists for Re-Nest’s hunt for a new writer.

You can see one of my submissions that got posted here.  And, you know, comment if you feel like it.

Of course, it could just be some ploy on their part to get a bunch of free material, but either way, having my photography and writing up on such a hugely popular site is a pretty good feeling!

I promise I will be back with more as soon as possible — but now I have to run to work.

Will someone remind me why I wanted a job again?  Or three?

But I will say this: Just when you think you’ve hit rock bottom and no body wants you and your life is just one big fat waste of time but it doesn’t matter because the world’s going to end anyway, things turn.

See?  What did I tell ya?

I Have the Dinner Solution for YOU Tonight. You’re Welcome.

I would have had this finished for you earlier, but I got called away for something I will likely tell you about later this week.  Lucky for you, I’m hoping I’m still posting this just in time for you East Coasters to stop and pick up the ingredients on your way home from work.  You West Coasters still have plenty of time, and those of you overseas can have it for breakfast or something.

I am about to share with you one of my absolute favorite dinner recipes in the history of me making the occasional dinner, which has really isn’t a very long history at all.  But that doesn’t change the fact that these are de-frickin’-licious.

I’m pretty sure this is the type of thing that pleases menfolk, womenfolk, and kidlets alike.  I mean, what’s not to like about chicken thickly coated in a tasty sauce and served in a soft taco shell with lettuce, avocado cream, onions,  your favorite hot sauce, or whatever else your hungry little heart desires?

There was once a time when I rarely strayed from the usual ground beef and taco seasoning tacos.  But then I tried these.  And now I’m hooked.  The flavor is out of this world, and while the original recipe calls for all Goya brand products (usually found in the Hispanic shopping aisle of the grocery store), you really can use any brand you like.

Except for the Adobo seasoning.

But we’ll get to that in a minute.

Why haven’t I shared this recipe with you sooner?  Well, to be perfectly honest, it’s because every time I make it and try to take pictures, the photos turn out terrible.  I don’t understand it.  And I absotively, posolutely, cannot take a decent picture of a taco.

Did that sound dirty to anyone else?

And if you’re not into tacos (har-har), the chicken from these is great with nachos.  I’ve even added it to creamy cauliflower and garlic soup that had turned out pretty bland, and this gave it a great southwest kick.

Okay, NOTE:  The original recipe calls for bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, but I find it much easier to use boneless, skinless breasts.  The result is still very tender, cooked chicken, so I don’t really see the extra point of going through the work of dealing with the bones.  

To make it the way I did, you will need:

  • 2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder (I used regular chile powder since that’s what I have already — cut this amount back to taste if you don’t like things very spicy.)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 – 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Goya Adobo with Pepper, to taste
  • Flour or corn tortillas

See the Adobo seasoning?  It’s basically like a seasoned salt, and really yummy.  I highly recommend picking some of this up in the Hispanic food section of your grocery store.  Make sure you get the one that says “with pepper.”  You will very likely find yourself using it with more than just this recipe.

1.  In a small bowl, mix together the first 7 ingredients: 2 cans of tomato sauce, 2 teaspoons of white vinegar, minced garlic, 3 1/2 teaspoons of chile powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 2 teaspoons of oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar.  Don’t ask why there’s a full teaspoon of sugar in the above picture.  That was probably an accident.  A very happy accident.

Also sprinkle in some of your Adobo seasoning.  I’m pretty liberal with this stuff.  Feel free to taste your sauce as you go, so you see which flavors each seasoning is contributing to the overall taste.  It’s a good way to learn.

2.  Heat your 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a very large skillet over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle more Adobo seasoning over both sides of your chicken breasts, and when the skillet is hot, add the breasts and cook the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side until they’re lightly browned.  They will NOT be cooked through at this point, and that’s exactly how we want it.

3. Add the tomato sauce mixture to the pan and bring the liquid to a boil.

Honestly?  If you had the pan hot enough to begin with, the sauce will get hot pretty quickly.  Since tomato sauce tends to splatter when it boils, I usually just give it a quick stir, cover the chicken, and then turn the heat down to medium-low.  It’s VERY important that you cover the pan!  This will help your chicken get nice and tender.

Simmer it like this for about 10 minutes, then remove the lid ONCE to flip the breasts, then put the lid back on and don’t touch it again for another 10 minutes.  The chicken is cooked when it’s no longer pink inside.

4.  Once the chicken is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and set the chicken breasts on a plate or cutting board.  Leave the rest of the sauce inside the pan!  Use 2 forks to shred your chicken up into nice pieces.  If you did like I asked and left the lid to the pan alone, the chicken should shred pretty easily.

5.  Add the shredded chicken back into the pan, mix it around with the sauce, and let it cook (without the lid this time) over medium-low heat for about another 10 minutes until the sauce thickens up and begins to caramelize.

There really shouldn’t be much “loose” sauce in the bottom of the pan by the time it’s done — it will all be thick and coating the chicken.

Can I get a mmmmmmm?

That’s it!  Then you just stuff the chicken into your tortillas (preferably warmed), garnish with whatever you like, hold them in front of your mouth, then inhale until everything lands in your stomach.

I like mine pretty plain with sour cream or avocado cream (mashed avocados mixed with sour cream, salt, pepper, and garlic), but you could easily go with the works on these — lettuce, tomatoes, hot sauce, onion, lime, etc.

Wow, that photo doesn’t make these look very appetizing.  But trust me — they are.

These have replaced the brisket tacos I wrote about here.  Why?  Frankly, the chicken tacos are cheaper and I like them better.  The brisket tacos were easy since they were made in a slow-cooker, but… I don’t know.  You’ll just have to try these.  Then you’ll understand.

Here’s one with sauteed red and green peppers on a whole wheat tortilla.


And, like I said before, the meat is versatile.  Try the leftovers on cheesy baked nachos or in a creamy southwestern soup.

Let me know if you come up with some winning combinations.

I might be slightly addicted to this stuff.


**UPDATE:  Woohoo!  I found a still-not-great-but-halfway-decent-which-is-like-25%-more-decent-than-the-other-taco-pictures taco picture!  I was going through some old memory cards and found this one, which I must have taken yet another time I made these, apparently still searching for the ever elusive good picture of a taco.  Seriously, if you have any tips, I’d greatly appreciate it.  Thank you.

She still looks a little… I don’t know… sparse?  Naked?  This one has avocado cream, and I promise you — the flavor of the chicken combined with this is more than enough taste to go around.