Friday, October 12, 2012

Baked Chicken Flautas with Spanish Rice, Refried Beans, and Cilantro Cream Sauce

Yesterday, I got a serious craving for some Mexican food.  I'd pinned a yummy looking recipe for Baked Chicken Flautas some time ago...and decided to make them last night for dinner. 

Wow...these were really good.  Baked...not fried!  Which means they are healthier...but not short on flavor at all.  I did make a few changes from the original.  I added some canned, diced green chiles instead of jalapeno...less heat for my kiddos.  I used half a package of taco seasoning for 8 chicken thighs because every time I leave the spice cabinet open, my little wee one runs off with a (gasp!) glass jar of something.  I decided to play it safe!  And I used fajita sized tortillas instead of burrito sized ones cut in half...just because I though it would be less prep time. 
There's plenty of meat leftover to make more, or you can freeze it to make something else later.  We are definitely going to make these again sometime!
Baked Chicken Flautas with Spanish Rice, Refried Beans, and Cilantro Cream Sauce
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (use chicken breasts if you prefer)
1 bottle of beer
2 cans low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups fresh spinach
Fajita sized tortillas
1/2 to one whole package of taco seasoning mix (I usually go light on it)
8 ounces (1 large can, or 2 smaller cans) diced green chiles 
Queso quesadilla (found right in the shredded cheese section)
Bring the beer and chicken broth to a boil over high heat.  Add the chicken.  When the liquid comes back to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.  Let cool and shred meat with your fingers.  Mix in the taco seasoning and green chiles.  Reserve 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the cooking broth.  Bring it back to a simmer, add the spinach and stir for a couple of minutes or until bright green and wilted.  Remove from the pot, drain excess liquid, and roughly chop.  Set aside.
Oil a large baking sheet, and preheat the oven to 450.  Spread out one flour tortilla and put 1 tablespoon of chicken in the middle.  Add 2 tablespoons of queso quesadilla and a bit of spinach (you can leave it out for all the spinach haters in your house).  Roll up very tightly, and place seam side down on the baking sheet.  Repeat until you've made enough for your crew...I made 12, and it was just enough.

Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, turn the flautas over, and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until light golden brown and crispy.  Mine only needed 15 minutes of baking.

Serve warm with salsa, guacamole, or this awesome Cilantro Cream Sauce.  It's our favorite! 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, diced small
1 cup long-grain white rice (substitute brown rice if you prefer, but add and additional 1/4 cup broth and at least 30 minutes to the cooking time)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 envelope Sazon seasoning mix (optional--I really like the flavor and color it adds to the rice.  You can find it in the international/mexican aisle)
In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over moderate heat.  Add the onion and carrot and let it saute for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and rice, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Carefully pour in the chicken broth, the tomato paste, salt and pepper, and Sazon if desired.  Stir once or twice, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the rice is tender, and all the broth is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork and serve. 
Open a can of premade refried beans.   Or make some from scratch.  Either way, there's no judgement here.  :-) 
Four out of my 5 kids gobbled these flautas up.  Rebecca ate nearly 3, with rice and beans...I only ate 2!  Goodness gracious.  Didn't someone invent a way to stop kids from growing yet? ;-).
Okay...I hope you satisfy your own craving for some tasty...and healty...Mexican food.  God bless your table tonight!