Easy Shredded Mexican Chicken for Tortilla Salads or Burritos

Taco Chicken in Crock Pot

I made this chicken as one of the toppings for my Homemade Chipotle-Style Buffet & Tortilla Salad (Lots of Vegetarian Options) dinner. While I made this in the crock-pot, it can be made on the stove-top too. 3-ingredients is all it takes, and it can be used to top salads, tacos, stuff burritos, make nachos, or served on top of rice or quinoa. The leftovers freeze well, so make a batch and stock up.

Easy Shredded Mexican Chicken

(Serves 10-12 as a salad topping)

  • 2 lbs skinless & boneless chicken thighs ( use chicken breast if you prefer that)
  • 1-2 Tbsp taco seasoning
  • 3 cups salsa

1) Spray the insides of a 4-5 quart crock-pot insert with non-stick spray.

2) Add the chicken, salsa & seasoning and mix well.

3) Cook on LOW for 4 hours without opening the lid.

4) Check for doneness at end of 4 hours and shred with 2 forks.

5) Adjust the seasoning as needed and cook for another 30 minutes if necessary.

STOVE-TOP METHOD:

1) Mix chicken, salsa & seasoning in a wide pan with a lid.

2) Top with about 1/2 cup broth/water and bring to a boil.

3) Reduce the heat and cook for about 15-20 minutes on low. [Keep the lid slightly tilted so that some of the moisture and steam can escape.]

4) Shred with two forks and adjust seasoning as needed.

5) Put back in the pan and saute on medium-high for another 3-5 minutes and serve.

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Tofu Sofritas (Vegan)

Tofu Sofritos

Original Chipotle Tofu Sofritas is braised (seared on high heat in fat, then simmered in a liquid) in a combination of spicy peppers and spices. While I would have loved to replicate the exact recipe, I didn’t want to buy 1-use ingredients like poblano, adobo, etc. This version here is quite close in taste, but easier and not as saucy as the original. You can use store bought taco seasoning or make your own blend with ingredients at home.

Tofu Sofritas

  • 1 (16 oz) extra firm tofu (if not available, use firm)
  • 3-4 Tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion (chopped fine)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 Tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1-1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/3 cup salsa (or 2 Tbsp tomato paste & 2 Tbsp water/stock/beer mixed together)
  • salt to taste

1) Drain tofu from package and press to remove as much moisture as possible.

2) Move to a bowl and crumble the tofu with your hands or a fork.

3) Mix in the taco seasoning, red chilli powder, cumin and oregano.

4) Heat a wide & thick-bottom pan, and add oil.

5) Add the minced garlic and saute till golden. Do not burn it.

6) Add the chopped onions and saute on medium-high till it starts to brown lightly.

7) Now add the seasoned tofu and stir fry on medium-high for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Add another teaspoon or two of oil if the tofu mix sticks to the bottom of the pan.

8) Add in the salsa or tomato paste mixture and mix well. Continue stir frying till well incorporated and the mixture is almost dry. Adjust salt to taste. Top with chopped cilantro if you like.

This can be served on a salad, in a burrito, as a lettuce wrap, or with rice or quinoa.

For serving suggestions, and to see other related recipes, see my post on Homemade Chioptle-Style Buffet & Tortilla Salad (Lots of vegetarian options)

An Indian Holiday Feast

Hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving break. It’s the start of the season of over-indulgence! Thanksgiving weekend was filled with good food, drinks, family, friends, shopping, gossip & spending time with three precious little nieces. While we have the traditional meal with all the accompaniments each year, I’ve never really been a fan of turkey. I had seen recipes for (east)Indian spiced turkey several times, and had also been meaning to try roasting a cornish hen for several years. I decided to try to meld both together and improvised along the way. The results were a delicious & colorful meal that worked for our taste buds :). And it was easy enough to make for a weeknight meal.

Tandoori Cornish Hen

The menu included:

For dessert, we had warm and sweet Gulab Jamoons 🙂

[Scroll down for recipes of items that are not hyperlinked.]

Tandoori Cornish Hen

Masala Corn

  • 1 cup corn kernels (cooked and drained) – I buy frozen roasted corn kernels from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • salt to taste (use black salt / kala namak if available for a better flavor)
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • cilantro for garnish

Mix all ingredients well and serve. The measurements are just a guide – adjust as per your taste.

 Peas & Carrot Pulao

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small onion – sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp green chilli paste (or 1 green chilli – slit)
  • 1/4 cup peas
  • 1/4 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 tsp salt to taste

1) Heat oil in a medium pan and add the cumin seeds. Allow it to sizzle and pop for a few seconds.

2) Add the onion, ginger and green chilli. Saute on medium-high till translucent, stirring often.

3) Add the carrots and salt, and saute for 2 minutes.

4) Add the peas and cook for another 2 minutes.

5) Add the rice and saute for 1-2 minutes till it changes color.

6) Add 1 1/2 cups (one and a half) water and bring to boil.

7) As soon as the water comes to boil, stir once, reduce heat to LOW, and cook covered for about 12-15 minutes. Do not open the lid during this time. At end of cook time, open lid and gently fluff the rice with a spoon or fork. Check for doneness. Keep covered till ready to serve.

Raita

This recipe was given to me by my friend Sandhya’s mom and it is my most favorite raita recipe.

  • 1/2 medium grated cucumber
  • 1 cup greek yogurt / strained yogurt
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small dry red chilli
  • 2 Tbsp grated coconut
  • salt to taste

1) Wash, peel & grate the cucumber and drain for a few minutes.

2) In a small blender bowl, add half the yogurt, cumin, chilli & coconut and blend till smooth.

3) Mix all ingredients together and salt to taste.

NOTE: If you use regular yogurt, squeeze out the water from the cucumber before mixing in.

Kachumber

Kachumber

Depending on the region, Indian food is served with a small plate of sliced raw onions, tomatoes, radish, green chilli, lemon/ lime wedges and cilantro. While this is primarily a North Indian offering, my family (and many others I know from the South) usually serves this ‘salad’ with meat dishes. It’s not uncommon for rural diets to include these fresh raw vegetables with their roti or flatbread (made from rice, wheat, corn, buckwheat, maize, etc) as it make for a sharp accompaniment and travels well.

My husband is an onion-lover of the first degree and I hate them! As simple as this dish is, it’s a treat for him when I make some kachumber. He swears that a few pieces of raw onion, a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of cilantro takes food to a whole new level. You can click here to see the Oven Roasted Tandoori Cornish Hen recipe and the complete menu that I served this Kachumber with.

Kachumber

  • 1 medium red onion – sliced
  • 1/2 medium tomato – seeded and cut into wedges
  • 1-2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp chaat masala OR salt to taste
  • lemon juice to taste
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped green chilli (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve.

Cocktail Papadums & Carrot Salad

Cocktail Papadums & Carrot Salad

As promised – here is the next easy appetizer idea. Most Indians will be familiar with some version of this carrot salad. You can add in seeded & finely chopped tomatoes, or sprouted mung beans. I have just added a small twist to how it’s served. Cocktail Papadums (mini papads) are available at most Indian grocery stores. If not, you can use tortilla chips / scoops.

These papads and the salad can be made ahead of time and assembled just before serving. Hope this helps make your entertaining easier :)).

Cocktail Papadums & Carrot Salad

Cocktail Papadums & Carrot Salad

(serves 4-6)

  • 1/2 packet cocktail papadums (fried and drained)
  • 2 large carrots (peeled & grated)
  • 1 small red onion (finely chopped)
  • 1-2 green chillies (finely chopped)
  • 2-3 Tbsp cilantro (finely chopped)
  • salt to taste
  • lemon juice to taste
  • 1 medium tomato (seeded & finely diced) – optional
  • 1/2 cup sprouted mung beans – optional

This recipe is more a guide than an actual measurement:

1) Fry cocktail papadums and drain on paper towels. Store in a paper towel lined air tight container for up to 2 days. (If you cannot find mini papadums/papads,  I suppose you could get away with tortilla chips/scoops.)

2) In a bowl, mix together the grated carrots, onion, green chillies and mung beans (if using). Refrigerate till ready to serve.

3) Just before serving, add the salt, lemon juice & tomato and gently mix with a fork. (Remember that tomatoes will release moisture and make the carrot mix soggy after a while. I generally avoid it if I expect the mix to sit for a while.)

4) Serve in a bowl on a plate with the papads. Guests can fix their own bite size snack.

Cocktail Papadums

Growing up, this was something we occasionally had as Sunday breakfast to give my mom a break from cooking. We slathered our bread with ghee and toasted it on the griddle till it was golden and crunchy, and topped it with this spicy carrot salad. I still enjoy this salad, but without the bread!

Marinated Tomato Salad

Marinated Tomato Salad

With the mild summer this year, I’m sure most home gardeners are being blessed with a late but bumper crop of tomatoes this month. We got our first harvest in August, and there has been no looking back. The two cherry tomato plants we put in this year have  multiplied and pretty much taken over the vegetable patch like weeds. The one beef-steak tomato plant is thriving too and it’s fruit is humungous, juicy & delicious. After sharing plenty with family & friends, and freezing a couple bottles full of sauce, we are still going strong.

Today's Harvest

Today’s Harvest

Snuffles waiting for treats

Snuffles waiting for treats

Overgrown Tomato Plants

Overgrown Tomato Plants

Looking online, I came across this recipe for an interesting tomato salad. Although I didn’t have everything mentioned, I used the basic idea and tweaked it to suit our tastes. I must say – this is YUMMY!! Really easy to put together, this salad is made ahead of time and it must sit for a few hours at room temperature for all the flavors to come together. The marinade/juices can be sopped up with some crusty bread. I’ll definitely make it again when we have company for the last few barbecues this fall.

I had this for lunch with Cold Sesame Noodles in Spicy Peanut Sauce. I know – different cuisines, but it worked for me :).

Marinated Tomato Salad

(Serves 4-5)

Marinated Tomato Salad

  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes (or other red variety of choice)
  • 1 Tbsp parsley (finely chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp basil (finely chopped)
  • 2 whole green onions/scallions (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp dry oregano (original recipe called for thyme, but I didn’t have any)
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional – I like my food spicy)
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • salt to taste

1) Wash & drain the tomatoes. Cut cherry tomatoes in half, or larger tomatoes into wedges.

2) In a large bowl, whisk all marinade ingredients until well incorporated.

3) Gently toss tomatoes and cover bowl.

4) Marinate at room temperature for several hours, stirring occasionally.

NOTE: Can be served with a piece of crusty bread to sop the juices. Next time, I might add a little shredded mozzarella too.

Jicama Salad with Thai Spices

Jicama Salad with Thai Spices

After the carb-overload from Memorial Day weekend, this salad has made a steady appearance on my plate this week. Spinach salad gets old soon, I still haven’t developed a taste for kale, and I refuse to eat lettuce! I mean – why?!?! Seriously – why?  🙂 I’d much rather eat a bowl of steamed veggies. Anyway, I generally shop at the local international supermarket, and see so many different varieties of produce. I have finally decided to try atleast one new thing each month, and hopefully make something worth sharing here. I had seen many recipes using Jicama on Pinterest, and figured it would be a good idea to make a salad or stir fry with. Originating from Mexico, this root vegetable is slightly sweet and crunchy – almost like a mix between an apple and a potato. It can be eaten raw or cooked, and does not change color or texture even after cutting and saving in the refrigerator for a few days. Turns out it is pretty inexpensive too – under $1/lb. Choose one that is firm and heavy, without any bruises or mold. To use, cut the top and bottom to level on chopping board. Then, make small slits and peel off the thin brown skin.

According to the USDA National Nutrition Database, 100 gms of jicama has only 38 calories; approx. 8 gms carbs; approx. 5 gms fiber; 20 mg Vit C. 

Jicama Info

(photo from http://bonnieplants.com)

Jicama Salad with Thai Spices

(Serves 2)

All ingredients are to taste, so I am skipping measurements. This salad is light, crunchy, and healthy. Plus, it holds its texture and color very well. I julienned a medium jicama on Monday, and it stayed the same till this afternoon (what you see in the photos). Store bought julienned carrots were used. To keep apples from browning, drop into a bowl of Sprite or any lemon-lime soda immediately after cutting and soak for a few minutes (I save the large bottles that go flat after opening for a party). Drain completely, and the apples will not darken for several hours. Alternately, you can just grate all the veggies using the larger holes in your grater.

Jicama Salad with Thai Spices

  • 1 small to medium jicama
  • 1 medium apple of choice (I used green Granny Smith as it crisp)
  • Julienned carrots
  • Finely chopped green / Thai chili
  • Finely grated ginger
  • Fish sauce (you can probably substitute soy sauce or just plain salt, but the flavor will be different)
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Sugar (optional – about 1/2 tsp)
  • Roasted chopped peanuts (salted or unsalted)

Toss all ingredients in a bowl, and top with more roasted peanuts and cilantro.