Sunday, August 14, 2016

Week 27 - Tacos

We have plenty of taco nights at our house, so when the Week 27 theme came up with tacos, I was all smiles. I had already picked out a new taco recipe I wanted to try - these chicken fajitas from the Food Network Kitchens - so this was probably one of the easiest recent challenges to figure out.

I used the Food Network's recipe as a starting point and basic guide for cooking the chicken, but adapted it, like we do for most recipes. The ingredients we used were:

- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided ($0.40)
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts ($3)
- taco seasoning, about 1-1.5 tbsp ($0.15)
- 2 bell peppers, sliced ($1.22)
- 1 onion, sliced ($0.50)
- salt ($0.03)
- garlic powder ($0.05)
- 4 tortillas ($0.30)
- pico de gallo ($2)
- sour cream ($0.80)
- Mexican shredded cheese ($1.75)

The total for taco night was about $10.20, including all the toppings (which will be covered more in-depth in another post). We each had 2 (very full) tacos, plus another plate of chicken and toppings without tortillas. Although I had hoped that it would be under $10, this wasn't a bad total for dinner.

The steps for making the tacos were:

1. Prep - slice peppers and onions, rub chicken with taco seasoning, preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in skillet. Add chicken and cook, turning every couple of minutes, for about 5-7 minutes. (Our pieces of chicken were really thick on one end, so I left them in a little longer. It should look golden and not raw in any part.)

3. Line baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Add chicken and bake for about 10 minutes at 425 degrees.

4. While chicken is baking, in the same skillet, add the rest of the olive oil. Once heated, add onions and bell peppers, and toss with salt and garlic powder. Saute peppers and onions until softened, about 12-15 minutes over medium heat. (Basically cook until they have the consistency of the fajita vegetables you'd get at a restaurant. That was how I measured it.)

5. While chicken is baking and vegetables are cooking, heat tortillas individually in a small skillet (no oil).

6. Once chicken is done, allow it to rest for a few minutes, and then slice chicken.

7. Assemble tacos - tortilla, sliced chicken, peppers and onions, sour cream, pico de gallo, and cheese.

These were some fully loaded tacos, unlike a lot of the tacos we often have, which have no sour cream or cheese or pico de gallo. I really liked this combination, and considering it didn't cook on one of those fajita hot plates, I thought it was a pretty good approximation of the flavors. What I was happiest about was the fact that the chicken wasn't dry at all. I haven't really made chicken like this - cooking in a skillet and then finishing it off in the oven - but I probably should do it more, as the texture was great and it was really juicy. The only thing missing from the "fajita" portion was guacamole, but that would have also increased the cost by quite a bit. This whole meal was a great taco night combination, and I would definitely do this again.

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