Baked Chicken Verde Chimichanga

Good Lord do I ever love a chimichanga. I think I may have first had one back in my high school days at a local American-Mex joint called Chi-Chi’s. You know this was the type of place where all of us gringos thought we were having real Mexican food, only to realize years later that it was totally not, but only catered to us gringos, and the place would pack it in. Regardless, that’s where my love for the chimichanga was born. It’s essentially a deep fried burrito, loaded with goodness.

Instead of deep frying, I decided I would load these large flour tortillas up with some awesome chicken verde I made, along with rice and beans, and bake them, you know… to be a bit healthier than deep frying.

The result was awesome. Still crisp as you may expect from deep frying with way less the hassle.

Baked Chicken Chimichanga Recipe
Baked Chicken Chimichanga Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the salsa verde:

  • 5 whole tomatillos, husks removed
  • small handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, skin on
  • generous pinch of salt, to taste
  • 3 serrano chilies, seeds and ribs removed
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1/2 cup (or more of water)

Ingredients for the chicken chimichanga:

  • 3 whole chicken breasts
  • 5 large flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup of Mexican or Spanish rice, per chimichanga
  • 1/2 cup of cooked refried beans, per chimichanga
  • 8 oz bag of Mexican Chihuahua cheese
  • 8 oz bag of shredded cheddar cheese
  • hot sauce, optional
  • 1/4 cup of canola oil

Start by making your salsa verde. Add the tomatillos, garlic, and chilies to a roasting sheet. Place in a 450 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until they are nicely charred. Once cooked, remove them from the oven, let cool, then remove the skin from the garlic cloves. They should pretty much just slide on out.

During this time, add the chicken breasts to a large pot of water, bring to a simmer, and cook until the chicken is fully cooked through, about 25 minutes or longer. Once cooked through, remove the chicken breasts to a plate to let cool.

Place all of the salsa ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until you have a fine salsa. Taste and adjust any salt.

Clean out that chicken pot. Next, remove the skins from the chicken breasts and discard. Shred all of the chicken and return the shredded chicken back to the pot. Pour in the salsa verde, bring to a medium heat, stirring along the way, and cook for about 20 more minutes. TRUST ME, THIS CHICKEN BY ITSELF IS AWESOME.

Baked Chicken Chimichanga Recipe
Baked Chicken Chimichanga Recipe

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Take a flour tortilla and warm it on a skillet or in a microwave just until it softens. Once it is softened and more pliable, then it is time for the chimichanga making.

Lay the tortilla onto a plate, spread on the refried beans, add about a cup of chicken mixture (I use a slotted spoon to remove any excess salsa) onto the tortilla, closest to you, then add on the rice. Roll over a bit tightly, fold in the sides, and continue to roll until you have it seam side down. Lightly brush on some canola oil, and then repeat with any remaining tortillas. I made five for the family, but there is still plenty of chicken to be used for any leftovers, and as in my case enchiladas.

Take a baking sheet, add the chimichangas, and cook for about 15 minutes in the preheated oven. The goal is to get them nice and crisp. After about 15 minutes, remove, top with as much Chihuahua and cheddar cheese as you would like, and if you want, a bit more chicken mixture on top, and place back into the oven until the cheese is nicely melted.

Remove and serve. I topped mine with some nice habanero hot sauce for some kick.

The end result is everything I love about a chimichanga, and my entire family would agree. I don’t think anyone spoke at dinner time that evening as they devoured these things. If you are looking for a great meal, loaded with great flavor and texture, then give these baked chicken verde chimichangas a try. I’m certain you will love them!

 

Crawfish Etouffee

If there is one thing my oldest loves, it has got to be crawfish. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but he’s my pickiest of eaters, 16 now, and when he tore into eating crawfish years ago I was flabbergasted. So on his most recent birthday I decided we would do a crawfish boil. I ordered 10 pounds of live crawfish from the Louisiana Crawfish Company figuring the ‘party’ would devour the boil. As much as my kids and I ate, the others simply ate a small handful, meaning I would plenty leftover. My kids and I probably spent a good 45 minutes, post party, peeling (and sucking the head juices) the tails to be used for a later dish. That dish being crawfish etouffe.

Crawfish Etoufee Recipe
Crawfish Etoufee Recipe

If you have never heard, nor tried crawfish etoufee, it is a standard dish found in the creole or cajun area of our nation. It’s almost a staple. Etouffee is translated to ‘smother’ in French terms, and I make mine with a darker roux only to deepen the flavor and making this a super comforting recipe.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (8 tbsp)
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 cups of celery, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup of green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp creole spice mix
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt, to your taste
  • 2 lbs crawfish tails (if frozen, make sure they are thawed)
  • Cooked jasmine rice, per serving
  • Flat leaf parsley, for garnishing

Sounds like a bunch of stuff, but it’s really pretty basic, and trust me it’s full of comfort.

Start by getting a large pot onto the stove on medium heat. Add in your butter, and melt it down. Once you begin seeing the butter foam, tilt the pot, and use a spoon to skim off just the top of the foam. Discard the foam. Return the pot back to the heat, and toss in the flour.

Stir the flour into the butter, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring along the way. The flour will become blonde, then begin to darken a bit. Just be careful not to burn the flour.

Add in your onion, celery, bay leaf, garlic, carrot, and tomatoes, and cook for about 10-15 minutes in the roux, stirring along the way. Cook until the onions become translucent.

Ingredients for making Crawfish Etoufee Recipe
Ingredients for making Crawfish Etoufee Recipe

Once the onions turn translucent, add in the black pepper, salt, and cajun seasoning. Give a good stir, then add in your chicken stock. Stir well, and continue cooking on medium heat until the sauce thickens. I love this part and always have.

Once the sauce thickens, add in the crawfish tails. Stir again, and once the crawfish are warmed through, roughly 5 minutes or so, you are then ready to plate and serve.

Some like to serve rice on top, but my preference is to let the crawfish etouffee shine and serve on top of cooked rice.

So get a serving bowl ready, add in some cooked jasmine rice, and ladle on a nice pile of crawfish etouffee. Garnish with chopped parsley and dig in!

As much as my kids loved tearing through boiled crawfish, I cannot say they were much fans of this particular dish. Most likely due to the stew like texture. My wife and I on the other hand? Well, we imagined ourselves being back in New Orleans, walking the streets all day, and ending up in a great restaurant eating one of their famous dishes; crawfish etouffee.  I hope you enjoy!

Crawfish Etouffee
Author: 
Cuisine: Cajun or Creole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (8 tbsp)
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 cups of celery, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup of green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1½ cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp creole spice mix
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt, to your taste
  • 2 lbs crawfish tails (if frozen, make sure they are thawed)
  • Cooked jasmine rice, per serving
  • Flat leaf parsley, for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Start by getting a large pot onto the stove on medium heat. Add in your butter, and melt it down. Once you begin seeing the butter foam, tilt the pot, and use a spoon to skim off just the top of the foam. Discard the foam. Return the pot back to the heat, and toss in the flour.
  2. Stir the flour into the butter, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring along the way. The flour will become blonde, then begin to darken a bit. Just be careful not to burn the flour.
  3. Add in your onion, celery, bay leaf, garlic, carrot, and tomatoes, and cook for about 10-15 minutes in the roux, stirring along the way. Cook until the onions become translucent.
  4. Once the onions turn translucent, add in the black pepper, salt, and cajun seasoning. Give a good stir, then add in your chicken stock. Stir well, and continue cooking on medium heat until the sauce thickens. I love this part and always have.
  5. Once the sauce thickens, add in the crawfish tails. Stir again, and once the crawfish are warmed through, roughly 5 minutes or so, you are then ready to plate and serve.
  6. Some like to serve rice on top, but my preference is to let the crawfish etouffee shine and serve on top of cooked rice.
  7. So get a serving bowl ready, add in some cooked jasmine rice, and ladle on a nice pile of crawfish etouffee. Garnish with chopped parsley and dig in!

 

Chinese Orange Chicken

It was not too long ago when we went to visit my wife’s uncle who was in town visiting. Chinese food was on the menu, and there was one thing, the orange chicken, where I could not get enough of. There is something about this Chinese orange chicken that just has you coming back for more. I’m not sure if it is the sauce, or the crispy nuggets of chicken. Heck, it’s probably the combination that got me. So after I have made lemon chicken, which is somewhat similar, I decided to take my stab at making this delicious recipe.

Chinese Orange Chicken Recipe
Chinese Orange Chicken Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 2 cups of canola oil, plus 1 additional tbsp
  • ½ cup corn starch, plus 1 additional tbsp
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing rice wine
  • 3 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
  • ½ tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • zest of 2 oranges, juice of 1 orange
  • Cooked jasmine rice

Start by making the sauce. To a small mixing bowl, add the soy sauce, dark sesame oil, sugar, vinegar, orange zest, one tablespoon of corn starch, and orange juice. Stir to incorporate all of the ingredients. Set the mixture to the side until it is ready to use.

Next, get a dredging station together. To one bowl, mix the eggs, salt, and black pepper.  To another bowl, mix the flour and cornstarch.

To a frying pan, add the 2 cups of canola and bring it to a medium heat. Once your oil reaches 350 degrees, you are ready to fry the chicken. During this time, add the chicken pieces to the egg mixture, lift up and allow the egg mixture to drip off a bit, then add into the flour mixture, making sure you coat the chicken. Gently shake off any excess flour mixture, the place into the preheated frying pan.

Do this in batches. Cook for a few minutes, until nice and golden brown. Remove with your kitchen spider or slotted spoon, and place onto a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Chinese Orange Chicken Ingredients
Chinese Orange Chicken Ingredients

After all of the chicken is cooked, take another large skillet, and add the additional oil.

Heat to a medium heat, then toss in the ginger and garlic paste. Cook for about 30 seconds, then mix in the green onions and chili flakes. Add the Chinese rice wine, give a good stir, then add in the sauce mixture. Cook for about 5 minutes to let the sauce thicken, and the sugar dissolve. Once you have accomplished that, add in the chicken pieces, give a good stir, and serve over jasmine rice.

Did this remind me of the Chinese orange chicken weeks ago? Yes. Was it better? Yes. Did it quiet my kitchen table from all of my hungry eaters? Yes.

If you are looking for a spectacular orange chicken recipe, and one that is super easy to make, give this one a try. It will satisfy your Chinese food cravings, plus it feeds a small army. Hope you enjoy!

Chinese Orange Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: Chicken
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1½″ pieces
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 2 cups of canola oil, plus 1 additional tbsp
  • ½ cup corn starch, plus 1 additional tbsp
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing rice wine
  • 3 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
  • ½ tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Ingredients for the sauce:
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp water
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • zest of 2 oranges, juice of 1 orange
  • Cooked jasmine rice
Instructions
  1. Start by making the sauce. To a small mixing bowl, add the soy sauce, dark sesame oil, sugar, vinegar, orange zest, one tablespoon of corn starch, and orange juice. Stir to incorporate all of the ingredients. Set the mixture to the side until it is ready to use.
  2. Next, get a dredging station together. To one bowl, mix the eggs, salt, and black pepper. To another bowl, mix the flour and cornstarch.
  3. To a frying pan, add the 2 cups of canola and bring it to a medium heat. Once your oil reaches 350 degrees, you are ready to fry the chicken. During this time, add the chicken pieces to the egg mixture, lift up and allow the egg mixture to drip off a bit, then add into the flour mixture, making sure you coat the chicken. Gently shake off any excess flour mixture, the place into the preheated frying pan.
  4. Do this in batches. Cook for a few minutes, until nice and golden brown. Remove with your kitchen spider or slotted spoon, and place onto a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  5. After all of the chicken is cooked, take another large skillet, and add the additional oil.
  6. Heat to a medium heat, then toss in the ginger and garlic paste. Cook for about 30 seconds, then mix in the green onions and chili flakes. Add the Chinese rice wine, give a good stir, then add in the sauce mixture. Cook for about 5 minutes to let the sauce thicken, and the sugar dissolve. Once you have accomplished that, add in the chicken pieces, give a good stir, and serve over jasmine rice.

 

African Style Rice

I know what you must be thinking (maybe), ‘why is Dax posting about an African style rice recipe when it is so close to Cinco de Mayo! Shouldn’t he be posting about some Mexican recipe instead!?’.  I thought the same thing, for only a second, but this recipe is too good not to post. Of course I will be knocking out some sort of Mexican torta in a couple of days, but in the meantime, the focus is on an African style rice dish that is loaded with awesome spices.

This recipe was inspired by a couple of different thoughts. One being the chicken suqaar sandwich and some flavors of Indian food that I recently had. When the two came together, it was a match made in heaven. This is a recipe that is a one pot meal, and one that you could eat throughout the day, or week. It makes plenty and has you questioning the spice blend.

African Style Rice Recipe
African Style Rice Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of basmati rice, soaked in water
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 6 cardamom pods, seeds only
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced (or substitute boneless/skinless thighs)
  • 2 cups of chicken stock

Start by adding the rice to a bowl, and cover with cold water. Set this to the side as you prepare the rest of your dish.

Heat a large skillet (enough to hold all of the chicken, vegetables, and rice), on medium heat and add in the canola oil. Let the oil heat up for a minute or so, then add in the diced onions. Cook these for about 7 minutes, or until they just begin to caramelize.

Now add in the garlic, ginger, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, star anise, cumin, black pepper, and turmeric powder. Give these a good stir, and cook for about a minute so they release their oils. Give this a good smell. Don’t you love it?

Toss in the tomatoes and chicken, and give a good stir.

African Style Rice Recipe
African Style Rice Recipe

Strain the rice, then add the rice to the mixture. Give this another good stir, then add in the chicken stock. Stir again, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the rice and chicken has fully cooked.

Remove the lid, stir, and give it a taste. If the rice is cooked, great, if not, cook a bit longer. Season with any additional salt.

I served mine as a main course, alongside some Indian mixed pickles to bring a nice accent to the dish.

This African style rice was pretty darn awesome, and pretty to boot due to the turmeric. Hope you enjoy.

African Style Rice
Author: 
Cuisine: African
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of basmati rice, soaked in water
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 6 cardamom pods, seeds only
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • ½ tbsp turmeric powder
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced (or substitute boneless/skinless thighs)
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the rice to a bowl, and cover with cold water. Set this to the side as you prepare the rest of your dish.
  2. Heat a large skillet (enough to hold all of the chicken, vegetables, and rice), on medium heat and add in the canola oil. Let the oil heat up for a minute or so, then add in the diced onions. Cook these for about 7 minutes, or until they just begin to caramelize.
  3. Now add in the garlic, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, star anise, cumin, black pepper, and turmeric powder. Give these a good stir, and cook for about a minute so they release their oils. Give this a good smell. Don’t you love it?
  4. Toss in the tomatoes and chicken, and give a good stir.
  5. Strain the rice, then add the rice to the mixture. Give this another good stir, then add in the chicken stock. Stir again, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the rice and chicken has fully cooked.
  6. Remove the lid, stir, and give it a taste. If the rice is cooked, great, if not, cook a bit longer. Season with any additional salt.
  7. I served mine as a main course, alongside some Indian mixed pickles to bring a nice accent to the dish.