Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Mexican food is my favorite type to eat and cook, and my husband loves it too, but the funny thing is he had never really had it until we started dating! Honestly. The closest thing they had to a Mexican restaurant where he grew up was Taco Bell so...yeah...I have had the extreme pleasure of expanding his palette ever since! We love a good ‘street style’ taco, so when I saw the mini corn tortillas in the store, I had to snatch them up and make some tacos happen. 

Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Chipotle Chicken Tacos // Serves 4-6

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce*

Juice of half a lime

¼ c water

1 tsp cinnamon

1 ½ tsp cumin

2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 T Mexican oregano

2 tsp Spanish paprika

2 tsp smoked paprika

¾ tsp kosher salt

2 T vegetable oil

Corn tortillas

Pico de gallo, limes, & avocado to serve

*I never use more than 1 or 2 chipotle peppers at a time because I cannot handle any more than that in a recipe, so when I open a new can, I just freeze the rest and use as needed!

Cut chicken into 4 oz pieces and place in a large zip-top plastic bag with the top rolled open; set aside. In the bowl of your food processor, combine chipotle pepper, lime juice, water, cinnamon, garlic, oregano, paprika, salt, and oil, pulsing to combine. Pour marinade over chicken, seal bag, and turn to coat chicken completely; place in fridge and marinate at least one hour, and up to four hours.

Prepare pico de gallo while you wait - it’s so easy to make your own! Just dice tomatoes and onions, and combine with minced garlic, cilantro, serrano pepper, lime juice, and salt. I like a little more tomatoes than onions, then add the rest to taste. Slice avocados and limes for tacos.

Preheat indoor grill pan(or BBQ!) to medium-high heat and lightly coat with olive oil spray. Remove chicken from marinade and place on hot grill; discard remaining marinade. Cook chicken through, 4-5 minutes on each side, depending on thickness. Remove from grill and let rest while you heat up the tortillas - you can do them one by one in a pan, or wrap them up in the damp towel and microwave until nice and soft. Slice chicken and place on tortillas with avocado, pico de gallo, and serve with lime wedges.

Chipotle Chicken Tacos

To round out the meal, I served corn on the cob with cojita cheese, along with some corn chips to dip in the extra salsa! Tacos are a staple in our home, so I love putting new twists on them - try it for your family on the next ‘Taco Tuesday’, and if you’re worried about the spice, don’t be, I rarely make anything a 6-year old couldn’t handle since that’s pretty much what I can handle!

With a full heart and an empty plate,

Katie

 

Comment

Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes w. Fresh Lemon Curd

I was inspired to make these after yet another conversation with my husband about our favorite spots and dishes in New York. I woke up the next morning with ambition and, oddly enough, all the ingredients needed to create a version of the lemon ricotta pancakes from Locanda Verde in Tribeca. Full disclosure: this recipe takes time and quite a few dishes, but it is totally worth it.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes // Serves 4-6

¼ c unsalted butter

1 c milk, whatever kind you keep in your fridge (some fat content is good)

1 1/4 c flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp fine sea salt

3 eggs, separated

2 T sugar

Zest of 2 lemons

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup ricotta

Lemon curd(recipe below)*

Blueberries for serving

*If making both recipes in the morning, make lemon curd first, then warm to serve as needed

Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan placed over medium heat and allow butter to completely melt; remove from heat. Alternatively, microwave in 30 second increments until butter has melted and set aside.

In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and ½ teaspoon of the salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1 T sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla. Measure out the ricotta cheese and set aside to come to room temperature while you continue with the recipe. Pour a little of the milk mixture into the eggs, whisking continuously, to temper them. Slowly pour in the remainder of the milk, whisking until completely incorporated. Add the flour and whisk to just combine, but ensuring the batter is smooth; set aside.

Place the egg whites in a bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl if you want to get your arm workout in! Whisk until they start to become solid white and foamy, then add in the remaining 1 T sugar and the ½ tsp salt. Whisk on high until soft peaks form - you want them to be thick enough to hold their shape, but still bend over like a soft serve ice cream cone(I apologize that I now have you thinking about ice cream). Add the whipped egg whites to the batter and gently fold in with a rubber spatula. Add the ricotta and continue to fold in until mostly incorporated, but with some pieces of ricotta throughout - you don’t want a completely smooth batter!

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and coat with whatever you please (butter is always my favorite). Pour about ¼ c of the batter onto the hot pan for each pancake and cook until golden brown and bubbles begin to form and pop on top; flip and cook 2-3 minutes longer.

Serve with warm lemon curd, fresh blueberries, a dusting of powdered sugar...and know that it won't be the last time you make these because your family will not let it be.

Lemon Curd // Makes appx. 1 cup

3 T unsalted butter, softened

½ c sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

Juice of 2 lemons (or generous 5 T, depending on the juiciness of yours!)

Zest of ½ lemon

Using either a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until well combined and light. Add in egg and yolk and beat for 1 minute. Mix in the lemon juice to combine; this will make the mixture look curdled and a little icky, but I promise you that it cooks out smooth as the butter melts(I even proved it with the picture below). Place mixture in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until smooth.

Cooking Lemon Curd

Increase the heat to medium, stirring continuously as it cooks and thickens, until the mixture is bright yellow, thick enough that a swipe of your finger leaves a solid line on the back of the spoon and reads about 170 degrees*.

Finished Lemon Curd

Remove from heat and stir in the zest; transfer to a bowl to use right away. If keeping for a later use, transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid, allow to cool slightly, then press a piece of plastic wrap right down onto the curd to prevent a layer of film from forming. Put the lid on and place in the refrigerator and store for up to a week.

*Be careful in this phase as it can start to stick to the bottom(it happened to me!). If this is the case for you, continue to cook until it’s thick, but be careful not to scrape too much off of the bottom. Before stirring in the zest, press the curd through a fine-mesh sieve to create a completely smooth product, then continue with the remaining steps.

Lemon Curd

This is the first time I had ever attempted curd, and it was much easier than I expected, however, it is not a recipe you can make while distracted as it can boil or burn quickly! I have never been much of a lemon person when it comes to desserts, so I am glad the quest to recreate a restaurant dish forced me to step out of that box!  This recipe will work with any citrus you like so go crazy this summer with a fresh take on it - maybe use it to top cheesecake or to add some zip to a strawberry shortcake - whatever you try, have fun and share it with the people you love.

With a full heart and an empty plate,

Katie

Comment

Quick Summer Pasta w. Lemon & Capers

Lemon Caper Pasta

This is almost a one-pot meal, which I love for summertime. The second pot just comes in to cook up the pasta; the fewer burners on, the better! This is a great base pasta and you can add anything you like depending on your tastes (or whatever is leftover in your fridge on a Saturday afternoon!). 

Lemon-Caper Pasta // Serves 4

8oz uncooked penne or other shorter, sturdy variety (I used whole wheat)

1 T olive oil

5-6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

1 shallot, thinly sliced

1 - 15oz can white beans (Cannellini or Great Northern), rinsed & drained

1 - 10oz bag baby spinach, or a fresh bunch from the market!

1.5 T drained capers, roughly chopped

1 T lemon zest, from about 2 lemons

Juice of 1 lemon or to taste

Salt & fresh-cracked pepper

Parmesan Reggiano 

Optional mix-ins/substitutions: sun dried or grape tomatoes, olives, kale, feta

Bring a large pot of water to boil and generously salt just before adding pasta; cook according to package directions. Before draining, scoop out a 1/2 cup of the cooking water and reserve; drain pasta.

Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and shallots and cook until garlic is browned and onions begin to soften, 2-3 minutes. While cooking, remove any unwanted stems and clean spinach if needed. Add in the beans and a 1/4 c of the reserved water, stirring to heat through. Add in all of the spinach (this is where that large, deep skillet comes in handy!), sprinkle with salt (I used a nice Applewood smoked salt) and use tongs to toss all the ingredients together continuously, until the spinach is just wilted. Add the pasta, capers, zest, lemon juice, and pepper (and any of your own additions). Toss to combine and taste for seasoning. Shave fresh parmesan over top, using a vegetable peeler for nice, wide pieces.

This pasta is really simple, but I love the combination of fresh lemon, salty capers, and tangy parm for an easy weeknight meal. We had some leftover cooked chicken in the fridge so I added that in with the pasta and it just added an extra dose of protein, which the husband always prefers! Try it tonight using your families favorite flavors and whatever fun herbs or veggies you might have hanging out in the fridge.

With a full heart and an empty plate,

Katie

Comment