My brother and I grew up in the back of the kitchen of our family restaurant. No joke. We had our own little study/play area. It was pretty sweet, as I look back in retrospect. [The play area, that is. Not growing up in the back of the kitchen.] We had our own 13 inch TV with our old-school Nintendo unit hooked up to keep us entertained, out of trouble, and out of any danger from the kitchen chaos itself. My parents had very little time to spend with us because they worked all day long. Well, except for the fact that they still found ways to breathe down our necks to finish our daily homework assignments. Ahh, Asian parenting. So quality time was limited in our family. As I was growing up, I longed for the “normal” family units that my friends had. But my parents did their best to spend time with us. My parents would take us to [insert fast food chain] after they closed up the restaurant for the night, order food, and we’d eat in front of the TV. This was our way of spending quality family time. So food, albeit it wasn’t always the healthiest, was our way to spend time together.
One fast food chain we used to frequent as a family was Jack In The Box. Do you remember when Jack In The Box used to serve beef taquitos (and tacos)? It was probably during the early 1990s when they rolled out with this menu item. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, and am a little embarrassed to admit this, but I thought they were really, really tasty. They were the perfect snacky, greasy, finger foods. I’d ask for an order of taquitos (I think it was five taquitos to a box), and beg my parents to buy the guacamole and sour cream on the side for an additional charge. I think Jack In The Box was my first introduction to guacamole and sour cream, and possibly even “Mexican” food. Hysterical, yet pathetic, right?
I don’t know if they still sell them or not, but I do crave them from time-to-time, like I crave french fries from McDonald’s. Mmmmmmm. But I haven’t had fast food since 2006, and won’t start now. So I’m always on the hunt for healthier alternatives…
Baked Chicken Taquitos (adapted from Our Best Bites)
1/3 cup Toffuti cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup salsa verde
1/2 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons green onion, chopped
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
10-12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Salt, to sprinkle
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine softened cream cheese, salsa verde, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, minced garlic, cilantro, green onion. Stir to combine. Add chicken and shredded cheese, and combine thoroughly. Season with salt, if necessary.
Heat corn tortillas until soft and pliable, about 30 seconds, on a plate with damp paper towels inbetween and on top of the tortillas to “steam.” Spoon about 3 to 3 tablespoons of the filling onto the lower third of each tortilla, and roll tightly. Place taquitos, seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
Lightly spray the top of the taquitos with cooking spray, and sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp and golden. Serve with your favorite salsa, guacamole, and greek yogurt. Yum!
Makes 10 to 12 taquitos.