Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Weekend Gourmet Flashback: Mesquite Chicken Tacos with Creamy Corn Salsa

Hey there, friends! I've been up to my elbows prepping for my second TV cooking appearance on Great Day SA tomorrow. Between prepping ingredients and trying to figure out the best makeup and clothes to wear, I haven't had much time to cook this week. I found out earlier today that I've been bumped from tomorrow's live show...so I'll be taping my segment, which will air later this month. I promise to share the video here as soon as it airs, and I'm hoping that I can share a few behind-the-scenes pictures later this week to hold you over until then. 

I'll be back on Thursday with this month's The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out feature. But, today I want to share one of my very favorite recipes from last summer: Mesquite Chicken Tacos with Creamy Corn Salsa. With Cinco de Mayo coming up this weekend, these yummy tacos would be perfect to serve with margaritas for any parties you might be hosting. The grilled chicken is smoky and juicy, and the corn salsa is definitely not your average topping. It's so good, and it pairs really nicely with the other ingredients in the tacos.

Mesquite Chicken Tacos with Creamy Corn Salsa
from 300 Best Taco Recipes

Step 1: Make the creamy corn salsa by combining the following ingredients in a bowl: 1.5 cups thawed frozen corn kernels, 1 finely diced seeded jalapeno, 1/4 cup lowfat sour cream or Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup mayo, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/4 cup finely diced purple onion, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to combine and refrigerate until you're ready to serve the tacos.

Note: the original recipe called for using red bell pepper, but I subbed in the onion since I can't eat raw bell pepper.

Step 2:  Combine the following marinade ingredients in a large bowl: the juice of 3 small limes, 1 tbs. olive oil, 2 tbs. of your favorite mesquite seasoning mix, 2 tbs. honey, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk well to combine and add 1.5 lb. chicken breast. Toss well to coat and refrigerate for 2-4 hours -- the longer you marinate, the better the flavor will be.

Step 3:  Heat a large non-stick skillet or cast-iron grill pan over med-high heat. Add about 1 tbs. olive oil and heat for about five minutes. Brown the chicken well on all sides until  cooked through -- about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Let it rest for five minutes, then slice into bite-size pieces.

Step 4:  Steam 8 corn tortillas using a damp kitchen towel and microwaving for about 1 minute. To assemble each taco, add a bit of sliced chicken to each tortilla. Top with a spoonful of the creamy corn salsa, some chopped romaine lettuce, and monterey jack cheese. I also served some of the tacos with thin slices of avocado, which was a wonderful addition!

To say that we loved these tacos was an understatement...we had them several times during the summer, and I can't wait to make them again this year! The combination of creamy avocado, cheese, and the salsa goes perfectly with the smoky-sweet chicken. The little bit of honey in the marinade really lets the chicken caramelize nicely on the outside as it cooks!

I hope you give these tacos a try...if you prefer flour tortillas to corn, feel free to use them instead. To make this dish a bit more more figure-friendly, you could also serve it sans tortillas on top of some shredded romaine and diced tomatoes for a main dish salad. 

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