Freezer Treats – Chicken Taquitos

Normally we might associate the word “treat” with something that is sweet and not so good for the waistline.  I like to eat my treats for dinner or for late night snacks.  These wonderful little packages of cheesy goodness can go straight from the freezer to the oven just like any frozen convenience Taquito.

My local grocery store was selling whole chickens for $0.49 per lb!  So I bought 6 chickens.  I baked 3 of them to make this recipe.  To roast a chicken season with salt, pepper and olive oil or what ever seasonings you prefer.  Bake at 350 in a cast iron skillet or 2 inch deep pan for 1 1/2 hours.  Use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees.  Once they are done pull them out and allow them to cool.  To speed up the cooling process I used kitchen scissors to cut open the breast of the birds.

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There are a few things that I love about cooking with whole chickens.  It’s cheaper than buying packaged sections of the chicken.  Roasting the meat while it is still on the bones adds flavor.  You get the yummy dark meats from the wings and back of the chicken.  You get a pile of bones to make chicken stock from scratch.

Chicken Taquitos are a favorite in my house.  When we make these it feels low maintenance, almost like we’re ordering takeout!  I made 6X batch of these over the course of 2 nights.  The first night was spent cooking chickens, cutting up the meat, and mixing the filling.  The second night was spent filling and rolling taquitos.  I love cooking in big batches.  This latest batch will last us about 3-4 months.

How much does it cost?

3 Whole Chickens – $8.03
2 blocks of cream cheese – $3.98
3 blocks of pepper jack cheese – $4.50
1 Jar salsa – $2.49
2 Limes – $1.00
6 Green Onions – $0.99
80 Tortillas – $11.96
Spices – $1.50

Total: $34.45 for 80 chicken taquitos.  That’s $0.43 each.

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Ingredients:

1/3 of a 8 oz block of cream cheese
1/4 cup salsa
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 chopped green onion
2 cups cooked chicken chopped fine
1 cup grated pepper jack or monteray jack cheese
14 small flour tortillas
Cooking spray or oil
salt

Instructions:

1. Heat cream cheese in microwave for about 30 seconds
2. Add salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder and mix until combined
3. Add green onion, chicken and shredded cheese
4. Place 3 Tablespoons of chicken mixture on the edge of tortilla and roll into a tube about 1 inch in diameter.
5. At this point you can freeze the taquito or bake them imediately.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
6. Place on a greased baking sheet. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt
7. Bake for 18-22 minutes until golden brown.
8. Serve with sour cream, guacamole or salsa.

When baking these from frozen I found that covering the first inch at each end allows for a more even browning.

I might be a little bit crazy, or really good at planning ahead.  Or I might be both.  I bought 6 chickens at $0.49 per lb so that each chicken was about $2.50.  All 6 chickens were roasted and broken down.  Half of them were shredded and frozen and the other half went into this taquitos recipe.  From the 3 chickens I got 12 cups of diced meat which is enough to make 6 batches of taquitos.  You may think that I’m feeding an army with the large batches.  It’s just me and my husband eating the big people food since my daughter is just starting solid foods it will be a while before she joins us in the spicy foods.  This large batch of food should last about 3 months with us eating these for dinner once a week and also using them to entertain guests once or twice.  Having large batches of food all ready to go is one of my tricks for maintaining a successful meal plan.   Who wants to spend a ton of time prepping and cooking every night after working hard all day?