At the beginning of last week, I was reminded of what celebration is in Mexico on May 5th. Cinco de Mayo! And Mexican food is my absolute favourite food. I could eat chicken tacos, refried beans, and guacamole every day for the rest of my life.
One of my favourite places to go for dinner is our local authentic Mexican restaurant. My favourite Friday night meal out is some chicken tinga tacos with refried beans, guacamole, and a bit fat margarita to wash it all down. And they happened to be having a Cinco de Mayo celebration on May 5. But sadly, my usual dinner date was MIA for the night, and I had to get up early the next morning, so there were no tacos and margaritas for me. 🙁
But thinking about Cinco de Mayo did inspire me to come up with a fully Mexican menu for the weekend:
Friday night: Chicken tortilla soup with guacamole.
Saturday: Vegetarian refried bean and guacamole burrito bowls
Sunday: Chipotle chicken tacos with guacamole, homemade Pico de Gallo (salsa) and refried beans.
Are you noticing a trend? Maybe lots of guac and refried beans? There are no words to describe my love for avocados. Sometimes Mr. FIL rolls his eyes at how many I go through a week, or how I manage to incorporate them into a meal at least once a day. He secretly loves them… he’ll just never admit it. 🙂
The recipe for this chicken tortilla soup is pretty basic. Chicken breasts, chicken broth, roasted tomatoes , garlic, onions and chile peppers. The original recipe came from a Mexican blogger, and while it was good, it needed some spice to kick it up. So I added cumin, paprika and some red pepper flakes. Most soups taste better the next day, once they’ve sat and the flavours have had time to marry. This soup was no exception. I had it for dinner Friday, but enjoyed it way more Saturday.
I highly recommend crisping up some corn tortillas for this soup and adding them to your bowl. It’s an amazing addition. It’s like the Mexican version of soup and crackers! <– super cheesy.
So Friday night = success! Onto Saturday…
Saturday I decided to go vegetarian. Something I typically do 3-4 times a week. There are a lot of meat-eaters who have the impression that a vegetarian meal is not filling. Au-contraire my friends. If you get enough protein, fiber and complex carbs in a vegetarian meal, you will be full for hours. And refried beans, guacamole, and cheese happen to be three of my favourite proteins. (Yes, avocado has protein. And fiber).
Say hello to all of the ingredients in a vegetarian burrito…aka burrito bowl!
I was so full after this burrito bowl I could barely move. But it was so good I couldn’t stop eating it. And somehow I had room for leftover ice cream birthday cake. Must’ve been that extra stomach saved especially for dessert.
This bowl is very easy to put together. All you need is cooked brown rice, cheese, tomatoes, corn, guacamole, and refried beans. (and salsa if you’d like).
I don’t make the beans homemade because I found an amazing organic brand of refried beans that come in a carton, instead of a can. (not a fan of canned food). And if they can make refried beans as good as what I can get in a Mexican restaurant, then I’m not even going to touch that. I’m all for convenient food, as long as it’s delicious and healthy.
It’s SO easy to get creative with these bowls. Just think of everything you’d put on a burrito, and add it to your bowl!
For my carnivore readers: if you have some chorizo hanging around… it would be super delicious in this bowl.
So. We’ve gotten this far with Mexican meals, and I have yet to make tacos. I kind of feel like I saved the best for last. I really really love the burrito bowl, and could it that almost every day, but there’s a special place in my stomach for tacos.
These tacos are on regular dinner rotation at my house. I have wanted to put them up on here for a long time, and I’m excited to finally share the recipe. If you make anything on this blog, make these Chipotle chicken tacos. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
A few years ago we started making our own corn tortillas, and have never looked back. I don’t think I’ve purchased store-bought tortillas since. And they are SO EASY to make! All you need is corn Masa flour (found in every grocery store) and water. Oh, and a tortilla press. There’s nothing better than a warm, soft corn tortilla to load with delicious toppings. Once you have these, you probably won’t want to go back to store bought flour tortillas that have a million ingredients I can’t pronounce.
The chicken for these tacos spent all day in a chipotle garlic lime marinade. The longer it marinates, the more tender and flavourful the chicken will be. I also pound them to tenderize them even more. Plus, when they’re pounded down it cuts the cooking time in half so you can fry them and get a nice, dark crust on the outside.
So good. It’s important to let the chicken rest after it’s done to let the juices settle. Ahhhh just looking at it makes me hungry again! (Somehow after 3 fully loaded tacos).
Our taco bar for the night!! Homemade tortillas, chipotle chicken, refried beans, cheese, guacamole, shredded cabbage and homemade Pico de Gallo.
1- Homemade Pico de Gallo is super easy and a great fresh salsa for the tacos. (Recipe below).
2- If you’ve never used cabbage as the “lettuce” in your tacos, you should try it. It’s so fresh and SO crunchy. I tried it one night when I forgot to buy lettuce, and found some cabbage at the back of my fridge. Always thinking…. about food!
Homemade Pico de Gallo ^^
I discovered that tacos are very hard to photograph. Getting the “perfect” angle doesn’t exist. Because there’s so many toppings on the tacos, it’s hard to get the right angle that shows every part of the taco. So here was my best effort.
Not too bad right?
The only thing I realized I forgot to make to finish off this feast was a Mexican dessert. So dessert was a third taco. With lots of cheese and guacamole.
What’s your favourite Mexican food? Feed me ideas!
And Happy Cinco de Mayo. Or taco Tuesday. 🙂
Chipotle Chicken Tacos
Switch up the traditional beef taco Tuesday with these Chipotle Chicken Tacos! Healthy, filling, and quick to prepare.
For the chipotle chicken:
- 2 chicken breasts
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- juice of 1 lime
For the tacos:
- 8-10 corn or flour tortillas
- 1 cup cheddar cheese grated
- 1/2 cup green cabbage shredded
- refried beans
- fresh Pico de Gallo salsa (optional) recipe below
- guacamole (optional) recipe below
For the guacamole:
- 2 avocados ripe, peeled and diced
- 1 lime juiced
- 3 tbsp cilantro diced
- 2 tbsp red onion diced
- 1/2 tsp salt
Preparing the chicken:
Place the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound the breasts to about 3/4 inch thickness.
In a bowl, whisk together chipotle sauce, garlic, fresh lime juice and 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the chicken and let it marinate for at least 2 hours. (Up to 24 hours). Remove from the fridge and let it rest for 15 minutes before frying.
For the tacos:
Prepare all the toppings for the tacos. Grate the cheese, shred the cabbage, make the guacamole and Pico de Gallo. (Any salsa would be good with these tacos). Reheat the refried beans in a small saucepan on low heat.
Heat a frying pan with 1 tbsp olive oil on medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the chicken breasts. Cook for 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through. Place on a cutting board and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
To make the guacamole: place the avocado, cilantro, red onion, salt and lime juice in a bowl. Lightly mash with a fork, until all ingredients are well combined. Adjust seasonings (lime juice and salt) to taste. You can have a chunky guacamole or mash it all. Your preference.
Serve the chicken with all of the toppings and start building your tacos!
Refried Bean and Guacamole Burrito Bowl
A delicious deconstructed vegetarian burrito in a bowl. You won't go hungry with this bowl. Protein and fiber-full, with tons of Mexican flavours. A great meatless Monday dish!
- 1/2 brown rice cooked
- 1/2 cup refried beans
- 1 cup corn
- 1 cup cheese (cheddar or marble) grated
- 1/2 cup tomato diced
- cilantro for garnish
For the guacamole:
- 1 ripe avocado diced
- 1 tbsp red onion
- 1 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
- 1 tsp lime about 1/4 lime
- 1/4 tsp salt
Cook brown rice according to directions on the package. (Usually about 45 minutes)
Heat the refried beans in either the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stove. In two bowls, divide all the ingredients evenly. Add the rice first, then top with tomatoes, corn, cheese, guacamole and the refried beans.
For the guacamole:
Cut the avocado in half. Remove the pit. Peel the skin off the avocado, and place flat side down on a cutting board. Dice the avocado and add it to a bowl, along with the red onion, lime juice, cilantro and salt. Lightly mash, until all the ingredients are mixed. You can have it smooth or as chunky as you'd like. Taste to adjust seasonings to personal preference (salt and lime juice).
Get creative with these bowls! Think about what you'd put in a burrito if you were eating out. You could add sour cream, salsa, sweet potato and jalapenos.
If you can't find refried beans, black beans would be a great substitute.
Pico de Gallo
Fresh Mexican salsa. So refreshing and light, a great snack with corn chips, or a perfect addition to taco night.
- 1 tomato finely diced
- 2 tbsp red onion finely diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and diced
- 2 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
- 1 tbsp lime juice about 1 small lime
- 1/4 tsp salt
In a bowl, combine tomato, red onion, jalapeno peppers, and cilantro. Squeeze in fresh lime juice and salt. Mix together.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Made with shredded chicken, tomatoes and warm spices, this Mexican soup is delicious and healthy. Make crunchy tortilla strips to add some crunch, and have fun with this soup and get creative with the toppings!
- 7 cups chicken broth
- 2 chicken breasts boneless, skinless
- 4 med tomatoes roasted, see instructions
- 1 small yellow onion roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 pasilla or ancho chiles stemmed and seeded
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 6 white or corn tortillas
- 4 tbsp olive oil divided
- fresh lime juice
- shredded cheese
In a large soup pot, add the broth and chicken breasts and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the chicken for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and let it rest for 10 minutes. Shred, and set aside.
While the chicken is cooking, preheat the broiler and place the tomatoes on a baking sheet. Pop in the oven and broil for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through to get a char on all sides. Tomatoes will be mushy and slightly charred when they are ready. Remove the skin from the tomatoes.
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan and on high heat, quickly fry the chile peppers for 1-2 minutes per side. Be careful not to burn the chile, because it will have a bitter taste.
In a blender, add the tomatoes, chile peppers and garlic. Blend until smooth
In a soup pot, add 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium-high heat. Place the blended ingredients in the pot. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the chicken broth, cumin and paprika and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Serve with a light squeeze of fresh lime juice in each bowl. Add whatever toppings you'd like.
For the crispy tortillas:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly brush the tortilla shells in olive oil and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 5-10 minutes until the tortillas start to lightly brown and become crispy. Cut into strips and serve with the soup.