Ranch Grilled Chicken Tacos

April 16, 2010 at 12:48 am | Posted in Mexican/Southwest | 28 Comments
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This recipe is a combination of three ideas. 

1.  First of all, a finishing sauce created by Chris over at “Nibble Me This”  caught my eye. He simply combined sour cream and a fajita marinade to create a sauce to drizzle over his fajitas. I found this so simple and hopefully versatile that I combined 1/2 C. sour cream with 3 tablespoons of canned jalapeno salsa for my finishing sauce for these chicken tacos. It worked and man was it delicious. Just think of the possibilities using sour cream as your base. 

2.  This month’s Food and Wine Magazine has a great article on taco trucks which includes some tantalizing photos and unique taco combinations. A brining technique for grilled chicken tacos looked easy and interesting, so I used this method before firing up my Weber.

3.  My refrigerator was incredibly inspiring. Yup, need to use up some of that expensive produce sitting in the vegetable bin.

Hence, my (Highlands) Ranch Grilled Chicken Tacos were born. I served it with a simple side of black beans topped with sour cream and cilantro and I must admit this was a very tasty meal.  Take a look:

Highlands Ranch Grilled Chicken Tacos

For the Chicken:

  • 2 bone-in, skin on chicken breasts
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 C. fresh lime juice
  • 1 C. water
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 T. sweet paprika
  • vegetable oil

Combine tomatoes, lime juice, water and salt in a blender and puree.  Place chicken breasts in a Ziploc bag along with the puree and marinate/brine overnight or for at least 8 hours.  Remove chicken from bag, pat dry, rub with oil and then paprika.  Grill until done.

In the meantime prepare the fillings for your tacos:

  • Finely shredded cabbage
  • Thin sliced red and yellow bell peppers
  • Thin sliced onion
  • Avocado wedges
  • Mexican Queso crumbling cheese and chopped cilantro for topping

Sautee bell pepper and onion strips in olive oil until tender.

Finishing Sauce:

  • 1/2 C. sour cream
  • 3 T. Jalapeno Salsa (canned)

Mix Well

Corn Tortillas:

Rick Bayless instructs this method for heating corn tortillas:  On a clean kitchen towel sprinkle 3 T. water. Place a stack of corn tortillas on the towel and fold the towel around the tortillas. Place into a large Ziploc bag, folding the top of the bag. Do not seal. Cook in microwave 4 minutes at 50% power and then let rest two minutes.

To plate:  Thinly slice chicken breasts. Place fillings and chicken slices onto warm tortillas, add a wedge of avocado, drizzle with the finishing sauce. Provide a wedge of lime to squeeze over the beans and the tacos. Delicious.

A side note about those bowls in my photo.  They are called “rice bowls”.  Take a look at the rice shaped design. Grains of rice are placed on the bowl before firing, creating translucent rice designs. Cool!

Highlands Ranch Grilled Chicken Tacos.

It’s What’s For Dinner!



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  1. I love a good chicken taco, and these look wonderful! I like it that the chicken can be in the marinade while I’m at work… I’ve been looking at quick things I can pull together in the evenings lately.

    • After the marinade, this is definitely quick and easy and YUMmy.

  2. You say grilled and I’m in…so ready for the warmer weather and grilling every day; these look terrific.

    A couple of months ago, you had a chili recipe I made with a lime crema finish; betting that would be good too on these…just a subtle addition to sour cream makes such a huge difference.

    • Me too Barb, I’m loving this warmer weather and our grilling time.

      Yes, that lime crema would be great on these and on fish tacos too! yum

  3. You were able to fire up your grill? It seemed like everytime I read the paper you were being slammed with a snow storm. It has been raining down here a lot.

    I need to update my limoncello.

    • There’s been snow just a few miles west of us higher in the hills, but we’ve just had clouds and fairly mild temps.

  4. Your tacos look scrumptious! I have been craving tacos and love the idea of the sauce/dressing–so simple and sounds so good. 😉

    • Hey thanks Deb. And as always, thanks so much for stopping by and for the comment.

  5. There’s a lot of wonderful in this post! The tacos with the marinated chicken, steamed tortillas and finishing sauce look and sound so so good!
    I am completely hooked on the taco trucks – it’s the first thing I go for when I get to California. I’m going to be reading the F&W article to see what I can learn – hoping there’s a clue or two about the rice. Finally, THOSE BOWLS! You are singing my song with those little cuties. You shouldn’t wave such cute-ness in front of a raging bowlaholic. 😀 Very nice post – love it!

    • We don’t have taco trucks here in Denver, darnit! Let me know if there’s a clue about the rice. Sounds like something special. I knew you’d love those bowls. I have 4, one has a small chip.

      • Um…do I need to take you to a taco truck in Denver?

        just sayin’

  6. They look good Lea Ann and that’s an excellent pic.

    • Thanks Larry, and thanks for stopping by.

  7. Num. I’m squeezing a little extra lime on them.

    Wine for this: Folie A Deux, Menage A Trois. About twelve bucks, mostly Zin, jammy and a bit spicy.

    • I agree Dan, about the lime and the wine.

  8. Right in line with my cooking philosophy- “Simple things, done well”..Bet they were great!

  9. The possibilities are endless for the finishing sauces, I love that idea. I always have a refrigerator full of sour cream…the good kind, Tillamook from Oregon! All sour cream is not created equal!

    • I didn’t realize Tillamook made sour cream. I bet it’s as wonderful as their ice cream. I loved our visit to Tillamook during our first trip to Oregon.

  10. YUM! I love chicken tacos and fajitas

  11. I am glad that I just ate before reading this. Great tacos. I’m so glad that you had the chance to dig the grill out from under the snow:) Thanks for the shout out, too.

    • We’ve not had snow here, but just a few miles west and higher up in the hills it’s still winter. You’re welcome for the shout out and thanks for the idea for the finishing sauce.

  12. Boo hoo! My grilling days are over unless I get asked to a BBQ someplace! There are some disadvantages to apartment living!

    But I can improvise for your tacos! I really like the finishing sauce…things like this can make or break a dish! How about a touch of lime juice too?

    • You can absolutely improvise. Just roast that chicken in the oven. And yes, ;ime juice is just what the doctor ordered! Thanks for stopping by Barb and for your comment.

  13. These look excellent! I can’t resist a good chicken taco. Love the flavors and the textures! And the bowls are cute too.

  14. I went out for tacos yesterday and they definitely sparked a SERIOUS craving. These look fantastic!

  15. […] One Year Ago: Ranch Grilled Chicken Tacos […]

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