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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fiesta Chicken Bites

These crunchy little grab-and-go Fiesta Chicken Bites are just the ticket for active kids who are so busy enjoying summer that they hate to sit still and eat.  Re-purposing left over food ingredients has long been the butt of jokes on movies, sitcoms and cartoons.  But you know what?  They can be darned tasty, too!  - and that is what this recipe is sort of about.

I happened to have some left over chicken breasts in the fridge, along with some extra grilled corn from a family grilling night, and several of the "fixins" to round out something pretty cool.  I also had the eager assistance of two very special "short chefs," whom you will see in the preparation of this dish.

I fully realize that some of my posts are "made from scratch," while others rely heavily on convenience items.  But you know what?  Life is like that at our house.... and I dare say it's like that for most busy parents. We had several errands, check-ups, etc yesterday to take care of, so throwing the chicken breasts in the crock pot in the morning before we headed out definitely helped move things along later in the day.
Ingredients:
  • 1 pack of wonton wrappers
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • fajita seasoning to taste (1 Tbsp?) 
  • 1 cup mild or medium salsa
  • half an onion, sliced into strips
  • Mexican rice blend with orzo
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed well
  • corn niblets (grilled and cut from the cob)
    • ~ 1/2 cup of frozen or canned, drained.
  • 2/3 cup shredded cheese blend
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • butter flavored cooking spray
* All of the above ingredients can be "to taste."  This is a touchy-feely recipe where you just add and sprinkle until you like it. 

 Step-by-step
Trim and season chicken breasts heavily with fajita seasoning.  Add onions, about a cup of salsa, cover, and cook for several hours on high in a crock pot until fork tender.  Remove the chicken from the crock pot, shred with forks, and add the juice from the crock pot back over the chicken to keep it  moist.  I removed all the "chunky" stuff from the sauce because I didn't need them in the final product.
Trim chicken breasts of any extra fat
Secret ingredient #1
Season liberally with the fajita seasoning blend
Optional - add a sliced onion (just for extra flavor)
Secret ingredient #2 - Salsa of choice
I used about a cup for the two chicken breasts
Cook on high for several hours until fork tender. 
Remove to a chopping board to shred
Shred with a fork
Remove onions, etc if you don't want them
Add the "juice" back over the shredded chicken to keep it moist and tasty
Cut the corners off of the wonton wrappers, making them into little octagons.  Fit them into "mini" muffin tins allowing the edges to stick up.  Spray them with butter flavored cooking spray to help them crisp up and brown.  Cook in a 350 F oven for about 5-7 minutes to get them "mostly" crisped.
Wonton wraps can be found probably in the cold section of your produce area
Cut off the corners - a pizza cutter makes short work of this job
Canon did this job for me.  Did this make the job take longer?  Yes.  Did this make the job any more enjoyable?  Without a doubt.  Did we "mess up" any wonton wrappers?  Sure.. a few... but that's okay.  We talked about shapes and different kinds of triangles, and patterns, and all manner of lovely things.  Who cares that they weren't all exactly the same?!
A+ on quality time together!  That was the main thing.
Sleepy eyed Lily, just up from a nap, was the wonton separator.
Spray with cooking spray
Bake until brown and crispy.  I should have let these go a little longer.

Layer the wonton "shells" with prepared Mexican rice of your choice (I like the one with the orzo), shredded and chopped chicken, rinsed black beans and corn niblets.  Top with shredded cheese and sprinkle with cumin.  Don't worry a bit if you don't have "grilled corn on the cob." Just use the ones from the can or freezer bag.  We just happened to have left overs that are were so yummy that I didn't want them to go to waste.
Whichever type you prefer.  This one cooks really fast, though, making it a nice candidate.
Layer... first, rice
Then chicken
Left over grilled corn - super duper sweet and delicious!
Cut them from the cob.
Add rinsed black beans and corn
Top with Mexican blend cheese and sprinkle with cumin
Bake at 350 F until cheese is melted and wonton shells are golden and crispy (up to probably 10 min) and serve with condiments of choice - guacamole, sour cream with a little squeeze of fresh lime juice added, cilantro, pico de gallo, etc.

Most importantly - set them out on a plate, call the kids and watch them disappear!


Written Directions:
Trim and season chicken breasts heavily with fajita seasoning and add them to the crock pot.  Add onions, about a cup of salsa, cover, and cook for several hours on high in a crock pot until fork tender.  Remove the chicken from the crock pot, shred with forks, and add the juice from the crock pot back over the chicken to keep it  moist.  I removed all the "chunky" stuff from the sauce because I didn't need them in the final product.
Cut the corners off of the wonton wrappers, making them into little octagons.  Fit them into "mini" muffin tins allowing the edges to stick up.  Spray them with butter flavored cooking spray to help them crisp up and brown.  Cook in a 350 F oven for about 5-7 minutes to get them "mostly" crisped... or go ahead and get them totally crisp and brown if you want.
Layer the wonton "shells" with prepared Mexican rice of your choice (I like the one with the orzo), shredded and chopped chicken, rinsed black beans and corn niblets.  Top with shredded cheese and sprinkle with cumin.  Bake at 350 F until cheese is melted and wonton shells are golden and crispy (up to probably 10 min) and serve with condiments of choice - guacamole, sour cream with a little squeeze of fresh lime juice added, cilantro, pico de gallo, etc.

Looking for more fun Mexican recipes?  Please visit my Recipe Index for lots of ideas that you can make with/for your family.  Here are a few to get you started:




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7 comments:

  1. They look beautiful, I am sure they taste yummy as well, the kids are enjoying the making fun as well as the eating fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Edna - You are so right about that. For them, the making of the dish is definitely half the fun. It's quality time together. :)
      Julie

      Delete
  2. I don't see any measurements for the ingredients... can you list them please?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have updated the post to include approximate measurements. However in truth, we just added and sprinkled until we liked it. :)

      Delete
  3. This is on my menu for this week's dinners. I'm going to make them in a regular muffin tin for bigger cups. Can't wait to try them!

    ReplyDelete
  4. How many servings does this make?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, you can see we have a whole pan full. But I don't know who you are feeding. Toddlers? Teens? Men? This is 24 mini muffin tins full. It will depend on if you are using these as appetizers or as a meal.

      Delete

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