Friday, October 26, 2012


When in doubt about what to do with leftover chicken...or just in doubt about what to make for dinner...period...try these.

If you're in a hurry, use canned chicken, canned refried beans and Mexican rice. Beans and rice recipes are in other blog posts on this site. There is no quick way to make the rice but it does only take about 40 minutes.

These tacos always get eaten and are often everyone. Even HM, our 5-year-old grandson, recently decided he liked them. That makes it official that they are popular and tasty.

I only have one story about chicken tacos that is just one of the pieces of evidence explaining why my nickname is Calamity Janet. For archival purposes, you'll have to endure it.

As I prepared for the coming of our first grandchild, (DW who's now in college) I asked his mother, ES, what she would like for me to serve at the baby shower I was having for her.

ES & DW after the shower
She immediately responded that she would like chicken tacos with guacamole, Calamity Janet's salsa, beans and rice.

There were about twenty ladies coming to the baby shower.

I was teaching school at the time (no excuse for the calamity) and had scheduled the baby shower in the evening on a school night. Mistake number one.

I had been working on the beans for a couple of days. I just had to put those in the slow cooker to heat up and would serve them hot from the slow cooker on the serving table.

I had also made the salsa ahead of time and kept it safely refrigerated in Mason jars.

I had the cake, ice cream, chips, flowers, silverware, plates, cups, and punch all ready to set out.

A present table was ready with a few gifts on it from her brother and me.

Since I usually got home from school at  4:30, I would have to hustle. Chicken tacos, guacamole and rice would have to be prepared from scratch before the party.

I can do this!!

I like to put all the ingredients for a meal on the counter so I don't get confused and miss something.

I made the guacamole.

I started the rice.

For the tacos, I hastily retrieved the canned chicken from the pantry. The tortillas, shredded cheese, chopped green onions, lard, tongs, paper towel-lined glass baking dish to put tacos in after they were cooked were all lined up by the burner on the stove.

I drained the canned chicken and dumped it into a bowl and started making the tacos.

Guests started arriving and the girls laughed and visited, digging into some chips, salsa, guacamole and punch.

I finished up the tacos and rice.

Everything was ready and on the serving table. Whew!! I did it.

One of our guests, Pauline Padilla Merrill, could be considered the restaurant Godmother of Greer. She had worked in every restaurant in Greer and pretty much ran them all. She is now the very successful owner of The Rendezvous Diner on Main Street in Greer.

When Pauline began eating I noticed that she had a surprised look on her face. She said, "Janet, how clever you are! These tacos are delicious!! I have never thought of using tuna to make tacos."

Tuna??? I was aghast!!! I motored over to the wastebasket in the kitchen and found the "chicken" cans. Yup! Chicken of the Sea...TUNA!!

One of my most embarrassing moments, no doubt. They did disappear however.

Here's the recipe for Chicken Tacos:

Count on a minimum of four tacos per person. If you make more someone will eat them.

Ingredients for six diners:

Two dozen corn tortillas
Four cups fresh (cooked not raw) or canned chicken
Bag of shredded Mexican cheese
Two bunches green onions chopped
Lard or vegetable oil


2 dessert plates
Frying pan
Metal tongs
9 X 13 glass baking dish
Paper towel


Set everything you need on the counter by the stove.

Put the fresh tortillas on one dessert plate. Set the other dessert plate close to the stove.

Put the cheese in a bowl.

Put the chopped green onions in a bowl. (Not shown)

Heat about 3 tablespoons oil in a skillet on medium to medium-high, depending on what kind of stove you have.

Line the baking dish with paper towel and place it on the counter close to the stove so that you can move the tacos from the skillet to the pan easily.

When the oil sizzles as you sprinkle a little water in it, it's hot enough.

Put in one tortilla at a time. let it get just a little soft and turn it over, about five seconds on each side.

Put the softened tortillas on top of each other on the empty dessert plate. As I take them out of the skillet and place them on the plate, I sprinkle garlic salt on each one. This adds a special hint of flavor that isn't necessary but is appreciated.

When all tortillas are softened, turn the stack over on the plate. The ones on bottom are cooler than the ones on top. This makes it easier to make the tacos so you don't burn your fingers.

Place a pinch of chicken, some cheese on top of the chicken, and a sprinkle of green onions on top of the cheese on one side of the tortilla.

Holding it in place, roll it up like a cigar.

With the tongs, lift the rolled taco into the skillet with the sealed side down.

After a minute or so, turn the taco over and let it get crispy on the other side.

Move it to the paper-towel lined glass baking dish.

Do this with each of the tortillas.

When they're all cooked, cover the baking dish with foil and put it in the warming oven (250 degrees) until ready to serve.

Serve with some good salsa...

Love, love, love Santa Cruz Green Salsa from Tumacacori, Arizona

Refried Beans and Mexican Rice...

and a little chopped relish of lettuce, cucumber and radishes...