Chicken Flautas with Cream Cheese

This is what’s known in the biz as a two-fer.  Yes, I know I just posted a chicken flautas recipe but these two recipes were made four months apart, so I feel vindicated and clever for presenting another fun-filled flautas episode.  Consider it and encore, or maybe a sequel.  Either way, flautas deserve attention and they should be enjoyed as often as you can make them, or eat them.

Juxtaposing these two different approaches to flautas illustrates the versatility of Mexican cuisine.  You can wrap anything you want into a corn tortilla, fry it and call it a flauta.  Amazing!

Once again, for this recipe, I had the benefit of starting with chicken that had previously been cooked. 

Ingredients:

3 cups chicken, cooked and shredded

8 oz cream cheese softened

1 ½ tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp Mexican oregano

Red and green chiles (about ¼ cup)

1 1/2 cups spinach chopped

6 corn tortillas

cooking oil for frying

Directions:

Soften the tortillas by adding them to hot oil for several seconds.  Set the tortillas aside.

In a large bowl mix together the shredded chicken, cream cheese, cumin, salt, garlic powder, oregano, chiles and spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Form the mixture into long logs, or snakes, if you like.  Portion the mix by cutting them into sections.  This makes it easy when it comes to rolling up the flautas.

Assemble the flautas by adding a portion of the mix and rolling them up in the softened tortillas.  Skewer two flautas together with a toothpick, to hold them together while they fry.

Pour enough cooking oil into a skillet to about ½” in height.  Set the heat to medium.

Cook the flautas in the hot oil, gently turning with tongs once or twice until they are golden brown on both sides.

Remove the flautas to a paper towel-lined plate.

Serve warm.

But wait, there’s more! 

Flautas are wonderful crispy treat but I think of them as an appetizer.  Here’s an easy way to incorporate them into a full-fledged Mexican feast.

Cheese Enchiladas in Red Sauce

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Colby-Jack cheese

1 cup onion, diced

6 corn tortillas, softened in hot oil

2 cups prepared red enchilada sauce

cooking oil for frying

chopped green onions for garnish

I used homemade red enchilada sauce but the store-bought variety will work, too.

Directions:

Mix the grated cheese and diced onion in a large bowl.  In the same bowl, separate the mixture into six equal portions.

Pour some enchilada sauce into a 8” or 9” glass pie pan.  Pour just enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. 

Roll the enchiladas, just as you rolled the flautas.  Place the enchiladas, seam side down, into the pie pan.

Cover the enchiladas with the remaining sauce.

Bake at 300° for 20 to 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let the enchiladas rest for 5 minutes, before serving.

Serve with Mexican rice and guacamole salad, or sour cream.

Bienvenido a mi casa!  Buen appetito! 

Quick and (Fancy) Easy Brunch

The inspiration for my most recent post came from a brunch dish I made recently.  I was expecting early morning visitors but I didn’t know how many (or if any) would show.  I took a page from one of my wife’s recipes and changed it a little.  She uses crescent roll dough to make a delicious breakfast sausage and cream cheese casserole.  Her recipe makes enough to feed a small army, which is perfect for large, holiday breakfasts.  Since I didn’t know how many people would actually show up, I decided to alter the recipe to make individual pastry cups.  Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for several days and they are can be pulled out and reheated in a microwave oven for a quick and easy breakfast, or a light snack.

Breakfast Sausage and Cream Cheese Pastry Shells

Ingredients:

2  8-count crescent roll tubes

1 lb bulk breakfast sausage (mild)

8 oz cream cheese (1 pack)

Directions:

Cook the sausage in a skillet and remove, to cool to room temperature.

Once cooled, crumble the sausage by hand to break down any large clumps.

Add the cream cheese to the sausage and mix thoroughly with a spatula.

Unroll the crescent roll dough on a clean and lightly floured surface.

Form the dough into a rectangle and press the edges together with your fingers.  Press the perforated parts of the dough together, lightly, with your fingers. 

Using a pastry cutter, or a clean credit card, if you don’t have a pastry cutter, slice the dough into 4” squares, to make 12 squares.  The squares don’t have to be perfectly square.

Lay the squares over the holes of a non-stick muffin pan.  Press the squares down to conform to the pan.

Drop the sausage and cream cheese mixture in the pastry shells by spoon.

Bake at 375° for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges of the pastry are golden brown.

Serve warm, with a side of fresh fruit.