One of our favorite go-to weeknight dinners is chicken tacos. This is easily a 60 minute or less meal, including time to marinate the chicken breasts. I like to keep 4-6 chicken breasts frozen and on hand at all times. You can either leave them out in the morning to gently defrost throughout the day or soak them in hot water just before use. Fresh is great too, of course, but running to the store last-minute is not often an alternative for me. The rest of the core ingredients tend to be in the pantry in our house almost all the time – limes, onions, corn tortillas, avocados and a few basic spices. During the summer months when bell peppers are in season, these can easily be turned into fajitas too.
Serves 4 + a bit of leftovers
30 minutes prep time (including marinade), 45 minutes total cooking time
Whisk the juice of 1-2 limes, ¼ cup of olive oil, 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic, ½ teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and a pinch of cayenne (or more, to taste) until combined. Butterfly (cut horizontally across breast to make one thick breast into two thinner pieces) two chicken breasts (about 1 pound of meat), place in a non-reactive pan (glass Pyrex works great here) and drizzle with marinade. Sprinkle chicken with freshly-ground pepper and dried oregano on both sides. Move chicken around in the marinade to ensure both sides are properly covered and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. If you have less time, that is OK too.
Grill chicken on the stove top in a grill pan or cast iron pan, or outdoors if possible. These thinner pieces should cook in about 5-7 minutes per side. Let the chicken rest on a cutting board for 2-3 minutes once it is cooked to seal in the juices, then slice thinly.
Warm tortillas in the oven or on the stove top.
Mash 1-2 avocados with a bit of lime juice and a pinch of salt and pepper for a quick guacamole.
If desired, sautéed one onion, chopped lengthwise, with about a teaspoon of cumin seeds in good olive oil. Do the same with bell peppers if in season (I prefer to cook the onions and peppers separately since one takes longer that the others). Quick hint: toast cumin seeds in olive oil first before adding the vegetables. This simple saute is a create opportunity to recruit kiddo assistance!
I like to serve all of the components separately and have the kids (and adults) make their own tacos to taste.