Saturday, January 3, 2015


When I was a kid, I used to love getting flautas from the Mexican restaurant down the street.  Corn tortillas, stuffed with meat, wrapped into little cigarette-type rolls, deep fried, usually served with guacamole.  So good.   

After we got married, the husband and I got hooked on the ease of taquitos.  Basically the same thing, but not fried up to order.  Straight from the freezer to the oven.  Taquitos and potstickers became the basis of the infamous “Crap Dinner” we would indulge in about once a month.  Just like it sounds, this meal is rooted in junk food and usually resulted in two days of drinking water to account for the amount of sodium we had ingested.

Taquitos are still one of our favorite easy dinners.  I’ve gotten more and more disappointed in the taquitos that you can buy in the store, especially as I constantly consider the ingredients vs. homemade and the cost of prepared foods vs. making it at home.  I still do a ton of crock pot and make ahead meals due to Little E’s crazy riding schedule.  I was reading Jessica Fisher’s Not Your Mother’s Make-ahead and Freeze cookbook from the library the other day and was inspired by her frozen taquitos recipe.  I hadn’t considered making them at home. 

I hesitate to even claim that I have a recipe for taquitos because I tend to use it as a Use-Up-The-Leftovers food now.  Leftover roasts, chicken, and such all go into the freezer until I have enough to make taquitos although occasionally, I’ll make something specifically for taquitos – like a venison roast.  Drier veggies make good additions – corn, peppers, potatoes, rehydrated or oil cured dried tomatoes.   Cilantro holds up well too.  The only thing we have not really cared for has been cheese – the cheese doesn’t hold up well and melts away long before the frozen taquitos are done.  I just tried some with feta, and it held up a little better, but generally not worth the calories, as far as I was concerned.   In terms of seasonings, again, you don’t want your filling to be too moist – the tortilla will get too wet on reheating and fall apart.  That said, a little barbeque sauce or adobo sauce adds a lot of flavor.

Because frying all the tortillas takes some time and makes the house a little smelly, this is not something I make unless I’m willing to commit the time and energy to make a big batch.  I rarely make just one filling.    I’d say altogether it probably takes me an hour to an hour and a half to make 60+ taquitos (that's two small bags of tortillas), depending on how organized I am.   And just in case you were thinking about skipping the whole frying step – don’t even consider it.  Corn tortillas are difficult to work with, and the pre-frying step will make sure they cook up properly once frozen. 

 Make-Ahead Taquitos with Filling Ideas 
Yields: 8+ Servings

1 cup Oil May need more depending on pan. Not olive oil - you want something with a high heat point
2 bags Corn Tortillas
-- BBQ Pork --
1 1/2 cup Leftover carnita/roast pork
1/4 cup Finely chopped onions
1 tblspoons Cilantro
1/4 cup Bbq sauce Enough to moisten
2 Potatoes
1 Sweet potato
2/3 cup Fresh chorizo (can use Spanish chorizo, use about 1/2 cup, finely diced)
1/2 cup Feta Cheese (if desired)
2 cups Cooked, shredded/chopped chicken
1 can (12 oz) Black Beans
1/4 cup Salsa Use just enough to moisten filling - don't want filling to be wet
2/3 cup Frozen corn
2 cups Roast Beef or Roast Venison
1 can (small) Green chili
1/2 cup Finely chopped onions
1/2 cup Frozen corn (optional)
Prepare desired fillings by mixing ingredients together. If using a sauce (like bbq or salsa), use just enough to make the filling moist, but not wet. Season with salt/pepper/garlic as desired.

Prepare tortillas - using a large skillet, heat about an inch of oil to shimmering. Fry tortillas, 1-2 at a time for about 10-15 seconds on each side. Tortillas should not brown at all. Do not skip this step. Drain on paper towels.

Once tortillas are cool, spread about 2 tablespoons of filling on one edge of a tortilla. Roll up tightly, like a cigarette. Secure with a toothpick. Repeat. (I usually can get 2-3 on a toothpick). Lay out on a cookie sheet to freeze (if you are good, you'll remember to take the toothpicks out when the taquitos are slightly frozen but still flexible enough to remove the toothpick. Otherwise, you can just leave them in and even cook them with them in). Once frozen, package off into smaller bags or vacuum seal.


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