Chicken Taco Bites

Tonight’s dinner was something of a concoction. Those happen a lot around here. We have had these before, but I have modified the recipe enough that I am not sure my children recognize them anymore. Such was the case tonight. They were delighted all the same.

I am sad to say that I still have not made it to Penzeys Spices yet. The status around here is reaching desperation. I am soon going to have to go out of desperation and sheer necessity. I emptied my bag of Chicken Taco Seasoning tonight. Not good! I only bought the 4 ounce bag when I went down there the last time because I wanted to try it before I went bulk scale on it. This one does not have the tomato powder in it. I should have just gone with my gut and gone with the bulk scale purchase on it. I liked it a lot. The kids and the husband did not really notice that I had changed the formula on them too much. It was a success as far I was concerned. I have used it on beef without worry. It was universal as far as I was concerned. Unfortunately, that universal use has come to an end. You know, 4 ounces really does not go far with Taco Seasoning. Between the Double Strength Vanilla Extract and now the Chicken Taco Seasoning, I now need to move a trip to Penzeys Spices further up my priority list. I am sure I am short on other things too, like Cocoa Powder and Cinnamon. I should probably sit down with a catalog and go through my stash and just make a list and just bite the bullet and make the trek across town. I have some coupons for free spices I do not know why I am holding out besides the fact that it is a drive across town.

Instead of making traditional Taco Bites, I decided I was going to use up some of the ground chicken I had in the freezer. I had more of it and it had been in there longer than the ground beef. It made perfectly logical sense to me. To be honest with you, I just was not in the mood for ground beef. I wanted chicken but I wanted tacos. Since I was not making it with tomato anything, it made perfect sense in my mind and the children would eat what they were served. Here is two pounds of “browned” ground chicken. It is cooking with the Penzeys Chicken Taco Seasoning for flavor.

I spiced up the taco mixture a little bit. Just because I cannot eat tomatoes does not mean that I have to go without everything fun in a “Mexican” dish. It just makes it a little more difficult. I added a couple of cans of Diced Green Chilies. Those are always fun. I also added some “safe” Salsa Verde for additional bite and flavor. I have found that finding a Green Salsa that is safe for me to eat is a challenge at best. Most of them still use a tomato in some form or they have bell peppers in them. Neither of them are kosher with me. I added a touch of Lime Juice for tang. I could have left it out and it would have been just fine.

I made a Freezer Crescent Roll Dough that I like. I have found a recipe that is relatively universal. It claims it is for Crescent Rolls but that I am not so sure about. Maybe. For me the texture is just not quite there. It is not the flaky texture we have come to know and appreciate thanks to Pillsbury. Maybe we are all spoiled by that little Dough Boy. Maybe I just have not figured out the secret to this recipe, yet. I do not know. At any rate, the recipe is a nice recipe and it has a nice flavor and it is good for a variety of things. It makes good rolls, rolled like crescent rolls for what it is worth even if the texture is wrong. I was going to use the dough for Taco Pockets tonight. That plan changed, however, when the dough (for whatever reason) did not rise set up as much as it should have. No matter what I did, it was still too sticky for me to roll out. I did not want to be scraping it off anything so I decided to scrape that plan. Hence the Taco Bites instead.

Making Taco Bites is actually easy. You just plop a ball of dough down into a cup of a mini muffin tin. You then use something to squish the ball of dough so it forms to the cup of the muffin tin. I will tell you what not to use. Learn from my mistake. Do not use the partially full bottle of Olive Oil even if the lid is the right size for your muffin tin’s cups. It was working just fine, thank you very much. I got through 1.75 muffin pans before fate hit me. I pulled up the bottle and the lid stayed behind, stuck in the dough. I had olive oil running all over the place. I had it in my dough cups, on the counter, all over my pan, all over my hand as I tried to catch it falling out of the bottle before I got it upright again. Oh yes, it was pretty funny. Oh yes, I felt pretty stupid for not checking the tightness on the lid after a few of them. See the lid did not look to be coming of. It did not. It looked fine. Of course, I tried something else instead. A couple of something else things after that. They did not work the same. I still had to finish squishing down the dough. What did I do? Turned my bottle of olive oil back over and finished. I just check my now very oily bottle lid every few cups. Oh and just so we’re clear, it was very interesting trying to get that very greasy bottle out of the dough every cup. My hands were greasy, the “glass” bottle was greasy, and the lid kept getting stuck. Why? I do not know, but it did. It was quite funny. If it could go wrong, it did go wrong. So please, take my word for it, do not use the oil bottle to do this.

Once you have all of your dough squished down into the cups, it is time to fill all of the cups with your Taco filling. I just used my little cookie scoop. It does not require anything fancy. These cups are not very big so you do not need anything big. Heck if you have a melon ball thing, that scoop will work. A standard old spoon works too. Just grab something to scoop and get to work filling all those little cups. I was not super neat squishing my cups and I was not super neat filling them either. This is not art work here, this is feeding ravenously hungry bellies of three growing boys. They do not care if it is pretty as long as it looks edible and tastes better than edible. I even overfilled some of my cups. It is not a big deal. However, because I did fill my right up to the top, I did not top mine with cheese. I also did not put the cheese in my sauce. You could mix the cheese right into the filling and fill them that way. Either would work. I just put a bowl of cheese on the table and let them sprinkle them with cheese as they wanted.

Then you bake them long enough to bake the dough. I had to bake mine for about 25 minutes. My oven has issues, however. As you’ll notice with the uneven browning on the pans. I could have saved myself some time probably and the browning issues if I had not put all three pans in at the same time. I just wanted to be done. It would have taken me longer to bake each individual pan individually. It would have yielded more even results, but I was going for efficiency of time here. The goal is to get the dough baked. Depending on which dough you use, that will determine your cooking time. Base it on your dough recipe.

They were edible and actually quite delicious. They were a bigger hit than I thought they would be with the darker around the edges of the oven pieces and then oil swimming few. The kids did not seem to mind that it was chicken at all.

Chicken Taco Bites were a hit.

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