My wonderful sister, whose eye for a good recipe I trust completely, has two food related boards on pinterest: Food and Keeper Recipes. She also has a wonderful board titled Happy that has a picture of the world’s largest rubber ducky and one of my all time favorite Ron Swanson quotes. That has nothing to do with this recipe, but much to do with her general awesomeness. Anyway. I keep an eye out for her pins generally, but I seriously stalk her Keepers. It’s how I decided to try oven-fajitas, and has me thinking about jambalaya and Parmesan pork chops. Most recently, my sister’s clever pinning inspired me to make baked chicken and spinach flautas. And just as has been true so many times before in our shared life (other examples include buying the same skirt at Anthro and falling in love with new to me bands), following her example was a fabulous call.
If I had seen just a photo of these flautas, I would have labeled them taquitos. I didn’t know what the difference was, but apparently it has to do with flour (flautas) vs corn (taquitos) tortillas, and with length. However you set the designation, these reminded me of the frozen taquitos my mom sometimes gets from Costco, and that is definitely a compliment. In the fall of 2011 I brought two fabulous friends home to VA with me, and tho we arrived pretty late my mom was still up and ready to make us a taquitos snack. The whole visit was a blast, but that cheesy crunchy late night tastiness stands out as a highlight. This version is healthier, being baked rather than fried and having handfuls of spinach snuck into the mix, but it was close enough to make for a very happy dinner. And tho I didn’t try it this time around, I have a feeling that you could easily wrap these up individually and freeze them for that late night snack appeal. Next time, fo’sho.
I followed both the original recipe and Joie’s additional suggestions: “Mixed filling together instead of adding layers individually, added can of black beans, some homemade salsa, cayenne pepper, and chipotle hot sauce.” This, you see, is the true beauty of her Keeper Recipes board: she sometimes includes her tips and tricks, having made the recipe at least once before. Solid gold. Along with Joie’s suggestions (mixing the filling together rather than layering was especially clutch–why on earth would you need to take the time to layer this?), I also added about an extra cup of spinach and used chicken breasts rather than thighs. I also subbed in smoked paprika for regular, because smoked paprika and I are having a moment. The mix of chicken, spinach, beans, salsa, cheese and spices was so tasty that I can imagine using it for many more things than these (slightly time intensive to assemble) flautas–it would be great in a big ole burrito, on top of nachos, or over brown rice. It’s also great in bites by itself as you’re working, just in case you happen to be a hungry cook.
I got to play with some new techniques while making this recipe. I’d neither poached nor shredded chicken before (strange but true), and was really pleased with how easy both are. I also had fun with the repetitive filling and rolling, tho it definitely took a few tries to get the proportions right. If I were posting this on my own Keeper Recipe board, I would have one additional note to make–be sure sure the bottom of your baking sheet is liberally slick with oil before you start rolling. I started out with the recommended amount and thought it looked like too much, so wiped some away. Bad call. The flautas stuck to the sheet, causing the carnage above, which resulted in a little kitchen cursing. But now I know for next time. And while my first attempt might not have been pretty, it did hit the spot.
You can find the original recipe on Healthy. Delicious.