Baked Chicken and Spinach Flautas

Wow—this last month has flashed by in the blink of an eye!  I could have sworn that I just posted my first recipe as a member of the Secret Recipe Club, but here it is time for the second go-round.

For a little refresher, the Secret Recipe Club was formed by an enterprising blogger named Amanda of Amanda’s Cookin’ and has grown into a large group of bloggers who participate each month in a fun sharing of each other’s blogs.  Each member is secretly assigned another member’s blog from which to choose a recipe to make and post on their own site.  Then there is a coordinated “reveal” date where we all share our posts and find out who made what from whose blog.

I was assigned the blog named “Healthy. Delicious.” whose blogger, Lauren, started the site as a weight watcher’s blog after graduating from college.  She had tried Weight Watchers and lost weight but gained it back.  After trying several other diets, she figured out the best approach for her which was to limit processed foods and refined carbs and eat lots of fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables along with whole grains.  Sounds like a sensible approach to me!

My personal approach is quite similar.  I avoid refined/starch carbs and processed foods, and fresh fruit and vegetables have always been a part of my diet.  Having said that, anyone who knows me knows that I do have a sweet tooth.  I figure since I eat so healthily the majority of the time, I can indulge in a dessert at least once a week.  I have the same philosophy with regard to an “indulgent” meal.  I allow myself a diet sin here and there and stay on the straight and narrow the rest of the time.

I have a confession to make, though, about so-called healthy recipes.  Quite often, by the time you take all the fat and calories out of a recipe, you take all the flavor out as well.  I remember the first time I substituted applesauce for some of the butter in a recipe and was treated to a cake with a rubber-like texture.  Ugh.  On one or two occasions, I’ve looked at a lightened version of a recipe and put the butter back in when I made it!  I feel if you’re going to sin, it had better be worth it!!

So, it was with great curiosity that I browsed through Lauren’s recipes.  Almost immediately, this recipe for baked flautas with chicken and spinach caught my eye.  I knew my family would enjoy the classic ingredients, but would we like the flautas baked rather than fried in the traditional manner?  The answer is a resounding “yes,” we did!  The baking eliminates a lot of calories, and you get a delicious flauta that is delightfully crunchy.  As a bonus, each flauta has only 180 calories.  This recipe is definitely a great find in my book—thanks, Lauren!

Baked Chicken and Spinach Flautas

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Ingredients

  • Approx. 4 cups of diced or shredded cooked chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 4 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 5 burrito-size flour tortillas (9 to 10 inches)
  • 6 ounces Mexican blend cheese or other melting cheese, shredded
  • 2 tbl. olive oil, or cooking spray

Accompaniments

  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Sour Cream

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450*F.

Mix together the chicken, seasonings, and cilantro.

In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup of water and add the jalapeño, garlic and baby spinach and cook over low heat until for 2-3 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted.  Add a bit more water if necessary to keep it from becoming totally dry before the spinach wilts.

Cut the tortillas in half.  Spoon 1/10th of the chicken (about 1 tablespoon) along the long edge of a tortilla.  (My tortillas were large—10”—so, I used approximately 2 tbl. of the mixture per half of a tortilla.  I got a total of 8 flautas using the larger tortilla.)   Repeat with the spinach and cheese.  (I just eyeballed when I sprinkled the cheese.)  Roll the tortilla up, starting with the straight edge.  Place seam-side down on an oiled baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Brush the flautas with olive oil or spray with cooking spray.

Bake for 10 minutes, then turn them over and bake for a few more minutes, or until crispy.  (When I checked mine at 10 minutes, they were quite crispy already, so I didn’t bother turning them or cooking any longer.)

Serve with accompaniments of your choice.  Makes 8 to 10 flautas depending on size of tortilla you use.

Fran’s Notes

Lauren wasn’t lazy like I was and she poached chicken thighs with beer and water and then shredded the chicken.  It sounds like the chicken would be fabulous prepared that way.  So, if you’ve got the time, take a look at her method and give it a try.  She also has a great tip on how to shred the chicken easily using a stand mixer.

Source:  Adaptation of a healthy-delicious.com recipe

Secret Recipe Club



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