Nick’s favorite cuisine is Mexican… and good Mexican food is pretty difficult to find outside of the Americas! We are always on the lookout and have found gems in the most surprising of places, like Mojo’s Flying Burritos in Bali, Indonesia, and Viva Mexico by Mr. Taco in Doha, Qatar. We like lots of different types of cuisine, but if it’s Nick’s choice, it’s going to be Mexican. So when our friends and I were planning his fortieth birthday party, we knew what cuisine needed to be heavily featured!

One of my favorite Mexican dishes are taquitos, which are basically tacos that are rolled into flutes and baked or fried. (Okay, traditionally they are fried, but I bake them because it’s a lot healthier!) If you use wheat tortillas, they are flautas, while taquitos use corn tortillas. Both corn and wheat tortillas actually work and are delicious baked in the oven, so really, you can’t go wrong! 

I cooked a whole bunch of taquitos for our friends to power us up at the beginning of the celebration. Taquitos can be premade and then reheated in the oven, making them a perfect party appetizer! I made three types of taquitos: chicken taquitos from Dinner at the Zoo, beef taquitos from CD Kitchen, and black bean taquitos from Two Peas and Their Pod. All were big hits! 

Let me give just a few tips and modifications on making these taquitos. First of all, I used corn-and-wheat tortillas, which were easier to work with than pure corn tortillas, and I made sure to heat them up before rolling them (by placing two tortillas on a plate, between two damp paper towels, for 30 seconds in the microwave). Six-inch tortillas would be a great size, but if you can only find the big ones, just cut them in half before rolling! 

Modifications: The black bean taquitos were a huge hit—fresh and delicious—and I followed the instructions to the letter. For the chicken taquitos, the recipe suggests using already cooked shredded chicken, but I cooked up some freshly ground chicken with a bit of olive oil and found this method really helped the chicken soak up the spices and be extra juicy and delicious! I also added a little fresh lime juice to the chicken mixture. As for the beef taquitos, I thought the original recipe was a bit bland, so I added seeded and diced jalapeño to the beef mixture along with most of a 10-oz can of green chile sauce, and these additions really made a difference. For all of the taquitos, I used a shredded Mexican cheese blend (so easy! and so good!).

Baking: For all the taquitos, I rolled the tortillas up and secured each with a toothpick. I preheated the oven to 450° F (nice and hot!) and liberally coated a baking sheet with non-stick olive oil spray. Then I used a silicon brush to make sure each tortilla was coated in oil to help them crisp up in the oven. A sprinkle of freshly ground salt on top of each one, and then I baked them for about 15 minutes, checking and rotating to make sure nothing over- or under-crisped! 

Accompaniments: Whatever you want! But I chose to offer sour cream, shredded lettuce, salsa, shredded cheese, green onions, and con queso. Fresh avocados and pico de gallo are also great toppings! 

We enjoyed these taquitos with fresh Palomas! Happy 40th birthday, Nick!