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now that’s a good day

Recipe: chile-lime chicken tacos

I love a good day!

1) I like waking up early in the morning and getting heaps of things done. It makes me feel like my days are fuller… I guess they ARE fuller because I don’t go to sleep any earlier (that’s the vicious sleepless cycle of summer).

2) While I did my sit ups, Kaweah sat at my feet and licked my shins. Every time I laughed, she wagged her tail and stamped her front paws because she wanted to play.

3) I tried out a new recipe that rocked my socks.

4) My lens is under full warranty for major repairs. Yay!

5) I bought another camera. The circuit is now complete. Something something Dark Side…

6) Met with Dan of Savory Spice Shop in Boulder to discuss sponsorship of the Food and Light workshop. I picked up several beautiful herbs and spices to boot. And my girlfriend, who was passing by on the street, saw me and popped into the shop to pinch my bum! Wooooo!

7) Had dinner with my buddy Jason while he helped me get my new search tool installed on the blog, and then we went to a local blogger meetup.

at the meetup (jason was still working on the search tool)

8) I brought fresh baked cranberry oatmeal cookies (and chocolate oatmeal cookies) for Jason and my pals Manisha and Kath at the meetup.

actually, these garlic fries weren’t so good, but jason liked his mojito(s)

iphone whore

9) Ran into my friends Jo and Jeremy plus a fellow Ignite Boulder speaker Peter! Met several local bloggers including a darling woman Rose (Rosie?).

lovely manisha

rosalicious addresses the group

And those were just the highlights of the day! But wait, here’s another highlight: chile-lime chicken tacos. After downing an exquisite taco from a taqueria in California’s Central Valley, I began thinking about all manner of Mexican food that I hadn’t had in a while. It’s just not the same in Colorado, you know? At least not until my friend opens his new Mexican Taqueria in Boulder – but I’ll tell you more about that later!

fresh lime juice

trimmed chicken thigh meat and chile powder

This is a fairly quick recipe I like to whip up when time is short. The key to it is the chile powder. I buy a lot of red chile powder when I’m in New Mexico and the flavor is far better than any chili powder I have tried at the standard grocery store. The quality of the chile powder determines the awesomeness of the chicken.

sauté the chicken

add the goodies to the pan

Another factor in the awesomeness of the chicken for me is the meat. I buy organic and I prefer chicken thigh meat. Chicken breast meat works just fine, but it tends to be more dry. The problem with chicken thigh meat is that it is riddled with little bits of fat which I meticulously remove. That can be a drag when you’re in a hurry. Seriously though, it’s just chicken, lime juice, oil, chile powder, salt, water.

chicken is done

fixins: queso blanco, guacamole, shredded cabbage, salsa

Equally important are the fixins. People put lettuce on their tacos, but I really like the crunch of cabbage. Of course, what is a taco without some cheese, guacamole, and salsa? In our household, we have a split. Jeremy is a fan of flour tortillas and I am a loyal corn tortilla girl. I say, go with what you like best because this filling is awesome no matter what kind of tortilla you choose.

i like the double corn tortilla taco

loaded and ready to go (in mah belly!)

Chile-Lime Chicken Tacos
[print recipe]

2-3 tbsps olive oil
1 lb. chicken breast or thigh meat, trimmed and sliced into strips
1-2 limes, juice of
3 tbsps chile powder (I like to use medium hot red chile powder – not chili powder)
salt to taste
1/4 cup water
corn or flour tortillas
queso blanco, fresco, or whatever cheese you like on your tacos
shredded cabbage

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and stir until the outsides are partly cooked. Stir in the lime juice, chile powder, salt, and water until well mixed. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Let simmer for 20 minutes then give it a quick stir. Most of the liquid should have cooked down, and if it hasn’t you can let it simmer with the lid off until you have a thickish sauce remaining with the chicken. Heat the tortillas (warm the flour tortillas, lightly pan fry the corn tortillas) and load them up with the chicken, cheese, cabbage, guacamole, and salsa. Makes 8-10 tacos.

Note on chicken meat: I prefer to use chicken thigh meat because I think it has better flavor and is more moist than chicken breast meat. That said, trimming thigh meat of fat and connective tissue takes more time and makes you just a little insane. Okay, it makes me a little insane(r). And of course, I prefer organic whether I use chicken thighs or chicken breasts.

28 nibbles at “now that’s a good day”

  1. Memoria says:

    This looks so delicious and fresh!!! YUM!

    There’s nothing like a good taquería!

    I’m so glad you had such a good and productive day. I’m so jealous that you got another camera. I wish I had the means to get a new one. *sigh* I will just live vicariously through you haha.

  2. cleare27 says:

    Oh I love guacamole and I love tacos..and I love this meal!

  3. Wei-Wei says:

    Yeah, I’ve seen many people who prefer the darker thigh meat over the breast meat. Apparently chicken breast is overrated (“low fat! high protein!”) but I personally don’t mind it… I don’t usually eat chicken, so I wouldn’t know, really. I think that when I do, it’s usually incorporated in some other dish and would probably be breast meat… :P

    Chili and lime sound very familiar to me right now. Vietnamese spring rolls are on the agenda for dinner tonight! (there’s lime juice and diced chilis in the dipping sauce!)


  4. Nisrine@Dinners and Dreams says:

    Such delicious tacos. Can’t go wrong using all these wonderful ingredients.

  5. Belinda @zomppa says:

    That sounds like a perfect day for sure!

  6. Laura B. says:

    That is a good day!

  7. Janet says:

    I am a sucker for an attitude of gratitude. Thanks for the lift this morning!

    And, as a local Boulder blogger, can you help me learn more about those blogger meet-ups?

  8. Trent says:

    mmmmm, tacos. i might have to steal this recipe. i’m a little worried though about jeremy and flour tortilla tacos! sacrilege!

  9. Melissa says:

    I use chicken thighs too, and for the taste as well. I also have used only New Mexican chile powder for about 2 years now.

    *Pats self on back*

    Seriously though, this is a great idea for my thighs in the freezer for next week. I don’t have as much luck with chicken tacos as I do with beef or pork for some reason. They tend to be bland.

  10. Melissa says:

    Oh also? “Something something Dark Side…” HA HA HA. “Something something something. Com-PLETE.” LOVE.

  11. Mrs Ergül says:

    This reminds me of the Mexican food we had last week! It was so good I already know it will be our favourite hangout very soon!

    Do you have the recipe for the salsa??

    Enjoy your simmer, Jen!

  12. Judy says:

    New Mexico chile powder is the best. Actually, unadulterated chile powder is what you want, not the stuff with a bunch of add-ins. Those tacos look delish!

  13. Cleo says:

    I just made these tacos and they were the best I’ve ever had. So simple but full of flavor. Loved them. Thank you.

  14. Rebecca says:

    Hey Jen! I’m here in Mexico and even in taco heaven those tacos look great! Just wanted to give a shout out and congrats to you–URB is one of 5280’s top CO websites in the June issue! YAY! XO

  15. Caitlin says:

    Yes, yes, yes. I have been mainlining tacos since getting into SJV – lengua, asada, al pastor… Gah! I have to stock up, because I don’t think NC has many good tacos stands / trucks / shacks / carts :) This taco though, I might bookmark to make when I get back – it’ll help hold me over until the next time I find good authentic tacos.

  16. Susan says:

    I added your blog to my google reader a year or so ago and love your pics and your food! We live in Denver, and I was so excited to open my 5280 this morning and see your blog get the accolades it most certainly deserves! I’ve never left a reply before, but thought this occasion should prompt it. Congrats!!!!

  17. Andrea says:

    I am thawing the chicken meat right now. Your mexican food always rocks! Unfortunately in Canada in the middle of the prairies, it is next to impossible to get good mexican unless you make it yourself…fortunately we have a few good chile suppliers! Thanks for another one to add to the repetoire!

  18. jenyu says:

    Memoria – well, the camera is for work.

    Janet – The Front Range Blogger Meetups are open. I’ve just never been able to attend one until now because they alternate between Denver and Boulder (or someplace on the flats) every month. Just google front range blogger meetup and you’ll find it.

    Trent – it’s a totally New Mexico thing! They love flour tortillas with everything – whatevs! ;)

    Melissa – I shall pat you on the back too. You’re a good girl! xo (p.s. you and I must watch the same dorky shows, eh?)

    Mrs. E – salsas to come this summer!

    Judy – BINGO! :)

    Cleo – that’s awesome! I’m so glad you like them.

    Rebecca – thank you, sweetie. Congrats to you too – wooooo!

    Susan – oh my gosh, thank you! That’s so nice of you. It’s great to know there are locals reading too. xo

  19. Mrs Ergül says:

    thank you in advance, Jen! xxoo xxoo

  20. Helene says:

    You know, that could definitely turn me into a breakfast girl. Gosh that looks good!

  21. Kath says:

    Cookies were AMAZING…and history by the end of the day :-)

    Was awesome seeing you, meeting Meatflag & Manisha, and did I mention the cookies??

    Thanks again honey!


  22. rosie says:

    I was just thinking about you last night, reading my 5280 magazine! Congrats on being featured :)

    And yes, again – great to meet you as well. And fun to stumble upon the meetup, too…of which I had no clue!

  23. bekah jones says:


    I made these tonight and they were a hit with my kids. Thanks for another wonderful recipe!

  24. Time for a Celebration | Fitness NYC says:

    […] For him: some organic chili lime chicken using this recipe […]

  25. Clare says:

    Thanks for sharing this fantastic recipe! I made it last night and my boyfriend and I LOVED it!

  26. » Filth Aardvark & Donkey says:

    […] another recipe you might like: Chili-Lime Chicken Tacos. I made it the other night and it took closer to 60 minutes than the 20 the recipe suggests for the […]

  27. Allie says:

    Made these tacos twice now and they were so good. I found “Mexican style hot chili powder” and used that and it’s soooo good, although maybe different from the real thing? Yum.

  28. Margaret says:

    I think I first made these in 2014 or 2015 and they are still one of the best recipes out there! It really comes together fast and tastes better than you might expect. When making these last night, I lightly seasoned the chicken breast with seasoning salt before putting it in the oil and then did not need to salt it again. It’s good with a slaw like this:

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