Your Taco Tuesday gets an Upgrade With This Recipe

Martina McBride

Chili Lime Chicken Tacos With Grilled Pineapple Salsa and Avocado Crema

“This recipe takes a little work, but it’s so worth it! It’s loaded with some of my favorite go-to basic recipes, and the versatility is definitely impressive. Tacos are trendy and this particular recipe hits all the right notes.” — Martina McBride


SERVES 6 | HANDS-ON 20 MINUTES | TOTAL 2 HOURS, 20 MINUTES


You’ll Need:

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Southwest citrus rub
  • 12 to 18 (6-inch) flour tortillas, warmed
  • Grilled pineapple salsa 
  • Avocado crema
  • Grated pepper Jack cheese

Directions:

  1. Combine the chicken and Southwest Citrus Rub in a ziplock freezer bag.
  2. Chill at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours.
  3. Preheat a grill to medium-high (about 450 degrees Fahrenheit).
  4. Remove the chicken from the bag with the rub; grill 5 minutes on each side or until done. Slice the chicken and serve in the flour tortillas with the grilled pineapple salsa, avocado crema and grated pepper jack cheese.

Grilled pork tenderloin would be delicious here with the sweet pineapple and the citrus rub.


Southwest Citrus Rub

This is a great all-purpose rub for chicken, shrimp, or veggies. Use 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin for the cumin seeds in a pinch, and chipotle chili powder in place of the regular chili powder for a spicy, smoky kick.

MAKES ABOUT 1⁄4 CUP | HANDS-ON 10 MINUTES | TOTAL 10 MINUTES

You’ll Need:

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp chili powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp paprika
  • 1⁄2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1⁄8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp lime zest
  • 2 tbs lime juice
  • 1 1⁄2 tbs olive oil

Directions:

  1. Toast the cumin seeds in a small cast-iron skillet over medium 2 minutes or just until fragrant. Remove from the heat; let cool. Crush the seeds with a mortar and pestle or in a ziplock bag with a small heavy skillet or rolling pin.
  2. Stir together the crushed cumin, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne, salt, lime zest and juice, and olive oil. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Beyond tacos, the Homemade Taco Seasoning is a great rub for most any grilled meats. Use it to season ground beef for a taco soup. Just simmer in vegetable broth with diced tomatoes and green chiles, corn, and pinto beans. Serve topped with sour cream and a bit of chopped cilantro or my Avocado Crema on page 251.


Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Grilling the ingredients gives this salsa smoky flavor. If you don’t have a grill, just chop the pineapple, onion, and pepper and grill them in a grill pan on the stove until they get a slight char.

MAKES 3 CUPS | HANDS-ON 25 MINUTES  | TOTAL 25 MINUTES

  • 1⁄2 fresh cored pineapple, cut into 3 (3⁄4-inch-thick) rounds
  • 1 small red onion, quartered
  • 1 small red chile pepper, or jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1⁄2 tsp lime zest
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • 1⁄2 tsp chili powder
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat a charcoal grill to medium-high (about 450˚F). Grill the pineapple, onion, and red pepper, turning occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes or until charred. Let cool, chop, and transfer to a bowl.
  2. Stir in the chile, cilantro, lime zest and juice, and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.

Avocado Crema

This versatile sauce adds flavor to the chili lime chicken tacos. Top a baked potato or fish with it, or dunk chicken fingers in it. 

MAKES 1 CUP | HANDS-ON 15 MINUTES | TOTAL 4 HOURS, 15 MINUTES, INCLUDING 4 HOURS CHILLING

You’ll Need:

  • 1 medium-size ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
  • 2 tbs mayonnaise
  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 to 2 tsp Mexican hot sauce
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

Process the avocado, sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, and hot sauce in a food processor 30 seconds until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover; chill up to 4 hours.


Excerpted from Martina’s Kitchen Mix by Martina McBride. Copyright © 2018 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from TI Inc. Books, a division of Meredith Corporation. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

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