Necessity is the Mother of Invention
These tacos were created one night when Matt was out of town, and I was searching for something simple to make that both Cora and Levi would eat. I didn’t want to take a trip to the grocery store, so I needed to use what was already in my kitchen. Tada! Oven-baked chicken tacos! Levi will eat his with soft tortillas. Cora loves hard taco shells and she likes taco seasoning. It was an instant win!
Marinating Your Chicken Makes it Extra Delicious
This starts with an easy marinade. Now truthfully, the first time I made this recipe the idea came to me 30 minutes before I served the meal, so there was no marinade to be had. And if you are pinched on time, you can totally skip this too! But with a little planning ahead, this is a step that will make your chicken extra tender, juicy, and flavorful. It can soak in the marinade for as little as an hour, and up to 24 hours. It would be perfect to throw it in the refrigerator before you leave for work, and then you just have a few steps of prep before dinner.
When you are ready to cook the meat, just remove it from the marinade, wipe off the excess moisture, and throw it into a pan. Sprinkle with taco seasoning, pour some salsa on top and off to the oven it goes!
Let Your Chicken Rest
Once it is cooked through, you might reach for your forks to begin shredding. But wait! As I mentioned in the house chicken recipe, chicken is best when it sits for 5 minutes so that the juices can get locked in. This will also allow the chicken to cool off enough for you to shred it without burning yourself.
While the chicken is in the oven, prep your favorite toppings. I love lettuce, tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro, sour cream, avocado and cheese. But you can keep it as simple or complex as you want. This chicken also makes a great salad topping!
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 cup hot salsa
- 1.5 pounds chicken
- 2-3 tbsp taco seasoning
- 1/2 cup salsa
- 1 pkg taco shells or tortillas
- your favorite taco toppings
- In a large bowl, stir together the buttermilk and 1/2 cup of salsa. Place chicken in mixture and cover. Refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 24 hours.
- When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove chicken from marinade and wipe off excess moisture.
- Place in a 9x13 pan with space between each piece of chicken.
- Sprinkle taco seasoning liberally over the top of each piece of chicken. Spoon remaining 1/2 cup of salsa over the chicken, covering each piece.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Let cool for 5 minutes, then shred. Serve with your favorite topping and crispy taco shells, tortillas or as a salad.