This is a recipe I always have at the ready, because it calls for few ingredients, can be whipped up in fifteen minutes (if you're fast), and is something my wife will never, ever complain about. It's really more assembly than cooking, but chicken taco salad is absolutely one of my favorite things to make. It's great as lunch or dinner, and though it may not look like much, it's surprisingly filling. Also, it's a salad, so it has to be healthy! (In truth, if you must know, it's about 600 calories per serving.) If you're looking for something that tastes like authentic Mexican cuisine, go somewhere else, because this is made with plenty of store-bought shortcuts that make it genuine American fare, more Taco Bell than Mexico City. If that sounds good to you, feel free to give this one a go, and don't be afraid to play around with it, tossing in diced tomatoes and/or chiles, replacing the cheese with nacho cheese or queso blanco, etc.
Preheat the oven at 325°. Place taco shells on a baking sheet and set them in the warming oven. They'll be hot enough by the time you get to the assembly. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken. Cook the chicken for approximately 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until done.
Pour in the seasonings and chicken broth. Stir until the seasonings are completely incorporated. Reduce heat to low and let simmer.
Pour the refried beans into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans are heated through. Begin the assembly. In each of four plates, start by placing two taco shells--broken in half--on the bottom. Then sprinkle on about 1/2 cup shredded lettuce.
Spoon about a quarter of the total beans onto the lettuce, followed by about a quarter of the chicken mixture, 1/4 cup cheese, and a quarter of the green onions.
Next add one half of another taco shell, crumbled into pieces. Over that, add a dollup of sour cream and a tbsp of your favorite taco sauce. Top it off with the other half of the taco shell. Enjoy!
-e. magill 3/17/2011
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