Many thanks to the American Dairy Association for hosting the tour referenced in the post. As always, all opinions are my own. This post contains Affiliate Links. Please see the disclaimer here.
Cheesy Chicken Taco Bowls are the best way to stretch chicken (or turkey) leftovers! They're as quick and easy as they are delicious!
A few weeks back, I was invited by the American Dairy Association to go on a tour and learn a little bit more about where our food comes from, specifically in relation to dairy products.
Dairy products are included in the vast majority of the food I make for myself and my family. To be honest, I never really thought much about it before, because it's so engrained in our lifestyle.
So for the week or two period I had to give it up in the very early days of nursing T, I felt like I had nothing I could eat because I include dairy in all my food. Luckily for all of us, T did not have any allergies or sensitivities to dairy and I was able to resume my cheese and ice cream binges!
This trip was a very large reminders that it can be so easy for us suburbanites to lose track of where our food comes from and how that fits into the big picture. It is so important to support the amazing people who provide us with freah and delicious food.
Our first day was jam packed with activity. We spent the beginning of the day touring Yancey's Fancy Cheese Plant and Processing Center which was seriously awesome. Fun fact: did you know Yancey's Fancy is New York's only Artisan Cheese Maker?
These people know their stuff when it comes to cheese making and the quality was exceptionally high while still doing so much to make it sustainable. Between the tremendous care and precision that went into these finely-crafted cheeses and my strong desire to jump into every vat of hot cheese I came across and relax as though I was in a hot tub, I'd say it was a pretty amazing and educational experience.
Next up was Noblehurst Farms. This is a family-owned and run farm that spans over seven generations. I was especially impressed with the fact that every conversation began and ended with the cows. There's clearly a tremendous amount of respect for these animals.
But the thing that really blew my mind was the fact how sustainable their entire operation is. Not a thing goes to waste. They actually have a system where they take food waste and animal waste (like manure) and turn it into electricity to power the entire farm with extra going into the power grid as well.
one of my favorite places ever our biggest major grocery chain in these parts, brings all of their food waste (like all the scraps and "unusuables" from prepared foods they make) to put it to better use this way. How incredible is that?!
We also had the pleasure of enjoying a dinner party with some of the local farmers which also presented the opportunity to get to know the staff at the American Dairy Association. This dinner was catered by FLX Table which is currently considered one of the top restaurants in the country. They seriously lived up to their reputation; the dinner was exceptional.
The next day, was spent at the New York Wine and Culinary Center. We got to learn a little more about the American Dairy Association. Then we had the pleasure of cooking in their amazing kitchens - there were actually some cooking competitions including a mac and cheese throw down and a competition using a "secret ingredient". I made my Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese as well as my Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes (my secret ingredient was Greek Yogurt).
It was all in good fun, but I got to taste everything and the competition was stiff. Every single thing I tried tasted amazing, I don't know how the judges decided!
Overall, I had the most amazing time getting to learn about where our food comes from. I think what made it such a valuable experience was that it really bridged the gap that has (to an extent) always existed between me, a suburban gal, and the great people who get the food from their farm to our table.
So in honor and celebration of my love for dairy, I threw together a quick recipe that's as easy as it is delicious and features a couple of my favorite dairy components: cheese and sour cream.
Now we're at the time of year where we're all starting to think about what to do with leftover turkey meat. Now I made this with check but whether it's leftover chicken or turkey meat, it's always nice to have some quick and tasty dinner options to throw together and prevent waste by stretching out your leftovers.
This was also inspired by our first day of the dairy tour and getting see all these great businesses doing everything the can to avoid waste and make their operations sustainable.
Cheesy Chicken Taco Bowls have three main items for you to make which are all super simple (well four, really. But one is heating up some yellow rice as per the package directions). The first is the the tortilla bowls. While you technically don't have to make them, I think they make this dish even more delicious and they look pretty awesome too. You're going to get extra scrappy and hack your muffin tins for this, as I'll describe below in the recipe.
Next is the chicken (or turkey if you're going that route). It's as simple throwing the leftover chicken along with a few tasty components into a skillet and heating them together.
Finally there's the Avocado Crema. Once again, a matter of combining some fresh and flavorful ingredients. I like to use my mini prep processor, but you could totally do it by hand if you don't mind some added time and work). This will provide a cool and light creamy sauce to drizzle over the top of your taco bowls.
This comes together in around 30-40 minutes max and you cannot beat all the great flavor! It's such a great weeknight meal and is also an excellent way to enjoy leftovers that you may have hanging around in your fridge!
Cheesy Chicken Taco Bowls Recipe
- 6-8 taco-size flour tortillas
- Cooking spray
- 2 cups leftover cooked chicken or turkey shredded or roughly chopped
- 1 10 oz. can rotel
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 14.5 oz. can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 packet of taco seasoning
- ¼ cup water
- Avocado Crema:
- 1 ripe avocado peeled and pit removed.
- 1 Tbsp. sour cream
- The juice from ½ of a lemon around a couple Tbsp.
- 1 pinch salt
- Small handful of cilantro to taste
You'll also need:
- 1 package of yellow rice prepared as per package directions (I use Goya yellow rice)
- 1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Preparing the yellow rice as per the package directions so it can simmer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. When it's done, set it aside for later.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and flip the muffin tins over so that the bottom is face up.
- Lightly spray both sides of each tortilla and wedge it between 4 muffin cups so that the middle is pressed down between them and 4 sides of the tortilla curve into the spaces between the muffin cups.
- Bake for 8 minutes and then remove from the oven to cool.
- Once cooled, place onto a lined pan and set aside for later.
- Chicken filling:
- In a skillet over medium heat, combine chicken, rotel, corn, black beans, taco seasoning and water.
- Stir periodically until heated through and steaming.
- Place avocado, sour cream, lemon juice salt and cilantro into the mini prep processor.
- Run the processor until the crema is fully combined and smooth.
- Place a layer of rice at the bottom of each tortilla bowl so that they're ½ full.
- Top with a big scoop of the chicken filling.
- Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
- Bake for 5-10 minutes until the cheese is fully melted.
- Drizzle with avocado crema and sprinkle with some leftover cilantro.
Here's one of my favorite Taco-themed recipes:
Here are a few other Taco-themed recipes I love:
You can find a full index of my recipes here.
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