Boy, have I got a fun recipe for you today! I wanted something that was really easy to prep and cook, that would easily feed a crowd, and that everyone would love. My whole family was begging for seconds – that is my benchmark for success.
When people talk about tacos in this country, they usually mean seasoned hamburger cooked on the stove and served in hard taco shells with some cheese on top. I changed this up a little. I used an easy salsa marinade, cooked the chicken on the grill, added a bright fruit salsa, and used soft corn tortillas to make beautiful, Mexican-style chicken tacos.
Before I popped the chicken on the grill, I marinated it in regular tomato-based salsa. You could certainly use a tomatillo-based salsa (salsa verde) if you like more citrusy flavor. I live in California, and we can buy fresh salsa at the store any time. But any bottled salsa will do.
One of my favorite Mexican meals is Tacos al Pastor, made with pork basted with fresh pineapple. I love how the fruit marries beautifully with the meat. With that dish in mind, I put together an easy pineapple salsa. The combination was fantastic and exactly what I wanted.
If you have children in the house, put them to work and create an assembly line. As soon as you have all the ingredients prepped, set them up on your counter and assign one or two to each child. Everyone will have fun adding their ingredients and passing the taco along to the next person. Dinner will be on the table in no time!
I decided to cook the chicken the day before I was planning on serving these tacos, while I was cooking a few steaks on my Premium TRU-Infrared™ grill by Char-Broil®. I cooked the steak first and while it was resting, I tossed the Mexican chicken on the grill. Within a few minutes I had two dinners made.
I stored the chicken in a resealable bag in the refrigerator. When I was ready to serve, I sliced the breasts thinly crosswise. I placed them on a plate, covered it and microwaved them until warm. Everything tasted like it had just come off the grill and couldn’t have been easier or faster to make.
I like having some recipes on hand that I can prepare in advance and have available during the week. The next time you are planning on using your grill, think about cooking two or more meats at the same time. Then you can serve some that evening, saving the rest for busy weeknight meals. Plan on making this Mexican chicken soon and I promise you will get rave reviews! I can’t wait for our second night of Mexican Chicken Tacos!
Grilled Mexican Chicken Tacos with Fresh Pineapple Salsa are a delicious, healthy weeknight meal.
- 3 cups prepared salsa
- 1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 handful fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, or a combination
- 3 tablespoons organic olive oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground ancho chile powder
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 12 corn tortillas (gluten-free if needed)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple cubes (if you cannot find fresh pineapple, use canned pineapple packed in water and drain well), chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds discarded, and finely chopped
- 1/2 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, stem, seeds and ribs discarded, finely minced
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Juice of 1 to 2 limes to taste
- 1 tablespoon organic olive oil
- Fresh cilantro, chopped, to taste
- Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- Chopped green onions
- Fresh cilantro, stems removed, leaves finely chopped, plus a few sprigs for garnishing
- Lime wedges
- Place the salsa, honey, lime juice, cumin, cilantro and salt in a food processor or blender. Process until smoothly blended. Transfer to a large resealable plastic bag and add the chicken. Seal the bag, pressing out the air. Massage the chicken to make sure all surfaces are coated with the marinade. Place the chicken in the refrigerator and marinate for 30 minutes to one hour, turning occasionally so all sides of the chicken are coated with the marinade.
- Preheat your gas grill to high heat or build a medium-hot charcoal fire, banking the coals on one side of the grill. If using gas, turn down to medium heat.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the marinade. Brush the chicken pieces with the olive oil, sprinkle all sides with the paprika and chile powder, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place on the hot grill and cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until the chicken is browned and cooked through, about 10-15 minutes total, depending on the size of the chicken pieces. The chicken is done when an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the thickest part registers 160 degrees.
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes lightly covered with foil. Cut into thin slices. Wrap the chicken slices in foil, and place them back on the cooler part of the grill to keep warm.
- Warm the corn tortillas on the grill until softened, about 20 seconds per side, flipping with tongs as needed. Transfer to a foil packet to keep warm and pliable.
- Place the chopped pineapple, bell pepper, onion, and jalapenos in a mixing bowl and toss to combine. Sprinkle very lightly with salt and pepper. Add the lime juice and olive oil, starting with the juice of one lime, then taste and add more if it needs it. Toss again until everything is evenly coated. Add as much cilantro as you like, reserving a few sprigs for garnishing the salsa and plates.
- Place some of the chicken in a warm tortilla, add a spoonful or two of the pineapple salsa, sprinkle the top with shredded cheese, green onions, and cilantro. Make two to three per person and serve with lime wedges. Pass additional toppings and salsa at the table so everyone can customize their own tacos.