Chicken Tacos w/ Pineapple Salsa

My featured guest this month is my cousin, Jenny. Jenny and I have been Best Friends since we were little. We have so many great memories and some of the best come from reminiscing about college! We both attended Western Illinois University (WIU) and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in crime! After college we both became teachers and stood up with each other in our weddings. We may be miles a part today, but anytime we see each other we pick right back up where we left off! She’s the sister I never had and I’m so thankful to have her in my life! On top of being a busy mom of 3, she’s a wonderful cook and baker. I’m so excited to share her recipes with you!


Taco night is a weekly meal in our house because who doesn’t love tacos?! This Mexican grilled chicken marinade is FULL of flavor! We love to pair it with grilled pineapple salsa and a crunchy fried tortilla shell. It is perfect for grilling on a hot summer day with a cold margarita in hand. Yes, it’s only March, but we’ve been dreaming of summer at our house and the warm temperatures last weekend were perfect for grilling! 

First, gather all your chicken marinade ingredients! Chop up your cilantro, juice the two limes and add all ingredients to a Ziploc bag or bowl with a lid.


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Pound out your chicken breast. Add chicken. Marinate overnight or at least for 3 hours. We like to marinate the chicken for about 6-8 hours.


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Begin prepping your pineapple salsa. We like to do this right before dinner time, while the grill is heating up. Cut up the vegetables and fruit. (See recipe for more specific directions.) Drizzle red onion, pepper, and jalapeno with olive oil. I use a basting brush.


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Grill vegetables/fruit until lightly charred. 


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Once cool enough to handle, dab off any excess oil with paper towels from vegetables and chop pineapple (cutting around core), red bell peppers, and onions. Toss pineapple, red bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice,  cumin and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Chill until dinnertime!


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Now that the pineapple salsa is finished it’s time to grill the chicken! Grill chicken until cooked through. Then cut into strips or bite sized pieces. 


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And finally, if you’re wanting to make the PERFECT taco, fry some white corn shells in vegetable oil. You will not be dissapointed! Add chicken and pineapple salsa to the fried tortilla and enjoy!!


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Grilled Chicken Tacos w/ Pineapple Salsa

Mexican Chicken Marinade

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts(about 3 or 4) ¼ cup of olive oil 

  • Juice from two whole limes 

  • 2 cloves of garlic (I used fresh minced garlic in a jar) 

  • ⅓ cup of chopped cilantro (packed tightly) 

  • ½ tsp of cumin

  • 1 tsp of chili powder 

  • 1 tsp of onion powder

  • 1.5 tsp salt 

  • 1 tsp sugar 

Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a Ziploc bag or bowl with a lid. 

  2. Pound out your chicken breasts so that they are uniform in size. I usually like to keep them around 1/2 inch thick so they cook evenly. 

  3. Place the chicken in the Ziploc bag or bowl and refrigerate overnight or for at least 3 hours. We usually make our marinade in the morning and then cook the chicken that evening. 

  4. Grill chicken until cooked throughout.

  5. Cut into small strips or bite sized pieces. 


Grilled Pineapple Salsa 

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 ripe pineapple, trimmed and sliced (cut crossways into about ½ inch thick pieces, leave the core)

  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and quartered

  • 1/2 small red onion, peeled and cut in half (so you have 2 quarters of whole onion)

  • 1 whole jalapeno (or more if you like it spicy) 

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Drizzle red onions with olive oil and thread onto a skewer (if using a wooden skewer, soak skewer in water for at least 30 minutes beforehand). Drizzle red bell pepper quarters and jalapeno with olive oil to lightly coat. These can also be put onto a skewer, but we just put them straight on the grill. 

  2. GRILLING: Grease grill and heat to medium high heat.

  3. Working in batches as needed depending on grill size, grill pineapple and vegetables at medium high heat until tender and lightly charred all over, about 12 minutes for the onions, turning occasionally, about 8-10 minutes for the pineapple, or until caramelized, flipping once, 6 minutes for the red bell peppers, flipping once, and jalapeno for 3-5 minutes, turning occasionally.

  4. Once cool enough to handle, dab off any excess oil with paper towels from vegetables and chop pineapple (cutting around core), red bell peppers, and onions. Devein and deseed jalapeno and dice. 

  5. Toss pineapple, red bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice,  cumin and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. If you would like it spicier, add some of the jalapeno seeds to taste.

  6. Can be served immediately or even better chilled.

Notes

If you don’t have a grill or don’t have the time to grill, this salsa is still delicious without grilling!

How to Store 

You can store pineapple jalapeño salsa up to 4 days in an airtight container in your refrigerator, but be aware that the fruit and veggies will become increasingly soft and change the texture of the salsa.


Fried Corn Tortillas 

Taco Night does not happen at our house without some fried corn tortillas!! I never even knew this was a thing until I met my husband and boy was I missing out! Yes, I know fried shells are not as healthy. Trust me, it’s worth the extra calories. They are the best! I’ll do my best to give some quick instructions on how to fry taco shells, but my husband does all the frying in our house!  Here’s what he said when I asked him about his recipe…”It’s an art, you just have to do it”.

Ingredients:

White corn shells
Vegetable or canola oil

Instructions:

  1. Pour about ½ inch of oil into a small skillet.

  2. Heat oil on med-high heat. Make sure the oil is hot enough before adding a tortilla. If the oil is too cool, the tortillas will soak up too much oil.

  3. While the oil is heating up, place paper towels onto a plate or baking sheet. 

  4. As soon as the oil is hot, use tongs to place one tortilla into the skillet. It should sizzle immediately. Cook until it is blistering but still soft, 10 to 15 seconds. Using tongs, turn the tortilla over and then immediately fold to form a taco shell.

  5. Once the tortilla is holding its shape, turn until crisp and golden all over, 15 to 30 seconds longer. 

  6. Transfer to your plate or baking sheet lined with paper towels.

    Enjoy!

  1. Angie Ruebush says:

    Jenny,
    I can’t wait to try these! It sounds like a perfect summer meal! I will have to try my hand in frying tortillas to see if I can make it an “art.” 😉

  2. Shelly Martin says:

    Looks delicious. I’ll have to see if I can get my personal Chef Jack Martin to try out the recipe.

  3. Marsha Schoeneman says:

    WOW, love the grilling part — great marinade too! Can’t wait to try 🙂

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