I met a few really great friends in high school, and when we graduated and went our separate ways, we used to plan get-togethers where we would make dinner together and watch a movie. To make things interesting, we always had a theme. I remember planning for the very first one: three of us were having lunch at Seven West and talking about the ingredients that we would need. Our movie was The Godfather 1 and we were going to make meatballs. It was a lot of fun, albeit a bit traumatic because it was the first time I watched The Godfather and that scene with the horse head on the bed really threw me off. But cooking together was a great way for us to bond. Our subsequent movie nights were similar, The Godfather 2 + pastas, The Godfather 3 + gnocchi (I hosted that one!), Finding Nemo + seafood, Ice Age + cold soups ... As we got older, we got less creative with the themes, but still find time to get together for some good food, a fun movie and some time to catch up.
On Friday, we had a dinner and movie night, but with no theme. We made tacos and went out to watch Alice in Wonderland (yeah .. kinda random, but whatever), and we had our dinner at our new place. To nibble on, we had some beautiful red corn chips with homemade guacamole and salsa, and my friend brought over this dark Mexican beer called Negra Modelo. For the tacos, we had three nice fillings. There was a classic beef, tomato, jalapeno filling, a cold veggie filling made with black beans, tomato, sweet red pepper, corn, and this fabulous smoky ranch dressing, and a chicken filling that I threw together with leftovers. It was surprisingly tasty and was my best friend's favourite. That definitely deserves a recipe, right? As if that rave review wasn't enough, I used the leftovers of this chicken filling to make a little dinner last night. I added sauteed rainbow chard and a few spoonfuls of the leftover ranch dressing (which by the way, gets more intense and delicious as it sits!). It was a nice tasty supper and it made me feel good to use leftovers not just once, but twice.
Chicken Taco Filling
1 cup of cooked chicken (I had 3 leftover chicken thighs)
1 cup of cooked brown rice
1 diced plum tomato
1/2 a diced sweet red pepper
1/2 a diced small red onion
1 sprig of thyme
1 minced chipotle pepper in adobo and 1 teaspoon of the sauce
zest and juice of half a lime
salt and pepper to taste
1. Saute the onions and red peppers over medium heat for a few minutes until they start to soften and smell good. Add the lime zest, salt and pepper and cook for one more minute.
2. Add the chicken and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the rice, tomatoes, chipotle pepper and sauce and mix everything well. Let it cook for another minute or so.
3. Turn off the heat and add the lime juice and thyme. Stir well.
4. Serve wrapped in a tortilla or stuffed in a taco shell with your favourite taco fixings.