Think, think, think. Oh, yeah! When we went to Sam's Club there were samples (such misery to explain to my kids who remember too vividly the days when there were no dietary restrictions) and we had actually found one (other than fruit) that we could eat- Taquitos! Thankfully they were serving the chicken ones as the beef ones contained something we couldn't have. (I can't remember if it was gluten or dairy.) I could do that!
After a few messy attempts, I discovered it worked MUCH better to thinly slice the chicken rather than dice/chop it finely. The long thin pieces stayed put a lot better during the rolling & frying process. I was using Mission Yellow Corn Tortillas and it took a bit to get the knack of rolling them without having them crack, but I found the key was in making sure they truly rolled rather than trying to "fold" it at all. I placed two toothpicks at angles through the taquito to hold it together for frying.
In hind sight, I found this recipe which says to heat the tortillas prior to rolling (mine were the new "super soft" ones so I thought they were really pliable compared to the usual ones) and in the comments someone said they had good results by misting water (from a clean spray bottle) over them before heating.
I fried my taquitos in shortening (just enough to cover the bottom of my cast iron), but you can use your oil of choice. Naturally, peanut oil or olive oil would impart their own distinct flavors as opposed to vegetable, canola, or coconut oil.
I learned something very important from loving to catch fish. (Because when you catch them, you clean them and eat them. This leads a person to try perfect their fish frying; that would be a whole nother post!) If you want ANYTHING you fry to stay crispy, do NOT put it on a paper towel (like my mom always did, saying it would soak up extra oil) and do NOT stack/pile it on top of each other on a platter. Both of those methods will cause your crispy-fried food to become softer, if not soggy-ish.
Serve your taquito however you like taquitos. I used mine to shovel up some of my favorite mild salsa from ALDI and it was addicting! Trouble is, after 4 of these, my stomach reminded me that I don't eat fried food often anymore. And I'm not as young as I used to be. The combination of those factors leads me to think that when I make these again (because I will) I should try baking them instead. I will also be sure to have some onion and/or garlic on hand to saute in with my meat (if I am not using already cooked leftovers.)
It wasn't genius; it wasn't gourmet. It wasn't a five star recipe, or a recipe at all. It was an idea that cheered me up and helped me use some leftovers to serve something different. Hopefully it can do the same for others, so I am adding it to my Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Meal Ideas list. Even though taquitos are typically more of a snack- add a salad and/or some fruit, you've got a lunch right there.