Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cilantro lime chicken with avocado salsa

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo is Quatro de Mayo!  Come on, are you really surprised that I'm jumping the gun getting a head start on this?  :)

Truthfully, I wanted to give you enough time to pick up all of the ingredients to make this Mexican feast for yourself: cilantro chicken with homemade salsa.  I've never been one to jump on the "celebrate Cinco de Mayo!" bandwagon because it's a Mexican holiday and, well, there is no trace of said heritage in my family anywhere.  But I will absolutely get behind any reason to make my kitchen smell like south of the border.  You could also call this confetti chicken... the colors are so bright and inviting!  Dios mio, just look at that gorgeous plate of food!

Confession: I actually made this for dinner on Monday night, but was too busy doing a little pre-vacation shopping to write about it and upload pictures until now.  Eep!  In any case, here are 5 things you should know about this meal on the 4th of May:

1. It was the second night in a row that I ate chicken... and I didn't even mind!  Long gone are the days of bland chicken, my friends.

2. This took no time to prepare!  The sequence of events went something like this: Preheat oven as soon as I walked in the door.  Mix marinade and soak chicken for 5 minutes while I quickly rinsed off after the gym.  Popped chicken into the oven, diced vegetables and tossed together, removed chicken from oven, and plated topped with salsa.  If this were made on a Food Network show, they'd have to have some crazy complex dessert to fill the remaining 20 minutes :)

3. Removing the pit from an avocado is one of my all-time favorite things to do with food.  While it may sound strange, I swear you'll be hooked once you try it.  Never tried it?  Carefully, slice an avocado in half, running the knife around the fruit lengthwise.  Twist halves apart.  Carefully... C-A-R-E-F-U-L-L-Y, tap knife at the center of pit, attempting to just puncture the pit, not slice through it completely.  Twist knife and cleanly remove pit.  Fun, right?!

4. Almost as enjoyable as pitting the avocado is cutting into the creamy fruit.  It's like slicing through room temperature butter, people.  Butta!  Sneak a bite or two for a good ol' fashioned quality check.

5. As far as overall taste goes, this was the bomb!  The cat's meow!  A number one hit!  Dare I say, my new (read: current) favorite way to eat chicken.  Insert whatever fantastically enthusiastic phrase that comes to mind here.  The bold flavors of the onion and garlic married with the creamy avocado and sweet tomato, taking this almost regular chicken breast into another galaxy.  Like a mother tending to her child, I cut up my chicken into bite-sized pieces and tried to capture a bit of the salsa with each fork-full.  To die for!

So, are you going to make this ASAP?  Did you put everything on your grocery list?  How about now?  ...and now?  You've got until tomorrow when I may be even pushier if I decide to indulge in a little happy hour margarita ;)  Consider yourself warned.

One Year Ago: Zucchini potato hash

Cilantro Lime Chicken with Salsa
(adapted from here)
-serves 4

A few notes: Chicken was great as the base for this since its flavor is relatively mild, but feel free to adapt this at your choosing.  A mild cut of beef or tilapia fillets would be great alternatives.

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
1 cup chopped tomato (about 2 small)
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 avocado, peeled and finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400F.  To prepare chicken, combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; toss and let stand 3 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add chicken to lined baking sheet and cook 12-14 minutes or until done.

To prepare salsa, combine tomato, onion, lime juice, garlic salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add avocado; stir gently to combine. Serve salsa over chicken.

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