Friday, January 7, 2011

Salsa Chicken with Spicy Beans & Lentils

I love this recipe because there are so many ways to mix it up! I swear, we have some variation of this meal once a week. My original version of this meal is the Salsa Chicken over a bed of rice, smothered in cheddar cheese. IIIII know! Delicious. However, it being the new year and all, I decided to cut back on the cheese a bit. I also substituted lentils for the rice, because lentils are supposed to be a symbol of prosperity in the new year, and it's traditional to cook/eat lots of lentils in the month of January!

This recipe serves two. So. Here goes:

2 chicken breasts
3/4 cup salsa (your favorite store-bought or even better, homemade!!)
2 tbs shredded cheddar cheese
1 avocado
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup lentils
2 cups water
1/2 cup beans (kidney, black, pinto, you decide)
3ish tbs coconut oil
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric (optional)
A few shakes of chili powder or cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you like it)
salt & pepper to taste

Start with the lentils right away. In a small pot, combine your water and lentils and bring to a rolling boil. Pop a lid on it, reduce the heat to low, and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender. While that's a'boilin, dice up your onion and heat a cast iron skillet up on medium heat. Drop in a tablespoon of coconut oil. Once that's hot, toss in your onions and garlic, add a bit of S&P (salt and pepper) and saute them until just tender. Take them out of the skillet, and set aside. Turn your oven on and set to 350 degrees.

With your pan still hot, drop in about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Sprinkle one side of your chicken breasts with some S&P and place them into the pan seasoned side down once the oil is hot. Now season the other side with some S&P. (I also add a few dashes of chili powder at this point, but that's optional.) You'll want to let these sit for about 3-5 minutes on each side, until you get a nice golden color going on. Once they are golden on each side, put them into a lightly oiled baking pan, and transfer them into the oven to finish cooking all the way through, another 5-10 minutes depending on how thick they are.

At this point, your lentils should be ready. Drain any excess water. Add the sauteed garlic & onions from earlier, beans, 1/4 cup of salsa, and all your spices. Mix well. (It will smell AMAZING.) Put the lid back on, but keep the pot off the heat.

Slice up your avocado and shred up your cheese if it isn't already. When the chicken is cooked all the way through, take them out of the oven and turn it off. Then pour 1/2 cup of the salsa all over the top of them, and sprinkle the cheese on top of that. Pop them back into the warm oven for about a minute or so, just to melt the cheese.

And now we plate. Lay down a nice pile of the beans and lentils off to one side of the plate. Lay down your chicken on the other side of the plate, and top with avocado slices.

Sooooo good!
The lentils. Check which kind you are getting. I use lentils that don't require pre-soaking, but many do! If those are the kind you have, you'll have to prep them ahead of time.

The skillet. You definitely don't need a cast iron one, I just like them. I think they cook food more evenly.

The chicken. If you can, fresh, local organic chicken is the way to go! If not, some nice fresh chicken from the butcher is good too. You can also use frozen chicken breasts, as long as they are completely thawed before you start this meal. You don't want them super cold either, that way they cook evenly all the way through.

The spices. You can really do what you want here. If you don't have turmeric, I would first suggest getting some. It. Is. So. Good. And so good for you! (Turmeric has been called one of nature’s most powerful healers. It has great anti-inflammatory properties which can address symptoms of arthritis. It is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It is said to be a digestive aid that will settle the stomach. Turmeric contains a rich source of antioxidants that help fight against free radicals. It also is said to have anti-platelet properties that help protect against strokes and heart attacks. Studies have also shown that it has a beneficial effect on the liver.) However, if you do not have it, just use some more cumin. As for the heat, I like my food super spicy, so I use a bunch of cayenne and chili powder. You know your palette best. Be modest at first, and just add what you like; know that you can always add more spice later.

The cheese. If you're lactose intolerant or cutting calories even more, just omit the cheese. With everything else going on in this dish, you really won't miss it.

The avocado. Make sure you pick up a nice, ripe avocado. The best way to test this is to hold the avocado in your hand and feel around the stem area with your thumb. If it's soft up there, it's good to go. (Not too soft though, otherwise it'll just turn into mush... which honestly will still taste amazing, just won't be as pretty).

So there you have it. This meal is nutritious, figure-friendly, and to-die-for delicious. Hope you enjoy it!

Visit Top Mommy Blogs To Vote For Me

1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...