It All Started With Chicken and Salsa

While tooling around on Pinterest, I found a recipe for slow cooker cilantro lime chicken, originally from the Pip & Ebby Web site. It sounded like an easy, flavorful recipe, and so I decided to try it out.

But I realized I didn’t have lime juice or cilantro, so I remixed the recipe as follows:

  • 6 chicken breast halves
  • 24-oz jar of salsa
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • Chili powder to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Cumin to taste

I placed the chicken and the salsa in the slow cooker and added the onion and spices after the fact, but next time I think I’ll add the chicken and onion first and mix the spices into the salsa before pouring it on top of the chicken. In any event, I cooked it on low for 7 hours.

Once the chicken was ready, I deviated from the recipe again by shredding the chicken, taking the breasts out of the sauce and storing the sauce separately.

And this is where the fun starts. I have 10 ideas for using up the savory chicken you get from this recipe:

  1. Eat it over rice, mixed with some of the sauce.
  2. Add it to a fat-free tortilla for a burrito. With the chicken you could add rice, fat-free refried beans, or veggies. You could also smear the tortilla with a tablespoon or 2 of guacamole (or reduced fat guacamole, made with avocado and green peas), queso or fat-free sour cream (or fat-free Greek yogurt) as a condiment.
  3. Use it for tacos. Hard shell or soft, with or without reduced fat cheese and/or lettuce and tomato.
  4. As a salad. Eat 3 oz. of the chicken with 1 oz. of reduced fat cheddar and additional salsa and guacamole/sour cream. Top with baked tortilla chips, or eat them on the side.
  5. Tortilla soup. Pour a cup of chicken broth into a bowl, add a bit of the reserved sauce from the chicken (approximately 1/8 of a cup). Add 2-3 ounces of chicken, and some finely diced red onion (optional). Crumble in baked tortilla chips (about 1/2 ounce) . Heat through in the microwave. Mix in reduced fat cheddar if you’d like.
  6. Nachos. Top baked tortillas with 3 oz. of the chicken, and top that combination with queso sauce and guacamole, sour cream and/or salsa.
  7. Quesadillas. Add the chicken and some reduced-fat cheddar (1/2 to 1 oz.) to one half of a fat-free tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half, and heat both sides on a grill or in a nonstick pan sprayed with cooking spray until crisp. Cut into wedges.
  8. Baked flautas. Roll the chicken up in small tortillas (I think flour would probably work best, but go with corn if you have them), and place them in a baking dish. Spray with cooking spray. Heat in a 400-degree oven until crisp.
  9. Enchiladas. Heat the reserved sauce, and dip corn tortillas in it. Add some of the chicken to each tortilla; roll up the tortillas and place them in a baking dish. Top with any remaining sauce, and reduced fat cheddar. Bake in a 350 oven until everything is heated through and the cheese is melted.
  10. Lasagna. Spread half a 24-oz jar of salsa in the bottom of a 13×9 baking pan. Mix a container of fat-free ricotta cheese with taco seasoning (or salt, garlic, cumin and chili powders to taste) and 4 ounces of cheddar cheese. Top the sauce in the pan with 3 uncooked whole wheat lasagna noodles. Add half of the cheese mixture on top of the noodles; top with the chicken. Add another layer of 3 lasagna noodles, then cheese mixture and chicken. Top with three more noodles, the remaining sauce, and them 4 more ounces of cheddar. Bake in a 350-degree oven until the noodles are tender, approximately 35-40 minutes.

If you’ve read through my blog, you probably notice that I talk about Mexican food a lot. There’s just something about the spices that I love! And it doesn’t hurt that I’m a big fan of cilantro, either. I will enjoy these recipes; I hope you do, too!

Did I miss any of your favorites? What do you do with Mexican-spiced chicken? Thanks for sharing!

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2 thoughts on “It All Started With Chicken and Salsa

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