June 27, 2011

Herbed Chicken Breast with Tomatillo Salsa and Queso Fresco

Wow! It seems like it's been ages since I've updated the ol' blog here. I suppose that is because we really have not had anything new and/or notable lately; with the exception of this chicken dish. We did have a couple other new dinners, but they were 'meh' and not worth the time it would take to post. We are really watching our budget, so I have been limited on the types of ingredients I can buy. Pricy foodstuffs just aren't in our plan right now. It really hasn't been a huge imposition either; I am falling back on old standards rather than new and exciting stuff. I can only be so creative on a strict spending moratorium. However, old standard recipes usually means more family-friendly dinners and getting food on the table faster...so that's an unexpected bonus. We have a big (exciting) family change coming up, so I am focusing more on life right now and not cooking as a hobby.

For now, I am posting when I feel like it and leaving it at that. I will update here and there; but probably not as frequently going forward. My blog is just going to have to be on the back-burner again for awhile. I'm okay with that.

Anyway, here is the latest new dinner we tried and really liked. This recipe is a Claire find from a Cooking Light cookbook. I didn't have Queso Fresco, so we made due with Monterrey Jack cheese. Either way, it was really yummy and post-worthy.

Chicken Breasts with Tomatillo Salsa and Queso Fresco
From: Cooking Light, January 2005 (The Best of Cooking Light Everyday Favorites cookbook)

2 quarts water
1/2 pound tomatillos (about 10 small), husks and stems removed
1 garlic clove
1/2 to 1 serrano chile
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

3 (1-ounce) slices white bread
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled queso fresco cheese
Cilantro sprigs (optional)
Lime wedges (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare salsa, bring water to a boil. Add tomatillos, garlic, and chile; cook 7 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Combine tomatillos, garlic, chile, chopped cilantro, onion, lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor or blender; pulse 4 to 5 times or until coarsely chopped. Set aside.

To prepare chicken, place bread in a food processor, and pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1 1/2 cups. Arrange crumbs on a baking sheet; bake at 350° for 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely.

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, cumin, and red pepper; sprinkle evenly over chicken.

Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Place egg in another shallow dish. Dip chicken in egg; dredge in breadcrumbs.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Top chicken with salsa, and sprinkle with queso fresco cheese. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges, if desired.

Nutritional Information:
Amount per serving (yield 4 servings)
Calories: 364
Calories from fat: 26%
Fat: 10.7g
Saturated fat: 3.2g
Monounsaturated fat: 4.5g
Polyunsaturated fat: 1.6g
Protein: 47.1g
Carbohydrate: 17.7g
Fiber: 2g
Cholesterol: 162mg
Iron: 3mg
Sodium: 770mg
Calcium: 169mg

The Result:
This review is kinda superfluous, since I am only posting stuff we like; but I am going to do it anyway. This was really good and my kids loved it. We has a bunch of the salsa leftover, which kept well in a sealed container in the fridge for a couple of weeks. It was the perfect condiment with chips and lunchtime bean burritos that I often make up on the fly. Great recipe!!!

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