Sunday, August 19, 2012

Chicken, Salsa, and Cheese

This is another recipe that I used to make a lot and for some reason don't anymore. That is changing, though, because it is really easy to make a big batch, then pack the rest away for lunches. I learned this recipe from my mother. It requires three ingredients: chicken, salsa, and shredded cheese. Sounds tasty, right?

Really, you can use whatever chicken you want, but I tend to just use whole chicken breasts. Chicken thighs would also be tasty, I think. Put the raw chicken in a baking dish, then pour salsa over the top. You can use any kind of salsa. I'm boring and cheap, so I usually buy mild thick and chunky Meijer brand salsa, though my favorite is Pace. I don't like spice (it bothers my stomach), but really any kind works. It doesn't even have to be chunky, though I think that may help keep the dish from getting too watery.

Next, you bake the chicken. I usually set the oven to 350F, but I noticed last time that my current oven cooks chicken better at 400F, and, of course, every oven varies. It took almost an hour for the chicken to cook thoroughly through from frozen. If you use non-frozen chicken, obviously it won't take as long to cook.

Once the chicken is cooked, dump the shredded cheese over-top. It doesn't matter how much cheese you use. I use a lot because cheese is awesome and I love it. It's up to you. There is also quite a bit of choice as to which cheese you choose. There's basic cheddar, in which case, I recommend the sharp variety, to you can use a Mexican blend, or pepper jack for that extra bite. That's the wonderful thing about this recipe - lots of choices!

With the cheese in place, put the chicken back in the oven long enough for the cheese to melt. I usually turn the oven off at this point so I don't forget later, and because it doesn't actually have to be on, just warm enough to melt the cheese. Once the cheese is melted, you're done! 

As for sides, this last time, I cooked up some sliced beets in olive oil in a frying pan. Other times, I've made mixed veggies. What's really pretty tasty, though, is mashed potatoes. You can ladle the extra chicken and salsa juice onto the potatoes and cover those in cheese, too! You could probably also do this with rice or noodles. 

Another quick, easy, and pretty healthy dinner courtesy of my limited cupboard.

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