Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Make a Meal: Cilantro-Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa and Saffron Rice

I came across this pairing in the Cooking Light Quick and Easy Low-Calorie Recipes magazine I recently boasted about in another post. Making both of these together was a 30 minute process which was glorious for this cold, rainy Monday.

We both really enjoyed this meal and added in a pre-made squash dish from Whole Foods that included corn, red onion, poblano pepper and melted cheese. It was exactly like the sweet potato hash I had made with squash instead of sweet potato. It had plenty of flavor and felt "summery"! One thing I learned from this is that saffron is expensive. You really do not need much at all, I found some in a very small amount but it was still almost $6! I would look for it at either Whole Foods or Central Market, it is hard to find elsewhere.

Nutritional facts for chicken: 289 calories, 13.2g fat, 35.6g protein, 6.6g fat, 3.6g fiber, 94mg cholesterol, 1.6mg iron, 29mg calcium per serving (serving size, 1 chicken breast with 1/4 cup of avocado salsa)

Nutritional facts for rice: 196 calories, 0.1g fat, 287mg sodium per serving (serving size 3/4 cup)

Grocery List:
for chicken and salsa:
  • 2 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 shakes chili powder
  • 3 shakes Adobo seasoning
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (again, I used cutlets, then cut them in 1/2 for 4 thin pieces of chicken)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (recipe suggests Plum, I used grape tomatoes to use up what I had)
  • 2 tbsp. onion, minced
  • 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 avocado, peeled and finely cubed
for saffron rice:
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup, uncooked basmati rice
  • 2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp. saffron threads

Combine the first six ingredients in a large bowl; toss and let stand for about 30 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade and discard the liquids.

Now for the saffron rice! You will want to start the boiling for the rice as the chicken is marinating to time the end result perfectly. Heat a medium sauce pan over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Add the diced onions and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently to keep from burning.

Add basmati brown rice, chicken broth and the saffron threads.
 the saffron threads

Bring all to a boil then cover and reduce heat. Let simmer for 20 minutes.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Place the chicken on the griddle and let cook until each side is easy to lift to flip.


While your chicken grills, combine your diced tomatoes, onion, lime juice, salt, pepper and avocado into a bowl and stir gently.

Once chicken is cooked through, spoon your salsa over your chicken, fluff your saffron rice with a spoon and you are ready to serve! Garnish with any additional chopped cilantro.

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