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Chicken Chile Verde

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD Wednesday morning to you, friends and neighbors!  And a glorious morning, it is!  The sun is shining here in TN, bright and beautiful!  I love days like this!  It makes me feel like all is well with the world!

So let’s talk food, how ’bout?  A couple weeks ago, I did something I’ve never done before………I ate at Whole Foods.  Y’all already know about my deep and abiding love for that place already.  But I’d never eaten anything from those amazing-looking food bars.  So when I was there a couple weeks ago with my friend Candy, who had never been to a Whole Foods EVER, we decided to eat lunch there. 

I’ve got to tell you, choosing what to put on my plate was torturous!  I walked around looking for just the right thing because you pay by weight, not item!  YIKES!  Do you have ANY idea how hard it is for a fat girl to walk around picking food knowing she’s going to have to pay for it BY THE POUND?!?!!  That was no easy task!

I finally ended up with Chicken Chile Verde, some whole roasted garlic cloves, some sauteed peppers and onions and a little rice.  OH MY WORD!  That Chicken Chile Verde was a festival in the mouth!  I can’t even describe the amazing flavor it had!  So since then, I’ve become obsessed with trying to recreate it at home! 

And today, that’s just what I did, along with some Cilantro Lime Rice and a Southwestern Layered Salad. 

So here’s what I was forced to do……..I had to buy Salsa Verde.  Salsa Verde is made with tomatillos.   The folks at Kroger looked at me like I smoke crack when I asked for tomatillos here in Podunk.  😦  So I just sucked it up, put on my big girl panties and bought a jar of pre-made salsa verde. 

What IS salsa verde, you ask?  Thanks for asking.  It’s, well, green salsa.  Verde is the Spanish word for green.  Aren’t y’all proud of me that I have such a fabulous vocabulary?  It’s green because of the tomatillos and jalapeno peppers.  Tomatillos look very similar to just a green tomato, but they have a husk on the outside of them and they’re fairly small.  They’re also very tangy.  Our local Mexican restaurant has some AMAZING salsa verde!  Note to self:  Next time, go buy it from La Potosina!  DUH!  Don’t y’all just love this internal monologue I’m having with myself this morning?  Yeah, me too!  Let’s move on!

I wanted my chicken to take on the flavor of the salsa, but I didn’t want it to fall all to pieces by cooking in the salsa alone.  So what I decided to do was par-grill the chicken before simmering it in the salsa to finish it off.

I sprinkled the chicken breasts with some lime pepper, then grilled them about 6 minutes on each side, just to sear them and get pretty grill marks on them.  Then I put them in a baking dish and smothered them in that salsa verde I bought, along with extra garlic, cilantro and jalapenos because I like SPICY! 

The smell of it cooking just about drove me insane!  While it was baking, I put together some side dishes.

A little over a year ago, I made my first trip to Colorado.  A friend took me to eat at Qdoba.  They had this amazing rice they put in the burritos.  I fell in love!  So I’ve recreated it as close as possible.  Here’s what you’ll need:

Cilantro Lime Rice 1

Cilantro Lime Rice

*  3 cups instant brown rice

*  1 lime, zested and juiced

*  1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

*  3 cloves garlic, minced

*  1/2 tsp. cumin

*  2 tsp. lime pepper

*  1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

Cook brown rice according to package directions, adding the garlic, lime pepper , jalapeno and cumin to the cooking liquid.  When the rice is cooked, fluff with a fork and add lime juice and zest.  Add cilantro just before serving so the residual heat from the rice doesn’t cook the cilantro. 

Here’s how I made the rice:

Cilantrol Lime Rice 2

Here’s my pot of water with the lime pepper, garlic, cumin and finally my jalapeno peppers.

Cilantrol Lime Rice 3

Once it came to a boil, I added in the brown rice.  You can use white rice, if you prefer.  We just like brown rice at my house.

Cilantro Lime Rice 4

And this is what it looked like ready for the plate.

And we’re having a salad to go along with the chicken and rice.  It’s a recipe I adapted from an old Southern Living recipe.  The original called for Romaine lettuce.  But lettuce makes me need to die.  So I make it with fresh baby spinach, which it healthier anyway!  It’s absolutely beautiful in a tall glass dish!

Southwestern Layered Salad

*  1 pkg. fresh baby spinach leaves

*  5 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

*  1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

*  1 small red onion, diced

*  1 pkg. shredded Mexican 4-cheese blend cheese

*  1 can whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained well

*  1 can sliced black olives, drained well

*  2 cups tortilla chips, crushed

 Salad Dressing:

*  1/3 cup fresh cilantro

*  2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

*  1/2 cup light sour cream

*  1/2 cup fresh lime juice

*  1 tsp. sugar

*  2 cloves garlic

*  1 tsp. lime pepper

*  1 jalapeno, seeded

Mix all ingredients in a blender until well-blended and thickened. 

Layer 1st 7 ingredients in a glass bowl.  Drizzle salad dressing on top immediately before serving.  Top with crushed chips for crunch.

Here are some assembly photos of the salad:

Southwestern Layered Salad

Start with the spinach, then sprinkle Roma tomatoes on top.

Southwestern Layered Salad 2

With the black beans added……it’s looking yummy!

Southwestern Layered Salad

I LOVE red onions!  I could just stop right now and eat it as is!

Southwestern Layered Salad 4

And with the corn and black olives added……I forgot to take a picture after I added the olives.  WHOOPS!

Southwestern Layered Salad 5

All cheesed up and ready for the tortilla chips and dressing.  But you’ll have to wait to see it on the plate!  This is an easy salad to make and is a beautiful presentation!

So, looks like we’re ready to eat now!  I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing all this smelled while cooking/being prepared.  Oh my!  And this is what it looked like all plated up!

Chicken Chile Verde

Well, that’s about it for today.  I’m hungry now and it’s not lunchtime yet!  Y’all come on back tomorrow!  We’re going to bake!!!  See you then!  Have a great day!

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6 Responses

  1. I came earlier to see if you had posted today, and you hadn’t. Well, I decided to go looking for the Cilantro Lime Rice post, that was posted, and never found it. So, I ask for help locating the link, not even thinking that it would be posted here! I am excited…right here it is! I want to make tostadas, fajitas, or something, to serve with this rice, soon. It sounds so good to me! I love lime with my mexican food, and I think I will like this…I’ll probably be the only person that will like it, but, oh well, hubby can just pull the cilantro out! A big “Thank You”, for posting this recipe!

  2. Oh, I meant to say, I use only green sauce in my enchiladlas, and I love the green tacos sauce! I love the tangy taste that the tomatillas give it.

  3. Love, love, love this rice!!!! If something has lime and cilantro in it, I am ALL over it!!

    Question….we do not have a Qdoba but we do have a ton of Chipotles….what’s the difference? I love Chipotle….

  4. Looks yummy. 🙂

    Pamela, I’ve never been to a Chipotles, (will this weekend in Mishawaka) but from what I understand, they’re about identical.

  5. MY POOKIE BROUGHT ME SOME OF THIS FOR MY DINNER BREAK (I’M PULLING ANOTHER DOUBLE SHIFT AS LEADMAN) & LET ME TELL YA’, THE CHICKEN WAS OUT OF THIS WORLD BUT THE SALAD ‘BOUT ROCKED MY FACE OFF!!!!!!!!

  6. If you carry on like this, I am staying!

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