I don’t know about you, but one of my downfalls when we go out to a Mexican restaurant is that freebie basket of chips and salsa they plop down on the table as soon as we arrive. Pair that with some guacamole and a margarita, and I could easily down my week’s worth of calories in one sitting. Those chips are dangerous…dangerously addictive. There’s just something about munchies. I’ve learned that when the basket hits the table, I’m better off just not touching it. That way, I’m actually still hungry when dinner arrives. Not grabbing a chip (or fifty) is kind of a bummer, but I usually feel better about my choices by the end of the meal.
When I ran across this dinner recipe that combined bits of every one of my Mexican restaurant temptations (minus the margarita), I knew I had to try it out. I could have my chips, salsa, guacamole and dinner all in one fell swoop!
This recipe isn’t tough to make, it’s even easy enough for a weeknight dinner, but it would also be a great meal to casually entertain with as well. Other than cooking up the chicken, everything can be prepped ahead of time.
First things first, I threw some corn tortilla chips into my food processor and crunched them up. I needed enough to coat my chicken breasts, so I whirled two batches around in the processor.
If you don’t have a food processor, you could easily put the chips in a large Ziploc bag and crunch them up with a rolling pin.
Once the chips were coarsely ground, I poured them into a plate and set them aside.
I rinsed out my food processor, put it back together, and got working on the avocado sauce.
I tossed a sliced up avocado, some milk and sour cream into the food processor bowl, pureed that up and then added some fresh lime juice, chopped jalapeno pepper, cilantro, salt and pepper in with the avocado mixture and pureed that until it was nice and smooth.
The recipe for the sauce makes more than you could ever need for one batch of this chicken. Keep it on hand for a few days, though. It’s deliciously cool and zesty and makes a great salad dressing.
Next, I threw together my slaw. I whisked together a quick dressing of mayonnaise, lime juice, honey, salt, and a dash of cayenne pepper. Then, I stirred in some bagged cole slaw mix, diced chives, and chopped fresh cilantro. Pretty simple, and really tasty!
The slaw needed some time to hang out in the fridge for a bit, to let the flavors come together, so I popped it in there with the avocado dressing and got to work on my chicken.
I set up my chicken assembly line.
First, I dredged each piece of chicken in the flour, then dipped it in a mixture of salsa and egg (What a great idea! I’d never thought of jazzing up an egg wash like that before!), then I coated the chicken in the crunched up tortilla chips.
I heated up just a bit of olive oil in a skillet and browned the chicken on the stove.
After I flipped it once, I put the pan in the oven for about ten minutes, which was long enough to cook the chicken through, nice and evenly.
When it was time to serve up dinner, I placed some of the slaw on each plate and put a golden, crispy chicken breast right on top. The avocado sauce went on the side and I served it along with some fresh, sliced tomatoes. It was really tasty, had that chips and salsa crunch that I loved, the cool creaminess of the avocados, and the chicken paired with that slaw was delicious! All that was missing was that margarita. I’ll have to be better prepared next time around.
- For the avocado dip:
- 1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 1 Tbsp. seeded and chopped fresh jalapeno
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
- salt and pepper to taste
- For the slaw:
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 4 cups bagged cole slaw mix
- ¼ cup chopped fresh chives
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- For the chicken:
- 8 oz. plain tortilla chips
- ½ cup bottled salsa (I tried to find one that wasn't really chunky)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, seasoned with salt and pepper
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- Make the avocado sauce. Puree the avocado, milk, and sour cream in a blender or food processor. Add the lime juice, jalapeno, and cilantro. Puree until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill until ready to use.
- Make the slaw. Whisk together the mayonnaise, lime juice, honey, kosher salt, and cayenne pepper until smooth. Toss the dressing with the cole slaw mix, chives and cilantro. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
- Make the chicken. Preheat the oven to 375*. Pulse the tortilla chips, in batches, in the food processor until coarsely ground. Transfer the chips to a shallow dish. In another dish, whisk together the egg and salsa. Place the flour in a third shallow dish. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour, then dip in the salsa, and finally transfer the chicken to the crushed up chips, patting to coat on both sides.
- Heat the olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip the chicken and place the pan in the preheated oven until the chicken is cooked through 8-10 minutes.
- Serve the chicken with the slaw and avocado dip.
- Serves 4