Southwestern Spice Rubbed Chicken Packets

bari beary Chicken_Packets

This week’s BariBeary Simple recipe is for a delicious Southwestern inspired chicken dish. It’s a great dish for the summer grill, as well as, the oven in the colder winter months. I love Mexican restaurants but know that they are dangerous places when you are watching your diet and trying to eat healthy. This recipe gives you the best of Southwestern tastes with a minimal amount of fat and calories.

Two key components of bariatric cooking are part of this recipe. The strong, familiar flavors of Southwestern spices appeal to our taste buds. There is no need for cheese sauces and deep fried tortillas. By sealing the chicken in the foil packet, the meat retains its moisture and steams in the liquid. This produces a moist piece of chicken with the spices flavoring the salsa. Some Bandsters are unable to eat chicken grilled in a traditional manner. The tendency is to over cook which dries out the meat. I can guarantee you that you will be greeted with a moist, flavorful piece of chicken when you open the foil packet.

The lesson you should take away from this recipe is the combination of chicken and vegetables sealed in a packet to keep the chicken moist. The combinations can be endless. Here are a few variations. Just remember to keep the spice and vegetable quantities in balance. Greek chicken packets: a rub of rosemary, lemon peel, oregano and garlic powder over a bed of diced olive oil and garlic tomatoes, green beans, chopped onions and olives. Italian chicken packets: a rub of Italian seasoning, oregano, basil, garlic powder and a few red pepper flakes served over a bed of diced Italian seasoned tomatoes, green peppers, zucchini, mushrooms and olives.

Nutrition Facts Southwestern Spice Rubbed Chicken

2 – 6 oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. paprika

Preheat covered grill or oven to 350º. Prepare black bean corn salsa (recipe follows). In a shallow dish or pie plate, combine spices.

Generously rub spice mixture over chicken in the pie plate. You can control the intensity of the flavor by rubbing more of less of the spice mixture onto the meat. This mixture will generously coat 2 pieces of chicken.

Lay a 15” piece of heavy duty foil on your counter for each. If you only have regular strength foil, lay another sheet on top of the first sheet. Lightly coat foil with non-stick cooking spray. Measure ½ cup of the black bean corn salsa onto the center of each sheet. Top with your spice rubbed chicken.

Tightly close the foil packets. This step is important to assure that the packet is sealed and liquids can not escape. Place the packets on a covered grill or center oven rack. Grill/bake for 10 minutes. Turn packet and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Serve the breast resting on the bed of the salsa. It is also delicious on a bed of shredded lettuce and topped with a sprinkling of low fat cheese and no-fat sour cream.

Nutrition Facts Black Bean Corn Salsa

1 cup salsa, any variety
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
16 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 oz. can diced green chilies
2 TBS fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

In a mixing bowl, combine the salsa ingredients. Makes 2 ½ cups.

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