Figuring out dinner on a weeknight can be very frustrating.
Especially, if you want to keep the meal light, but flavorful. But chicken is so versatile and can be filled with flavor, it is a great option.
Benefits of chicken
Of course, chicken is one of the leanest meats and low in saturated fats.
Doctors are always telling me to cut back on my red meat intake, so the next best protein is chicken.
In this recipe, we are using boneless, skinless breast, which contains fewer calories, great for most any weight-loss plan.
A 3-ounce portion of skinless, boneless chicken breast contains just 102 calories but provides 19 grams of dietary protein.
The entire dish has 32 grams of protein
Not only can eating breast chicken help you shed pounds, but it has positive effects on body composition.
Boosting dietary protein decreases total body fat and abdominal fat but helps increase lean body mass and your body’s energy expenditure during periods of weight maintenance and weight loss.
Consider the cooking method
Now that we established chicken is an excellent source of protein, we need to think about the cooking method.
Deep frying chicken in oil is not the most healthy choice.
Even sauteeing chicken breast any sort of fat, oil, butter, olive oil – adds calories to the final product.
However, STEAMING the chicken adds no calories at all!
By creating a foil pack and baking the chicken in the oven, the lean protein cooks in its own natural juices, sealing in moisture and flavor.
The chicken will remain moist, especially if you let it rest before serving.
By adding the salsa and taco seasoning, we are allowing an array of flavors to encompass the dish.
Making the taco chicken an entire meal
What I like about this recipe is it could serve as the entire meal.
You have a protein, a vegetable and a small amount of fat (cheese).
I know what your saying – the potato is not good for you, or is it?
Usually, when people eat potatoes, they pile other stuff on top of it, causing it to be unhealthy!
Facts about one medium-sized potato, with the skin left on, just like we are doing in this recipe:
- Just 110 calories.
- No fat, sodium or cholesterol.
- Nearly half your daily value of vitamin C.
- More potassium than a banana.
- A good source of vitamin B6.
- Contains fiber, magnesium and antioxidants.
- 2 medium boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 2 Tbsp Taco Seasoning Mix
- 3 medium red potatoes
- 1/2 cup thick chunky salsa
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
- PREHEAT oven to 400ºF
- Place chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, thin the breast down to about 1/2" thickness.
- Using a mandolin or a knife, slice the potatoes, thinly, about 1/4" thick. Place two large sheets of aluminum foil on the counter. Spray foil with cooking spray if not using nonstick foil. Evenly divide the sliced potatoes between the two sheets, fanning the potatoes in the center of the sheet.
- Remove top sheet of plastic wrap from chicken and spread 1/2 Tablespoon of taco seasoning mix on each chicken breast. Place chicken on top of potatoes, then apply 1/2 Tablespoon to other side of chicken.
- Top each beast evenly with salsa and both kinds of cheese.
- Bring up both long lengths of foil. Double fold top and both ends to seal each packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside. Place both packets on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until chicken has reached 165º. Let stand 5 minutes before opening packets.
- Garnish with sour cream and scallions.
When I make this meal, I place a sheet of foil under the chicken packets, just in case they leak. It makes for a very easy clean up. Are you empty-nesters needing simple meals for two? Here are some others: