Aug 042012
 

What do you think the top 5 sources of calories are for Americans?  Drum roll please:
     1. Grain based desserts (cookies, cakes, etc)
     2. Yeast breads
     3.  Chicken and chicken mixed dishes
     4.  Soda/energy/sports drinks
     5.  Pizza
And number 6, just for fun…Alcohol.  Doesn’t look so good for America does it?  Well,  I wanted to make a recipe that involved the only truly healthy item on this list–chicken.  Everyone is always looking for a new simple chicken recipe, and this one is incredibly simple, flavorful, and perfect for a summer bar-b-que.  



The marinade is sort of a twist on a margarita (without the tequila).  It uses agave nectar for sweetness, plenty of lime juice and zest, and soy sauce for a savory flavor.  It’s delicious with or without the cherry salsa.





Nutritional Highlights:  As you read above, chicken is one of the most popular foods in America.  And while some of our choices are clearly not the best, this is one we got right…as long as it’s not deep fried or drowning is sauce.  Chicken breast is a great lean source of protein, B vitamins, and selenium.  This recipe uses a marinade to add tons of flavor and then it is simply grilled, not adding too much fat or calories.  A fresh fruit salsa is a great way to fancy up your grilled chicken without adding anything unhealthy.  This one has cherries that are known for having tons of antioxidants.  This is a light, fresh, summer dish and is totally guilt free. 





Agave-Lime Grille Chicken with Fresh Cherry Salsa Ingredients for the chicken:

  • 1.5 – 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp lime zest
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder or 1 clove finely minced garlic
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions:

If chicken isn’t an even thickness (which it rarely is) then place chicken in a large ziploc bag or between two pieces of saran wrap and pound chicken with the flat side of a meat mallet to an even thickness.  This will help the chicken cook evenly and not be over or under cooked in any part.


In a bowl whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour remaining mixture over the chicken (in a dish or ziplock bag) and allow to marinate at least 4 hours in the refrigerator. 


Preheat grill to medium high heat. Once preheated, brush grill lightly with olive oil. Place chicken on grill and cook (with lid closed) 5-8 minutes per side until juices run clear (depending on thickness).  If you’re like me and don’t have an outdoor grill, your grill pan will work almost as well. 


For the Salsa (can be done well in advance):

  • 1 cup pitted cherries, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • juice of one lime
  • salt to taste
Mix above ingredients and set aside.  Serve over or along side the chicken for extra summer flavor.
Boy am I excited for these leftovers….


  9 Responses to “Agave-Lime Grilled Chicken Breasts with Fresh Cherry Salsa”

  1. Hey Marissa! First time caller, long time reader! If I use a grill pan, should I cover the chicken? I never know how to cook evenly with my grill pan and I often overcook my chicken. Thanks!

  2. Dangit Marissa!! I overcooked the chicken!! Thanks a whole stinkin’ lot!

  3. Sorry Benji!! It helps to pound out the chicken so it’s all an even thickness. Also make sure the grill pan gets really hot before you put the chicken in…that will ensure that the entire thing is hot and not just the center. Then I just check it often by pressing the chicken…the firmer it is the more done is it. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, just cut into the chicken and check. And remember that it will continue to cook a tiny bit once you take it off the grill. Hope that helps! It has taken me many years to master perfectly cooked chicken.

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  9. I would make the chicken again but with less lime and no zest. I felt that the zest added a weird flavor.

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