Empty Fridge Cookery: Salsa Chicken

Welcome to the first post in my new feature, Empty Fridge Cookery.  So, what is Empty Fridge Cookery? Well, it’s creating a meal for your family when you don’t think you can. When it looks like the cupboards are bare, you’re missing ingredients, or you have a bunch of weird stuff left over from a party. Empty Fridge Cookery is for those of us who are not suited to meal planning, who take five hours to grocery shop because we keep ‘forgetting’ something or one ingredient spurs inspiration for a delicious dish necessitating yet another turn around the produce department. It’s also for those who love to read and collect cookbooks but find it way more fun to toss things together like a home Iron Chef.

 

I hope that you enjoy what I create for my family. I can’t wait to share all the delicious dishes with you. And, yes, my kids eat vegetables. And whatever else I put on the table. I am NOT a short-order chef (although I am short and like to order people around.)

 

PS I’m not a professional chef. I take terrible food pictures, and my dishes taste way better than they look. I don’t measure. I will try to guesstimate, but you’ll need to learn what a splurch, blob, and handful look like.

 

Salsa Chicken

 

Salsa Chicken

Empty Fridge Salsa Chicken

 

I had a party for my husband on the weekend and had TONS of leftovers. Not food, but rather chunks of cheese, tubs of salsa, and assorted desserts. I made homemade macaroni and cheese on Tuesday (I’ll share the recipe at another time), and last night created what turned out to be a delicious creation with the salsa and some chicken I found in the freezer.

 

What You’ll Need:

Chicken to feed your people. I happened to have a package of chicken legs and two large butterflied chicken breasts. Usually I make boneless chicken as my 17-year old is too lazy to take the meat off the bone.

Olive Oil

Freshly ground sea salt & pepper, garlic powder and paprika

Panko crumbs or your favourite bread crumbs

Really good salsa (I used the Fresh Gourmet one)

Rondele herb & garlic cheese

A couple handfuls of tortilla chips

 

garden fresh gourmet salsa

Garden Fresh Gourmet Salsa

Rondele herb and garlic light gourmet spreadeable cheese

Rondele Herb and Garlic Light

 

What You’ll Do:

 

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.

 

Rinse and pat the chicken dry. Place in a bowl, and dampen it with olive oil (a couple of turns, but not enough to leave oil in the bottom of the bowl). Season with garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper to your own taste. Mix well. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs or Panko and toss well (this is my special method of sort of lightly breading but not. The oil will make the chicken crispy without frying.)

 

If you’re cooking a mix of bone-in and boneless like I was last night, place the bone-in chicken on a foil-lined, non-stick spraying baking pan that’s large enough for all the chicken. Bake 30 minutes. Add the boneless chicken and bake 20 minutes more.

 

While chicken is cooking, pour enough salsa (I used 2 cups for 6 legs and two breasts) into a bowl. Mix in about 1/2 the container of the Rondele cheese. When chicken is almost cooked, take it out of the oven and cover the tops of all the pieces with the salsa mixture. Squeeze the tortilla chips in your hands so they are very roughly crushed and sprinkle on top of chicken. Put it back in the oven and bake until heated, about 10 more minutes.

 

Serve with the side dish of your choice. Last night I considered the salsa a vegetable, so I made an organic wild rice quinoa blend that’s really good.

 

Make it non-dairy or kosher: omit the cheese

Make it gluten-free: use GF bread crumbs and chips

Make it vegetarian: dip the chips in salsa and cheese

Enjoy and come back and let me know if you tried this recipe. Don’

 

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