Make some salsa chicken and save time, calories

January 07, 1996|By Charlotte Balcomb Lane | Charlotte Balcomb Lane,KNIGHT-RIDDER/TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

On days when you think you are too rushed to eat right, don't blow your diet on microwave pizza. Bake a batch of salsa chicken instead. Salsa chicken is a satisfying, low-fat meal with less than 300 calories per serving, yet it takes only minutes to make. Salsa chicken contains just two ingredients: salsa and chicken.

The dish is low in fat and calories because it starts with skinless breast, the leanest cut of chicken. Be sure to buy boneless, skinless breasts, which weigh about 4 to 5 ounces each. For convenience, buy bulk packages of individually frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

Use any kind of salsa you prefer, whether hot, medium or mild. Most brands don't contain any fat but are high in sodium. If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, salsa chicken may not be a good recipe choice for you. However, if you aren't monitoring your sodium intake, this dish provides an excellent antidote for high-stress days.

Salsa chicken creates its own delicious sauce as it bakes, so you may want to savor it with rice, pasta or a plain baked potato.

Salsa chicken

Makes 4 servings

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 4 to 5 ounces each

12 ounces mild or medium salsa

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Tear off 4 pieces of aluminum foil about 8 inches square. Place a chicken breast in the center of each piece of foil. Fold the pointed, thin end of the chicken under the thick end, so the meat will cook evenly. Top each breast with 3 tablespoons of salsa. Wrap up well, fold the edges of the foil to seal the salsa inside. Bake for 35 minutes. (Note: You can also make the dish using frozen chicken breast. Prepare as directed but don't attempt to fold the chicken. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.)

Per serving: 247 calories; 44.5 grams of protein; 2.5 grams of carbohydrate; 5 grams of fat (19 percent of calories from fat); 120 milligrams of cholesterol; 750 milligrams pf sodium

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