03 August 2008

Chipotle Pretzel Chicken with Southwest Corn Saute

One thing I will say for myself is that I am inventive! When it comes to pulling together dinner with very little direction, I can usually come up with something delicious. All I knew I wanted for dinner tonight was chicken, so I thawed two boneless skinless breasts. I didn't want to do another herb rub, so I thought I'd bread them, but I wasn't too keen on typical bread crumbs. I spied a bag of pretzel rods in the cabinet, and my recipe developed from there.

Chipotle Pretzel Chicken

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 pretzel rods, crushed
1 tbsp. chipotle seasoning
1 tbsp. Adobo seasoning
2 tbsp. dried minced onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix all ingredients (excluding the chicken breasts) on a small plate. Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry with paper towel. Rub chicken breasts with olive oil and dip in the pretzel "breading" mixture. Press the pretzel crumbs into the chicken if they do not properly adhere. Place on baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

This was an experiment that turned out very well. The pretzels created a great crunchy texture, and the chipotle gave the chicken a big kick. If you don't care for the spice, you could easily reduce or eliminate the chipotle.

Southwest Corn Saute

crushed red pepper flakes
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 tbsp. Adobo seasoning
1 bag frozen corn
olive oil

Lightly coat the bottom of a medium saute pan with olive oil over medium high heat. Add red pepper flakes and let simmer for 2-3 minutes to infuse the oil with pepper. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add garlic and Adobo seasoning and cook until garlic is soft. Without defrosting, add corn to pan and cook until fully heated through.

The lingering heat from the chipotle was enhanced by the salty crunch of the pretzel coating. The spice was unexpected, but delicious. The corn saute is a favorite of mine - I love to use frozen vegetables in creative ways. I served the chicken on a bed of wild rice pilaf, framed by the corn saute. The mild rice was a nice backdrop to the spiciness of the other foods. The low heat from the chicken and the spicy heat of the corn were well balanced by this simple rice side. This was easy to put together, impressive in looks and flavor, and definitely something different to do with chicken!

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