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The Easiest Margarita Chicken Recipe

It only takes 20 minutes to bring this low-calorie dish to the dinner table!
The Easiest Margarita Chicken RecipeMitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Sizzling chicken and steak platters clutter the menus of nearly every major chain restaurant in this country, a testament to the enduring popularity of meat and melted cheese. We can’t fault people for loving it—who wouldn’t? It’s chicken and melted cheese—yum! But we do take issue with the fact that these savory skillets rarely contain fewer than 1,000 calories, regardless of who’s holding the spatula. That is, unless you are. When you cook your own food you can control what you put in it and the quality of ingredients, which means you can have the same meal for more than half the calories, and more often than not; half the price. Who can argue with that? Our version of margarita chicken, a meal that you can have on the table in 20 minutes, contains all the same bells and whistles (Cheese! Salsa! Sizzle!), minus all the added calories and dollars spent on eating at a restaurant.

Nutrition: 330 calories, 12 g fat (4.5 g saturated), 480 mg sodium

Serves 4

You’ll Need

1⁄2 can (14–16 oz) black beans, drained
1⁄4 tsp cumin
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and black pepper to taste
1⁄2 Tbsp canola or olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 oz each)
1 cup prepared salsa, preferably salsa verde (Made from tomatillos, onions, jalapeños, and lime, salsa verde strikes a perfect balance between acidity and spice, brightening and intensifying flavors in everything it touches.)
1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
Chopped fresh cilantro

How to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Combine the black beans and cumin in a saucepan and heat all the way through.
  3. Squeeze in the lime juice and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  4. Remove from heat, but warm before serving.
  5. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  6. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper and sear in the hot pan for 3 to 4 minutes on the first side, until a nice crust develops, then flip.
  7. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, then spoon the salsa over the meat, top with the cheese, and place in the oven.
  8. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is fully melted and bubbling, no more than 5 minutes.
  9. Divide the beans among 4 plates, top with the chicken, and garnish with cilantro.

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