I’m literally up to my elbows in dirt right now trying to get my first-ever square foot garden set up without saying too many bad words and/or stapling my finger to the garden boxes while applying weed barrier.
My rocky relationship with gardening is a very boring subject for another time, but since I love to reap the benefits of the harvest, I’m digging in (haha) and getting an official garden up and running, since last year’s attempt, a traditional garden out in the back pasture our first true summer here in Idaho, was overgrown in about three seconds with some type of noxious weed.
Because I was officially kicked out of that space to make room for our four new Angus friends, I decided to try a new method, and I’m now immersed in all things square foot gardening and hoping the effort is worth it (please don’t tell me otherwise right now; I might cry).
Anyway, my point is, since I have a mountain of compost on my driveway to deal with (and thankfully four energetic boys to help, which is a nice way of saying throw dirt clods at each other while I man the wheelbarrow), I’m going to quickly encourage you to get right on with adding this chili lime chicken to your menu.
It’s fast and simple and absolutely crazy delicious with the tender, spiced chicken, fresh mango salsa and creamy avocado lime drizzly sauce. If all those components have you shaking your head in a big “no way, not gonna happen” motion, be reassured that every step of this recipe can (and should) be made ahead of time.
Since the chicken, salsa, and sauce take literally minutes to prep and get to hang out in the refrigerator just waiting for you to come claim them, you’ll be in great shape when you get ready to serve this stellar meal for dinner.
I’ve given some tips and suggestions in the recipe about the options for cooking that delectable chicken on a grill or InstantPotting the whole thing. Either way = stellar results, so be sure to read through the recipe and notes. Also, this meal easily transitions from tacos to salad. Or, go crazy and serve it both ways since it’s as simple as throwing romaine lettuce on the table with the tortillas.
As much as I love food and variety, this meal totally fits into the category of “I could eat this every night and be exceptionally happy.” Light and healthy and full of fresh, yummy flavors (that mango salsa just slays me), this chili lime chicken number is such a winner.
With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, I’m thinking these tacos followed by the tres leches cupcakes of two days ago just might be the best combination ever.
My Favorite Cornbread
Fresh, seasonal vegetables
One Year Ago: Sweet and Spicy Pork and Pineapple Tacos
Two Years Ago: Whole Wheat Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Three Years Ago: Pretzel and Toffee Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies
This recipe is so dreamy because all of the components can be prepped ahead of time. The chicken can sit in the marinade for up to 8 hours (conversely, I've also been pressed for time/lazy before and forgot to marinade and thrown all the chicken/marinade ingredients in the pressure cooker without marinading beforehand). The mango salsa can be prepped a day or so in advance and refrigerated, and the avocado cream can be made a couple hours ahead of time, too (even a couple days ahead of time if you don't mind the color darkening a bit).
UPDATE: I forgot to mention in the recipe instructions below that if using the pressure cooker (stovetop or electric), you'll need to add a bit of extra liquid. Some people will tell you this isn't necessary but for safety reasons, a pressure cooker needs a certain amount of liquid to operate safely. I've updated the directions below.
- 2-3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 2-3 limes)
- 1-2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and diced (for about 1-2 cups chopped mango)
- 1/2 cup small diced red pepper
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 jalapeno, seeds and membraned removed, finely diced
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 2 avocados (pitted and flesh scooped out)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Handful of fresh cilantro leaves (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup)
- Milk for consistency
- Tortillas for serving OR turn it into a main dish salad with romaine in place of the tortillas
- For the chicken, place the chicken in a ziploc bag or in a dish. Combine all the marinade ingredients (chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cayenne and lime juice) and pour over the chicken. Refrigerate for a couple of hours (up to 8 hours). Grill the chicken until cooked through (about 6-7 minutes per side on a grill preheated to medium-high heat). Alternately, the chicken can be pressure cooked at high pressure for 8 minutes; on an InstantPot, add the chicken and marinade ingredients PLUS 1/2 CUP LOW-SODIUM CHICKEN BROTH OR WATER, secure the lid and press manual --> 7 minutes (let the pressure cooker naturally release pressure when finished cooking). Let the chicken rest for 5 or so minutes before slicing into strips or shredding.
- For the mango salsa, combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and give it a good stir. Refrigerate until ready to serve; can be made a day or so in advance if you have the willpower not to eat it all before you serve it with the tacos.
- For the avocado cream, combine all the ingredients except the milk in a blender and process until smooth. Add milk, a tablespoon at at time, until the sauce is at the right consistency for drizzling (not too thin!).
- To serve, top each tortilla with chicken, mango salsa, and avocado cream. You can also transition this very easily into a main dish salad by swapping out the tortillas for romaine lettuce.
Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (chili lime chicken from a recipe my sister has made for years – I just converted it to grilling/InstantPot, mango salsa just like I make it day after day during the summer, creamy avocado lime sauce similar to the version I instagrammed months ago – we eat it on everything)