Stefan is the master meat-chef in our house. There is no hiding that I hate holding raw meat, and although I'll do it, I much prefer to pass that job off to him. Aside from bacon frying in a skillet, he makes the most tender, juicy meat dishes. I'll stay humbly at the table, doing the side dish.
It's no secret, also, that our family loves Chipotle. When I say love, I mean "luuuuuuurrrvvvve" Chipotle. Like, love as in we asked about opening up a restaurant, until we found out they don't franchise.
Now that we live in an area where the closest Chipotle is an hour away (gasp! They are putting one near us in Bellingham, WA, of course right after we move), we have tried to recreate our beloved chicken burritos, rice bowls, and pico de gallo from the restaurant. What we've come up with is something with the basic building blocks of the healthy meal we enjoyed weekly, but with an entirely unique and amazing flavor, also with different 'add-ons'.
That's where TONY'S comes in, the deliciously spicy creole seasoning that we buy in jumbo size. It's the secret to one of my favorite cold-pasta side dishes, too. It's normally used for fish, but since this midwesterner doesn't touch fish with a 10 foot pole, the next best option is chicken. Stefan cakes our chicken with this stuff, and it's so spicy it makes our lips burn but IT IS THE BEST PART AND YOU CAN'T SKIP IT. Got it? I'm serious about my Tony's!
Here's the recipe, that I'm pretty sure we could build a restaurant around. It's just that good. This makes an entire plateful of food, with hopefully some leftovers for breakfast (not kidding).
*1 frozen chicken breast per person
*1 onion, sliced (kept in circular form, think onion rings)
*Tony's creole seasoning
*Jasmine rice, 1 cup
* 1 TBLSP cooking oil
*2-3 jalepenos (2 big or 3 small), seeds & membrane removed, chopped
*1/2 red onion, chopped finely
*4 tomatoes, chopped
*1/3 bunch of cilantro, chopped finely
1) Start rice. Pour 2 cups water for 1 cup jasmine rice. Pour in cooking oil, and healthy scoop of salt in with rice, mix. Bring to a boil. Minimize heat to low, set timer for 20 minutes and cover.
2) Start pico: Combine seeded & chopped jalapenos, chopped 1/2 red onion, chopped tomatoes to a bowl. Add in about a teaspoon of salt, and 2 teaspoons of lime juice. Add in ONLY HALF of your finely chopped cilantro. Mix together and add more salt or lime juice as needed. Sit in refrigerator until ready to serve.
3) Start chicken: Start by cooking frozen chicken in skillet on medium heat. Keep a large plate over top of skillet. You want steam to be able to escape but also have a covering. Each side takes about 5 minutes when frozen, much less if fresh. Once the meat has cooked a bit on each side, cover with Tony's seasoning. Flip once more on each side (so Tony's can "bake in"), and cut one open in the middle to see if there is any pink left. Don't overcook! If you're done with this step and the rice is still cooking. Keep chicken in the oven on the warm setting.
4)When chicken is done, add a bit more oil and the sliced onions. Grill until wilted and cooked. Set aside.
5) Rice timer went off, then mix up to make sure there is little to no remaining liquid. The rice should be fluffy with little moisture left. Add lime juice (2 teaspoons, about, more to taste) and the remaining cilantro. Mix well.
Each dish includes a chicken breast and a healthy portion of the onions, rice, and pico de gallo. Eat all together, or side by side and enjoy. This is one of our favorite meals. It's very healthy, very filling, and so full of amazing flavor!