Get It Your Dang Self: Build Your Own Southwest Chicken Tacos

          So it's been a long day, and you just ain't having it.  The stove is a mess and your schedule has been so busy, you haven't had time to wash not one pot to cook with, let alone to piss in.  Burger and chicken joints are a no go, since you're watching your weight and are trying not to keel over and die by the time you are 30, but the Chipotle line is too long to wait in just to choose 1 of 3 options.  

          Eating healthy doesn't always have to be a chore, a long wait, or a theft of your bank account (although you really should clean that kitchen we talked about, that's just disgusting).  Here's a recipe that was surprisingly the antithesis to all these aforementioned headaches.  I just sautéed chicken tenderloins and placed them in leaves of lettuce and built my lettuce chicken tacos.  

INGREDIENTS

  • Boneless Chicken Tenderloins (~$7.00)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Chili Powder
  • Crushed Pepper
  • 1 tsp of unsalted butter
  • Head of Lettuce (~$2.00)
  • Whole Foods' Spicy Cabbage Slaw: ($1.16)
  • Whole Foods' Southwestern Salsa: ($4.50)
  • Whole Foods' Spicy Salsa: ($4.36)
  • Whole Foods' Mango Salsa: ($4.12)

THE PROCESS

1. Wash boneless chicken breast tenderloins throroughly.  Please don't be out here spreading Salmonella.  Please and thank you.  

2. Season the chicken tenderloin breasts generally with the aforementioned seasonings.  I like this  combo of seasonings because I love sweet, but spicy meat.  It also compliments the toppings and the theme of the meal well.  However, cooking is an art, and the kitchen is your studio...do what makes both your heart and stomach alike, happy.   

3. Pan fry the chicken tenderloins with 1 tsp of butter per batch over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes per side, or until brown.  

4. Remove the meat from the heat and let cool.  However, please note that if you used the brown sugar to season you meat, please do not place the meat on a paper towel-lined plate.  The sugar creates a sticky film and can cause the meat to stick to the paper towels, and unless you like to indulge in eating paper towel-lined meat, this probably isn't ideal.

5. Save a life...prevent E.coli...wash your head of lettuce.  

6. I actually prefer to eat these lettuce tacos with hearts of romaine lettuce; however, I could find neither this type of lettuce, nor the energy to keep looking for it in my heart on this particular day.  Like I said, this was a low maintenance meal, so my expectations, like my desire to be picky, was beyond low.  But now you have my recommendation.

7. Dry the leaves with a clean paper towel.  Nothing is worse than being tired and hungry than being tired, hungry, and having a soggy a$% taco to bite into.  

8. Separate the leaves at the stalk.  

9. Consider two leaves per taco.  This adds roughage to your meal which can aid in digestion, can fill you up quicker, and can help to hold the taco together more ('cause who likes tacos when the ingredients decide to abort the mission of making it to your mouth by falling out the back end of the taco mid-bite).  

10.  Stack chicken strips in each lettuce boat.  You can opt to slice your meat into smaller chunks if you desire, but please see the aforementioned sentence about me being a lazy bear.  Plate afterwards.  

11.  Stack the toppings in the middle of the table and let everyone go for it!  Goes great with chips and guac, tortilla soup, and/or fruit!

          This is definitely a keep-sake of mine when I'm beyond tired and still seemed to be swamped in everything under the sun, but still know that I have to mind my mind, body, and soul. Just know that while this can cost up to $20 for all ingredients, the chicken and toppings are all organic, this can last for a while (this was my snack for a week), you can use the leftovers for other dishes through the remaining week, and you can tailor your daily wants from sweet to spicy.  This is perfect for the medical professional student drowning in stress and disrespectful amounts of work, a parent with a job and kids (phew, that just sounds stressful typing it), or someone looking to eat healthier but doesn't want to make these "simple" recipes on Instagram that call for $80 kobe beef, magical quinoa seeds from Never Never Land, unicorn tears, and 908,256 minutes of prep time.  

         Try this one out and let me know how it turns out and if you thought this was a fairly priced for a healthy meal that lasts throughout the week! From my lazy, ratchet kitchen to yours, peace out homies!

Andrea AlexanderComment