Friday, August 3, 2012

Baked Cornmeal Chicken Tenders with Fresh Peach Salsa

This July Michael and I celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary.  Sometimes it's hard to believe it's been that long, but then I think of all we've been through together and it's hard to imagine life before "we". 
We often reminisce about life as newlyweds, and how exciting it was to have our own place, especially since we went straight from college dorms to our own apartment.  For whatever reason, one of the things we always talk about is how I used to make "peach salsa chicken" for all our first dinner guests (it was always a big crowd-pleaser)

The original recipe came from my Betty Crocker bridal edition cookbook (a personal favorite!), but over the years, we have made it our own.  Since healthy eating has become a bigger priority for us lately, I took it one step further this year and decided to bake the chicken instead of frying it in oil on the stove.  We were pleasantly surprised with how similar it tasted!  Honestly, the peach salsa is the star of this dish anyway.  Never make less than a huge bowl of the salsa, because you will want leftovers.  (I had previously posted this salsa recipe, but never along with the chicken.)

Baked Cornmeal Chicken Tenders with Fresh Peach Salsa

-1 package chicken breasts, fat trimmed and cut into tenders (2-4 oz. each)
-1 c. cornmeal
-1/2 t. each salt and black pepper
-cooking spray or olive oil

for the salsa:
-4 1/2 cups peaches, pealed and chopped (6-7 medium peaches)
-2 1/2 cups tomato, chopped (~2 large tomatoes)
-1 bunch green onions, chopped
-1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro (can also use dried, but I recommend at least getting the cilantro in the tubes - found in the produce section, near fresh herbs in containers)
-1/4 c. vegetable oil
-1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
-1/2 - 1 t. salt, to taste
-freshly ground black pepper to taste
-tortilla or pita chips for taste testing!

1.  I recommend making the salsa first so you can refrigerate it while you make the chicken.  Chop the peaches, tomatoes, and green onions (I like to leave it fairly chunky).  Place in large bowl (I like to use a big Pyrex bowl that has a lid so I can make/store it in the same one.)

2.  Add chopped cilantro, vegetable oil, and vinegar, tossing gently to combine.
3.  Add salt and black pepper to taste (this is where the all important role of taste-tester comes in...  Michael loves it!).  Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

4.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray (or brush with olive oil).

5.  Cut chicken into tenders, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Mix cornmeal and 1/2 teaspoonful each of salt and pepper in shallow dish (I use a pie plate).

6.  Coat each chicken tender in cornmeal mixture and place on foil-lined baking sheet.  Bake 40-50 minutes, turning every 15 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.

7.  Serve warm topped with generous amount of peach salsa.

1 comment:

  1. I do remember this from the AZ trip, you managed to make it in my tiny, tiny kitchen. It was tasty!