I've been getting loads of questions about the chicken from the $30 Grocery List post.
I usually just eyeball it, but I can understand how a more specific recipe could be helpful so here it is!
Once you get comfortable with this technique you can whip it up in a matter of minutes and use it for some quick tacos, quesadillas, or burritos.
How To Make Some Quick Chicken
Keep in mind that salt level is more important than the brand of chile powder, so please don't worry about hunting down the exact chile powder I'm using!
Properly salting your chicken will prevent it from tasting chickeny and this is what most people overlook when they saute chicken at home. But not you!
There's one other reason not to sweat the chile powder too much...
Most of your quick Mexican dishes will depend on a homemade Salsa or Pico de Gallo for the bulk of the flavor, and the seasoning on the chicken is just a bonus.
Also, keep in mind that many generic chile powders are loaded with salt, and if you're using one of those then you probably won't need to add as much additional salt. More info on the chile powder I use.
For a single chicken breast we'll start with the following ingredients:
1 tablespoon chile powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly cracked black pepper
a glug of oil
You'll also need 1/4 small onion, something similar to this:
And of course, a single chicken breast.
This one is just over half a pound and that's usually enough for 2 people:
I find it easiest to slice the breast in half lengthwise like this:
And then chop it up into bite-sized pieces, cutting through both layers at the same time.
If it's hard to cut through both layers at the same time then it's probably time to sharpen the knife!
Once the chicken is chopped you can combine it in a bowl with the salt, pepper, chile powder, and a glug of oil.
Then we'll roughly chop the 1/4 onion and get it cooking in some olive oil. A bit over medium heat usually does the job on my stove.
Once the onion is sizzling you can push it aside and add the chicken, forming a single layer with it.
Let this first side cook nearly all the way through until most of the pink color is gone.
Here's what this batch looked like after the first side cooked for 4 minutes or so:
Then flip it over and continue cooking the other side for another 1-2 minutes or until all the pink color is gone.
Give it a good stir and mix the onion throughout the chicken.
And that's it! Easy right?
You'd be surprised how satisfying this chicken is when it's properly salted.
Here are a few other tips if you're new to cooking chicken at home:
- Please don't buy chicken that's been previously frozen! It will come out tough, chewy, and massively disappointing. Some grocery stores will mention this on the label, but some won't! Usually if chicken is super cheap it's been previously frozen so it's worth asking.
- A single chicken breast is usually plenty for 2 people. You'll get 5-7 tacos out of a single breast, depending on how much you load them up.
- Use a dedicated knife and cutting board to chop up your chicken. For example, you'll want to slice up the onion on a different cutting board than the chicken (or do it first). If you only have one cutting board and knife it's always best practice to give both of them a thorough washing after using them to chop up the chicken.
- Once opened, your raw chicken will last longer in the fridge if you store it in a good Ziploc bag as opposed to a supermarket plastic bag. I keep the original packaging and just toss it all in a big Ziploc.
And now that you're a pro at making chicken you can use it to make all sorts of quick meals. Here are a few to choose from:
Chicken Burritos with Avocado Salsa Verde
15 Minute Chicken and Guac Quesadillas
Spicy Chicken and Pickled Jalapeno Pizza
But don't forget that you can improvise with what you have available! Feel free to whip up some Chicken Tacos with the fixings that sound best to you.
Okay, I'll put a recipe box for this chicken down below. It's a great no-thinking-involved option for those nights when you need a quick, satisfying meal. I hope you get some use out of it!
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Easy Chicken Recipe for Tacos, Quesadillas, Burritos
- 1 boneless chicken breast
- 1 tablespoon chile powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- freshly cracked black pepper (approx. 1/4 teaspoon)
- 1/4 small onion
- olive oil
- Add the following ingredients to a bowl: 1 tablespoon chile powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, freshly cracked black pepper (approx. 1/4 teaspoon), and a glug of olive oil.
- Slice the chicken breast in half lengthwise, and then chop it up into bite-sized pieces. Add the chopped up chicken to the bowl and combine well.
- Roughly chop 1/4 onion. I usually just cut an onion in half, cut off the top, then cut that in half and chop it up. (Be sure to use a different cutting board and knife to chop up the onion. If using only one cutting board always give the board and knife a thorough washing after cutting chicken with it.)
- Add the chopped onion to a skillet along with a glug of olive oil. I usually use a bit over medium heat on my stove. When the onion is sizzling you can push it aside and add the chicken, forming a single layer. Once the first side has cooked almost all the way through and most of the pink color is gone, give the chicken a flip and cook the second side for 1-2 minutes or until all of the pink color is gone.
- Serve immediately. To keep it warm longer you can put it in a new bowl and cover with foil.
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I've never seen chili powder with seeds and pepper flakes before. I used crushed dried peppers and it was great.
Yeah, some places will sell a chunkier version as "crushed" or "chile flakes" but if you grind it down further you'll get the finer powder that is more common in the States. Same flavor though 🙂
Are crushed peppers (photo) and Chili powder (recipe) interchangeable?
Hey Selma! Yeah it's the same flavor and coming from the same source, but the finer powder is a bit more concentrated than the crushed version. I tend to use a heaping tablespoon of crushed, but a standard tablespoon is a good start for the powders that most peeps will be using. Cheers.
Thanks for the detailed (with pics) recipe for easy quick chicken. Also the info on the frozen chicken.. I buy that most often, but I will switch to buying fresh from now on. Thanks again.
Cheers Diane, I hope you get lots of quick, satisfying meals out of this recipe!