Every so often a meal comes around that completely takes me by surprise. I made this on Friday and I’m still giddy with excitement about how it came out. It’s the easiest thing in the world to make, yet it’s packed with so much flavor and uses all whole food ingredients (as long as you count tequila as a whole food, which I sure do.)
The inspiration for this meal started with a craving for chips and salsa. I knew I needed something to accompany the craving (besides a margarita) so I decided to turn my favorite cocktail into a marinade. It was purely experimental and I had no idea how well it would turn out. Plus, I figured that if it was a complete fail Robert and I’d both be okay calling chips and salsa dinner if we absolutely had to. Happily, that was not the case.
The marinade couldn’t be more simple: Some tequila, juice of four limes, juice of one orange, chopped jalapenos, fresh garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper. That’s it! I covered about a pound of boneless skinless chicken breast tenders in the marinade and stuck it in the fridge for about three hours. I went with the tenders because it was Friday, I was tired, and I knew they’d cook quickly. But I already can’t wait to use the marinade for chicken breasts and flank steak on the grill!
I cooked the chicken in a cast iron skillet on the stove and served it with some sauteed red onion and bell peppers for a kind of deconstructed fajita. You could totally use this recipe for actual chicken fajitas, a homemade burrito bowl (I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned my deep love for Chipotle here), or a simple salad topped with the delicious, spicy, tangy chicken.
Truly, the options are endless and I can pretty much guarantee you’ll be seeing this margarita lime recipe again here and hopefully in your home, too.
Margarita Lime Chicken
Serves 3 (or 2 with leftovers)
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast tenders
1/3 c gold tequila (such as Jose Cuervo)
Juice of 4 limes
Juice of 1 orange
2 jalapenos, chopped (keep seeds if you like it spicy, remove ribs and seeds if you don’t)
4 garlic cloves, smashed and roughly chopped
1 Tbsp chili powder
Salt and pepper
Combine chicken, tequila, lime juice, orange juice, jalapenos, garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Cover and marinate in the fridge 1-3 hours.
Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and pour just enough marinade to cover the bottom of the skillet. Cook about 3-4 minutes per side until cooked through. Remove chicken to plate and repeat with remaining chicken, again covering the bottom of the skillet with some marinade.
For the Peppers and Onions: In a separate skillet, sauté 1 sliced red onion and 3 sliced bell peppers with olive oil and salt and pepper for about 8 minutes. Remove to a bowl and top with about 1 tsp lime zest.