Cheese-Stuffed Chicken with Black Bean Salad and Cilantro-Lime Dressing

24 Jun
Cheese-Stuffed Chicken with Black Bean Salad and Cilantro-Lime Dressing

Cheese-Stuffed Chicken with Black Bean Salad and Cilantro-Lime Dressing

I came across this recipe yesterday when browsing through my recipe clippings that have been thrown hodge-podge into a manila folder. I had not made this in upwards of 10 years, and just seeing the recipe brought a flood of memories back of when my mom made this for me. No, this was not as a little kid growing up, this was 13 years ago when I was bed-ridden and almost seven months pregnant. We had moved into our house just a couple weeks before, when I was struck with hypertension and also had placenta previa and ordered on full-time bed rest and various meds. We hadn’t even unpacked everything yet.  My mom immediately flew up from Texas to help us finish unpacking and be with me for whatever I needed. Apparently one day, I “needed” this dish for dinner. So I handed her my photocopy of the recipe to go buy the necessary ingredients, then proceeded to instruct her how to make it from the couch adjacent to the kitchen. I just giggle now at the thought of that evening. You see, I am partially deaf in one ear, and have bouts of tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Well the meds I was taking for my condition started to make me go almost completely deaf in both ears! Thankfully that side effect was temporary. Anyways, since I could barely hear, I had to turn the TV up real loud to hear it. So then my mom is in the kitchen asking me questions during the preparation while the TV was on, and I kept yelling “WHAT?!?” every few minutes. I remember my mom got so exasperated with me, and told me my baby would come out of me screaming “WHAT?” when she was born. It ended up being a wonderful meal, but my mom told me she would in no way ever make it for me again.

Cilantro Onion Cheese Mixture

Cilantro Onion Cheese Mixture

Now that I am looking at the recipe again after all these years, I am also chuckling over the weight it states for 8 boneless chicken breasts (3 1/2 pounds). I do believe it dates this recipe back a-ways, because I don’t remember the last time I could buy a chicken breast that didn’t weigh almost a pound. The other thing that struck me as funny is that the original recipe is called Relleno-Stuffed Chicken. Relleno in Spanish means “stuffed,” so it literally means stuffed-stuffed chicken. I left the duplicate off my recipe title. I wish I could credit the author and cookbook this came from, but since it’s a photocopy I must not have owned the cookbook myself and have no clue. However, I’ve modified the original recipe a bit so I think it will be OK.

This does take a bit of prep time, but the results are so worth it! You’ll need to make the black bean salad and the dressing first before preparing the chicken if you want any chance to sit down a spell while the chicken is cooking.  I cut the recipe in about half, so this feeds four easily. My daughter did have a friend over for dinner tonight after I had decided to make this, and she went back for seconds for more dressing over it and my daughter went back for seconds on the chicken! It was plenty for all. I do think this could be served at a small dinner party and the guests will be plenty pleased with the “gourmet” flavor this meal provides.

Black Bean Salad

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 avocado
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (1 medium lime)
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Black pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and toss to coat. Cover and set aside until ready to serve. (Don’t refrigerate unless you are making it long before dinner. If you do refrigerate it, let it come back to room temperature before serving.)

Cilantro-Lime Dressing

1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup sour cream (low-fat is fine)
1/4 cup mayonnaise (low-fat is fine)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
Black pepper
Salt (optional)

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.  Add black pepper to taste, and a tad of salt if you want. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use

Black Bean Salad

Black Bean Salad

Cheese-Stuffed Chicken

1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend (Pepper Jack and Cheddar)
1 tablespoon minced green onions
1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon cumin
Black pepper to taste
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
Olive oil
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Blend
Lettuce leaves for plates (I used red-leaf, but any kind will do)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the cheese, onions, garlic and seasonings in a small bowl. Butterfly the chicken breasts and stuff half the mixture into each one. Secure with toothpicks. Spray both sides with olive oil, and season both sides with pepper and Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb. Line a baking pan with foil and lightly spray with oil. Bake for 35-45 minutes until chicken is no longer pink. Remove from oven and let sit for five minutes. To serve, cut each chicken breast into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange the lettuce on each plate, then top with about a cup Black Bean Salad, sliced chicken, and a few tablespoons of the Cilantro Dressing. Absolutely delicious!


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