Updated: Aug 22, 2020
Spicy salsa, creamy avocado, fresh coriander, tender meat, rich sour cream. What's not to love about Mexican flavours and dishes?
Here's a way to enjoy all of the above and skip the processed sauces and carbohydrates. It's rich in nutrients and low in carbohydrates, but doesn't fail to deliver on flavour.
The best part? You just need one pot to cook the entire recipe, and there's zero skill involved. If you're new to meal prep, this recipe is definitely your friend.
One pot Mexican chicken
All your favourite Mexican flavours in one easy and nutritious meal
Prep time: 45 minutes (includes time on stove)
Cook time: 60 minutes (in oven)
Portions: 8 meals @ 24 g protein per serve
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 kg skinless and boneless chicken thigh, cut into chunks
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 large carrots, thinly sliced
1 tbsp butter
400 g can diced tomatoes
300 g jar salsa (all natural or very minimal additives)
Fresh coriander, chopped (optional)
400 g can kidney beans (optional)
1/3 cup long-grain white rice (optional)
Cast iron casserole pot with lid (needs to be able to cook on the stove and in the oven)
Large bowl to marinate chicken
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius (base heat and no fan works best).
Combine chilli flakes, oregano, coriander, garlic and olive oil in a large bowl. Add chicken and use hands to lightly coat chicken. Cover and refrigerate to marinate for 30 minutes (Tip - you can do this while you chop the onion and carrots and complete steps 3 and 4.)
Melt 1 tsp of butter to put on stove at medium high heat. Cook onion in butter for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly fried and aromatic.
Add carrot and fry for another 5 minutes, until the carrot is slightly soft and the onion translucent. Remove onion and carrot from the pot and set aside.
Melt 2 tsps butter in pot. Cook chicken in butter for 5 minutes or until browned. Use a wooden spoon to stir so it doesn't stick or burn.
Add tomatoes and salsa to the pot. Stir and let it simmer for 3 minutes.
Return onion and carrot to the pot and stir to combine.
Cover and bake for 1 hour. After 30 minutes, take it out from oven and give it a stir. The liquid will cover the ingredients and start to thicken. Add liquid if it's too dry (some water or more canned tomatoes should do the trick.)
Other vegetables that you could add include diced zucchini, red capsicum or green beans.
For more kick, add chopped red or green chillis or jalapeños to your chicken marinade.
Top with a simple guacamole and a dollop of sour cream.
Garnish with chopped coriander.
Add kidney beans for a low GI carbs meal. If canned, add to the dish when it's almost ready and bake for another 5 minutes. You could also prepare kidney beans at home. Kidney beans add a delicious texture but can upset your belly - watch for signs of gut distress in the days after eating.
Add rice to make your meal higher in simple carbs. Either cook the rice separately, or add uncooked rice to the pot after it's cooked for 45 minutes. Return it to the oven to bake for another 20 to 25 minutes until the rice is fluffy and soft. The second option infuses the rice with the Mexican flavours, but I find that it hides the rice a bit in the dish. If you prefer to segment your plate and like to feel like you have a more substantial amount of rice in your meal, I'd cook the rice separately. This will also make it easier to measure your portions if you need to keep track of your carbs.