Monday, August 23, 2010

Why I LOVE my Grill Pan-Tex Mex Night

As an alternative to grilling outside, the grill pan is a must have item for every kitchen. I am on my third grill pan in ten years (Unfortunately, the nonstick surface wears off over time). The good news is that you can get a decent double burner grill pan for $40. My latest grill pan came from Target and it's a Calphalon.

For me, tex mex is an easy meal to throw together as long as you have the basics. After reviewing what I bought at Walmart (Much of the time, meal planning is just a few hours away from dinnertime. When I go shopping, I buy what's on sale and what looks good. Then, I decide what to make), I decided to grill two packages of chicken tenderloins on my grill pan. Because I wasn't in the mood to fuss with a marinade, I decided to rub the chicken with a mixture of cumin, chili powder, a pinch of sugar (brown sugar would have been better but I didn't have any), and olive oil. I set this out on the counter for a half an hour while preparing the rest of the meal.

The next step was to put the rice on the stove. My absolute favorite rice is Basmati. It's quick cooking and nutty in flavor. I like the brown basmati as well. Even though I limit cooking with butter, I did add just a little bit of unsalted butter to the rice once it was finished because it really helps bring out the nutty flavor. Salt and pepper to taste.

Then, I went to my produce door in the fridge and grabbed everything that would make a good tex mex salad. such as mixed greens, green onions, and a large bunch of cilantro. Also, added a chopped tomato and two cans of black beans (drained and rinsed). I LOVE cilantro and rough chopped a lot of it in this dish.

Dressing! The salad needs a dressing. I don't have exact measurements on this but the combination was one lime, one shallot, one jalepeno, red wine vinegar, oil, tsp of cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. This dressing was whipped up in about 4 minutes. Salad dressings are so quick to make and healthier than bottled dressings. If you are not into chopping, use a mini food processor.

The last step is to grill the chicken. These tenders took about 5-6 minutes total to grill. They came out perfectly and were tasty considering that I put most of my time in the salad dressing rather than making a marinade.

Because we love our condiments with tex mex, I had a couple of different Trader Joe's salsas and a dollop of sour cream for me.

This meal has a ton of protein between the chicken and the black beans. I love meals like this because I feel satisfied, but not stuffed. Additionally, the protein helps repair muscles after hard workouts. Personally, I would never eat a meal such as this before a race due to the black beans. I don't have to explain that one, LOL. If you are concerned about the white basmati rice, use brown basmati. Keep in mind that brown basmati takes about twice as long to cook. Trader Joe's carries both white and brown and the price is quite reasonable.

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