Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken with Strawberry-Jalapeño Salsa

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Cilantro-Lime-Chicken-with-Strawberry-Jalapeno-SalsaAll the employees at my local grocery store think I’m crazy.

While I find this mildly offensive, I sort of get it. I mean, think about it from their perspective…

Some lady (can I call myself that?) goes grocery shopping every single day, usually between 9am and 11am.

She takes her sweet ass time perusing the produce. Like, a really, really, absurdly long time. Sometimes she touches a fruit or vegetable, smells it, and then puts it back. She regularly knocks over displays. When asked if she needs help, she always says no. Or, more accurately, screams, “NO!!!” because she’s listening to what sounds like 90s hip hop at 10 million decibels.

She sometimes acts as if she works there and answers other customers’ questions about products/where to find certain things.

By the time she reaches checkout, she has a basket overflowing with weird things, none of which appear to go together. I mean, what is she going to do with four bunches of cilantro, a giant bag of flaxseeds, and 2 different types of maple syrup?

She pays at the register in the back, and then takes her bags, picks out two more random items, and goes to purchase those at a different register in the front.

She’s always a little bit sweaty.

Cilantro-Lime-Chicken-with-Strawberry-Jalapeno-Salsa-2If I were observing the lady described above, I’d assume she was batshit, so I understand why most of the staff at Westside Market look at me like I’m a little unstable. Red flags everywhere.

I just want to tell them that I’m a food blogger that appreciates fresh produce, Ludacris Pandora, and helping out less-informed shoppers. Sometimes I have to go to two registers because I remember an ingredient I need after I’ve already paid, and I’m always sweating because my basket is heavy and I don’t exercise that much, dammit!

Sadly, I feel as if offering this unsolicited information to random employees may only terrify them more, so I’ve resigned myself to being Westside Market’s resident weirdo.

Cilantro-Lime-Chicken-with-Strawberry-Jalapeno-Salsa-3Embracing my reputation is probably a good thing, since I’ve been trying to scale back my grocery shopping to twice a week (for time management purposes), which has actually made me appear even nuttier. You see, when I go everyday, I remember what I’ve bought the day before. But when I space out my trips, I second-guess myself.

Do I have limes at home? Yes. No! Maybe? Ugh, I better buy more, just in case. Did I buy strawberries on Monday? You did. No, that was last week? Whatever, get some more!

Basically, I’ve been doing even more wandering the store/talking to myself/sweating than ever. Yikes.

And when I opened my fridge yesterday and saw 3 cartons of strawberries, an entire bag of jalapeños, 2 bunches of cilantro, 3 trays of chicken breasts, and enough limes for a pitcher of margaritas? I thought to myself, “The Westside Market peeps are right. You are crazy.”

This was a scary thought. (Am I losing it???) But then I turned my psycho surplus into Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken with Strawberry-Jalapeño Salsa, and all was right in the world…

Cilantro-Lime-Chicken-with-Strawberry-Jalapeno-Salsa-4Look at this sexy chicken, friends. It’s pounded thin, marinated in lots of lime, cilantro and a touch of honey, and quickly grilled to juicy perfection. Between the pounding and the marinating, the chicken stays incredibly tender, and the citrus-herb flavor is unbeatable. (The term “zesty!” keeps coming to mind, which is hilarious, because I’m not sure I’ve ever said that word out loud.)

And the Strawberry-Jalapeño Salsa! Dear God.

Strawberry-Jalapeno-SalsaI kept trying to come up with flowery, food blogger language to describe this stuff while looking at the above glamour shot, but it was difficult to hear my own thoughts over my heavy breathing. It’s basically epic summer strawberry sweetness with a little citrus tang and a gentle heat. (If you want to really fire things up, you can leave some seeds in the jalapeños.)

Just wait until you take a bite of the grilled chicken smothered with this stuff. It’s like fiesta fireworks and flavor bombs dropped all over your taste buds. Prepare yourself.

Cilantro-Lime-Chicken-with-Strawberry-Jalapeno-Salsa-5, pinthisBut wait, there’s more!

In addition to being a total taste treat, there are several reasons you should be freakishly excited about this recipe. First, it’s beyond idiot-proof. Seriously. Like, whisk together 3-ingredient marinade. Pound chicken. Put chicken in marinade. Chop salsa ingredients and mix them together. Grill chicken. Bing bang boom, you’re done. Snaps for simplicity.

As far as easy recipes go, Cilantro Lime Chicken with Strawberry-Jalapeño Salsa is as gloriously versatile as they come, and the serving possibilities are both endless and awesome. I fed it to my friend Maisie over chopped romaine with avocado and a lime vinaigrette for lunch, which was delightful. And a few hours later, I re-heated the chicken and piled it on warm tortillas with strawberry-jalapeño salsa and fresh guacamole for my very excited roommate, who rewarded me with his finest grunts and expletives.

This chicken and salsa would also be dank with a side of grilled vegetables or corn on the cob, over quinoa/brown rice, or in a festive summer sandwich (I’m imagining it on grilled bread with a sprinkling of cotija and extra cilantro). Think outside the box, people. You can’t go wrong.

Grilling, and strawberries, and summer craziness for the win.

Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken with Strawberry-Jalapeño Salsa: (Serves 4)

2 limes, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
4 thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts (If you can’t find thinly sliced chicken breasts, don’t panic. Just butterfly 4 regular boneless skinless chicken breasts.)
Kosher Salt
Coarse Black Pepper
For the Strawberry-Jalapeño Salsa:
2 cups diced strawberries
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon minced red onion
1½ tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
½ lime, juiced
Kosher Salt

Preparing your Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken with Strawberry-Jalapeño Salsa:

-In a shallow baking dish, whisk together the lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, honey and cilantro with a pinch of salt. Briefly set aside.

Cilantro-Lime-Chicken-with-Strawberry-Jalapeno-Salsa-step-1-Now we’re going to pound the chicken. Place each chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin or tenderizer (or random heavy object), pound the chicken until about ½-inch thick. This process is sort of noisy, but also cathartic. Just go with it.

Cilantro-Lime-Chicken-with-Strawberry-Jalapeno-Salsa-step-2-Place the pounded chicken breasts into the baking dish, and make sure each one is well coated in marinade. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the chicken and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. (Obviously, the longer you can let your chicken marinate, the better.)

Cilantro-Lime-Chicken-with-Strawberry-Jalapeno-Salsa-step-3-While your chicken is marinating, get going on your salsa. Place all the ingredients for the salsa in a medium bowl. Gently mix the ingredients with a fork (you don’t want to smoosh your strawberries), and season with salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Cilantro-Lime-Chicken-with-Strawberry-Jalapeno-Salsa-step-4-Now it’s time to cook the chicken! Heat a clean, lightly oiled grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and pat them dry. Season both sides of each breast with kosher salt and coarse black pepper.

Cilantro-Lime-Chicken-with-Strawberry-Jalapeno-Salsa-step-5-When the grill/grill pan is hot, add the chicken and cook for about 3½ minutes per side until grill marks appear and chicken is just cooked through. (If using a grill pan, you may need to cook the chicken in batches. If that’s the case, please clean your grill between batches so you don’t get gross char on your second batch of chicken. Capiche?)

Cilantro-Lime-Chicken-with-Strawberry-Jalapeno-Salsa-step-6-Remove chicken to a plate and serve topped with strawberry-jalapeño salsa.

Cilantro-Lime-Chicken-with-Strawberry-Jalapeno-Salsa-8You may want to get some tortillas involved…

Cilantro-Lime-Chicken-with-Strawberry-Jalapeno-Salsa-9Tacos are always a good idea.

I’m thrilled to be a part of Food Network’s Summer Soirée this week. For more delicious chicken recipes, check out the badass blogs below.

Feed Me Phoebe: Grilled Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas
The Lemon Bowl: Indian Spiced Grilled Chicken
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Fajita Spiced Beer Can Chicken
Dishing With Divya: General Tso’s Chicken with Indian Jeera Rice
Weelicious: Breaded Chicken Cutlets with Pea Salad
Sweet Life Bake: Chicken Fajitas
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Farmhouse Fried Chicken
Red or Green: Spicy Chicken Provencal with Peppers and Heirloom Tomatoes
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Sweet and Sour Sesame Chicken
Devour: 5 Sizzling Skewers
Swing Eats: Long John Silver’s Style Fried Chicken Planks (Gluten-Free)
Food for 7 Stages of Life: Best Tandoori Chicken Recipe
Taste With The Eyes: Perfect Chicken Dish to Serve to a Crowd
FN Dish: Chicken is Better with Grill Marks

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  1. Beth on July 29, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    I made this recipe and followed it to the letter. It was absolutely delicious and I am definitely not a chef! It was a fairly quick, easy and delicious dinner to make after working all day. We had tortillas and seasoned black beans as sides – it was really perfect. Next time I’m going to double the strawberry-jalapeno salsa to have extra for what ever we may decide to use it with (or on).

    • Serena_Wolf on July 29, 2014 at 9:08 pm

      Thrilled to hear this, Beth! So glad it was such a hit.

  2. Rachel on July 21, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    I made this for supper tonight and, as usual, was amazing! Simple, healthy, and oh so versatile. Brilliant. Thanks!

    • Serena_Wolf on July 22, 2014 at 9:12 am

      So happy to hear it!!

  3. paigecorbin on July 21, 2014 at 7:58 am

    So delicious! I made this for dinner last night. Perfect summer dinner

    • Serena_Wolf on July 21, 2014 at 8:52 am

      Girl, you are so on top of my new recipes. Love it!

      • paigecorbin on July 21, 2014 at 8:57 am

        Your recipes are a staple at our apt! Can’t go wrong

  4. Phoebe Lapine on July 17, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    I used to be that girl. At that Westside Market.

    • Serena_Wolf on July 21, 2014 at 8:51 am

      I find that intensely comforting.

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