I have a confession. About 5 years ago, I tried the Fiesta Lime Chicken® from Applebees™ and fell in love. My husband did too. I remember that we looked at each other in disbelief at how yummy it tasted. The chicken was like an explosion of delicious flavors and the plate looked so colorful. From there it was history. In fact, it was addictive enough that anytime we would go, it was the only entree either of us would order. Crazy, right? I guess we are both creatures of habit.
If you look at the nutrition facts your mind will be blown. I’m going to go ahead and ruin it for you right now. If you don’t want to know, you should stop reading here. I know it’s not one of their lighter menu options, but it’s still pretty incredible that this one meal packs 1,140 calories, 62 g of fat, 3,730 mg of sodium and 91 g of carbohydrates. I can feel my blood pressure rising just looking at the amount of sodium. Not too mention this entree is on their combo deal selection, so of course we always ordered mozzarella sticks or onion rings as an appetizer. Why not, it comes with the meal. Yikes. Fast forward to now. I came up with the brilliant idea to make a healthier version of this at home and boy, it does not disappoint! Fresh pico, southwest chipotle dressing and melted cheese all come together to make the next bite even better than the last. My husband said it tastes exactly like the one from Applebees™, just without the crunchy tortilla strips. We’ll leave those off to make sure it stays nice and healthy. I felt like I hit the jackpot with this recipe because it’s so easy to make and is also great for leftovers too. So if you are meal prepping for the week, add this recipe to your menu. I always noticed that my leftovers from the restaurant had an almost rubber-like texture the next day. I’m sure the food is not as fresh as they lead us to believe, which is another reason to make this healthy “copycat” recipe at home.
Cheesy Fiesta Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 tbsp southwest chipotle dressing (I used Hidden Valley Farmhouse Originals brand)
¼ cup reduced fat cheddar cheese
¼ cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
Nonstick cooking spray
Pico de Gallo:
1 jalapeno, diced
¼ onion, diced
½ tomato, diced
2 sprigs cilantro, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350°.
Place chicken in a baking dish that has been coated with nonstick spray.
Top each piece with 1 tbsp of dressing and divide the cheese evenly onto each piece.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until internal temperature has reached 165°.
Mix all pico de gallo ingredients together in a small bowl and place on top of chicken.