Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Applebee's Fiesta Lime Chicken - sort of

I love Applebee's Fiesta Lime Chicken. What I don't love is the fat in it. It tastes SO good, but like a lot of things that taste good, it's, first of all, too big a portion, and second, it has too much un-necessary fat in it. So I made a version of my own. It's not an exact clone, but it has the flavors of the original, and by swapping lower fat versions of mayo, cheese and ranch dressing and leaving out the tortilla strips (even thought I love them!), a lot less fat while keeping all the flavor.

There are plenty of copycat recipes for Fiesta Lime Chicken on the web - mostly from genius Todd Wilbur of topsecretrecipes.com. This is NOT that -- a. this is far simpler, and b. because it's not a clone per se, I went healthier with it. This will feed 4-6 people for about the cost of one serving from Applebee's, as reasonably priced as they are.
Marinate chicken, refrigerated, in a glass dish or plastic bag, in the marinade and garlic powder, for at least 4 hours and up to 36 hours. If short on time, marinate up to 1 hour at room temp. NO LONGER! Drain the chicken, but reserve the marinade.

Now: either spray a broiling pan with non-stick spray and broil the chicken until done, turning once, or grill until done. Alternatively, bake chicken pieces at 400 degrees until done. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken has reached at least 160 degrees.

While the chicken cooks, combine the reserved marinade with 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Gently boil over medium-high until the water has cooked way and you have about 3/4 cup cooked down marinade. To the marinade, add:
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup light ranch dressing
  • several shots Tabasco or to taste - I used about 8
Whisk together until blended. Spread the sauce lightly over the chicken. Top with 1 cup shredded 2% milk sharp cheddar. Return to oven and broil or bake until cheese is melted. Serve extra sauce on the side. This goes very well with Confetti Rice!

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