Marinated Chicken Tacos

Fire up the grill for this recipe! If you are familiar with fresh Mexican grill Costa Vida restaurant chain, this is a copycat recipe for their grilled chicken.  It is used in all their chicken entrees from burritos to salads. I absolutely LOVE their grilled chicken! This recipe is wonderful for anything you would use grilled chicken in, but my family’s favorite is tacos.  And it’s great because it is really quick to mix together; score one for me! You might even want to make a double batch, grilling and freezing some for a quick heat-up option another day!  ~Kathy

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Ingredients:
  • 3 lbs. chicken breast
  • ½ c. olive oil
  • 1 heaping T. fresh garlic, finely minced
  • 3 T. all purpose seasoning (I used a combo of original Mrs. Dash & Emeril’s Original Essence.)
  • 1 T. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika, optional
  • Juice of 2 lemons

Instructions: 

  1. Pat chicken dry. Trim all fat and cut each chicken breast in half, lengthwise.
  2. Add all other ingredients in a large Ziplock freezer bag. Mix to combine well. Add chicken, seal bag, and turn to coat chicken pieces completely.
  3. Place in refrigerator to marinate for 30-45 minutes, turning occasionally.
  4. Remove chicken from marinade; place on pre-heated, oiled grill. Grill on medium-low heat until cooked completely through. Chicken should reach 165 F. Chop chicken into bite sized pieces and serve warm in a soft tortilla with your favorite taco toppings.

Mahi Mahi Blackened Fish Tacos

I love, love, love a great fish taco, but I do not love the heavy, breaded fish restaurants too often throw into them.  This perfectly light and spicy blackened mahi mahi, on the other hand, can hold its own against the veggies for the perfect Mexican-flavored blend that a fish taco should have.

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Mahi mahi is in fact, by far my favorite ocean fish.  It’s a really lovely light mild flavor, and it’s a thicker fillet than most readily available fish, so it doesn’t get lost in a flavorful recipe like this one.  It is a little more expensive than some alternatives in my land-locked Oklahoma, but its quality makes it well-worth the extra dollar or two for me, depending on the market, for that just-right taco every time.

This recipe is the perfect mix of spicy blackened fish, veggies, & lime juice.  It tastes like summer, and I’m all for anything that makes me feel like I’m on a beach somewhere!

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Your mahi mahi should have this lovely golden coloring once it’s cooked up in the blackening seasoning.

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Ingredients:
  • 12 oz. mahi mahi fish fillets (fresh is always ideal but I got mine frozen at the grocery store and they were great)
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 6 Ole Extreme Wellness high fiber low carb tortilla wrap (8 inch)
  • ½ c. yellow onion, chopped
  • ½ c. pico de gallo (fresh pico de gallo can usually be found in the produce sections of major grocery chains)
  • 2 c. cabbage, shredded
  • ½ c. cilantro, rough chopped
  • 2 limes for juice
Blackening Ingredients:
  • 1 ¾ tsp. packed brown sugar
  • 2 T. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp. garlic salt

Instructions: 

  1. If mahi mahi is frozen, thaw completely.
  2. Mix blackening ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. Reduce cayenne pepper if you prefer less heat; ½ tsp. makes for a rather spicy blackening.
  3. Once thawed, pat fish dry so that seasoning will stick.
  4. Sprinkle blackening seasoning onto a plate (a plate with a lip is best so it’s less likely to make a mess) to lay fish in and coat thoroughly. Flip and coat the second side of each fillet well.
  5. Heat olive oil in a medium sized skillet. Add fish and cook on medium heat until cooked through — approximately 4 minutes on each side, flipping only once. Fish will be an opaque white color and will flake easily when cooked (internal temp should reach 145° F).
  6. Set cooked fish aside. Because there is very little oil in the pan already I do not recommend setting on a paper towel-lined plate, as it may remove too much of the blackening.
  7. Chop the fish into bite sized chunks once it’s cool enough; each taco will need about 1.5 oz. of fish.
  8. For each taco, I pile the Ole Wellness Wrap with a healthy sprinkling of yellow onion, then a small bed of cabbage, followed by the fish chopped into bite-sized chunks, a healthy serving of pico de gallo, and a good-sized pinch of cilantro sprinkled across the top. Finally, I drizzle it all with fresh-squeezed lime juice to taste.

WW Freestyle Info.: Each taco is 3 points. Enjoy!

Chipotle Chicken Wontons

I worked at El Chico the summer after college, and I have quite a few stories I could tell you about working there. The manager let me off work on short-notice the night my first nephew Hayden was born, so I’ll always appreciate that.

A less enjoyable day: when the walk-in floor was slick — and I bit it while holding a 5 gallon bucket of salsa when my feet slipped out from under me. The salsa vat went directly up into the air above my head and landed just next to me (not on my head or I would have officially felt like a Loony Tunes character). What didn’t land next to me was all the salsa. After it coated the ceiling and a good 5 meter radius in the kitchen, the biggest portion of it splashed directly on my head and all over my body. You will never know the speed with which you can undress until you’ve driven home before your evening shift (luckily I happened to be finishing my lunch shift) completely coated in salsa. I have a high tolerance for spicy food…when I’m eating it. Apparently it’s quite different when you’re wearing it, in case you were considering this as some strange form of bath-time aromatherapy. Don’t.

That’s all the wisdom I have to share today. 😉 Also maybe some more practical advice: make sure your shoes are grippier than mine were if you ever find yourself working in a restaurant!

Anywho, one thing I did love about working there was the free meal during my break on each shift. My favorite was a chipotle chicken breast – it was smothered in a chipotle pepper sauce, and I absolutely loved it. This was the first time I had tried anything chipotle flavored – this was ages before “chipotle” was being mispronounced by 60% of people in a zillion fast food restaurants. To this day, I crave that dish.

I tried out this chipotle chicken mixture at home as a quick dish on its own, and we really loved it all by itself with some sides. But when I decided to try it in wontons…that’s when it became a super fun and delicious recipe! And it makes these little beauties a handy appetizer too if you have a different entrée in mind. ~Robin

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Ingredients:

10 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed into bite sized pieces

2 oz. Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I use La Costena; there is a little heat to these, so you might cut back to 1 oz. if you’re not sure about the heat)

¾ c. canned black beans, rinsed

1 c. white onion, diced

½ tsp. garlic salt

5 oz. egg roll wraps (12 wraps, trimmed down as instructed below to about half of their original size by cutting across the corners; I use Twin Dragon)

4 cloves of garlic, minced

¼ c. green onions, chopped (optional, though I think something colorful on top is pretty essential)

¼ c. cilantro, minced (optional)

2 medium jalapeños, sliced (optional)

1 or 2 T. fresh squeezed lime juice (I just squeeze directly from the lime so amount is approximate), optional for serving

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Rinse black beans and set aside.

Measure 2 oz. of the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce; chop well and add to a medium mixing bowl, sauce included. Mince garlic (you can also use jarred minced garlic) and add to bowl. Chop white onion and add it to this bowl as well. Chop chicken breast into bite sized pieces and add to the mixing bowl. Add garlic salt. Stir all together; then set aside.

With a clean knife, chop green onion; set aside. Mince cilantro if desired; set aside. Slice jalapeños if desired; set aside.

Trim egg roll wrappers (what I’ll call wontons from here on) down to about half their size, cutting across the corners with kitchen shears as shown in the video below. (I’m working on my video editing skills so, yes, you can hear my husband say “go” as it starts–oops! I think he just needs to work on his videography skills — who says “go” after they start recording?!)

Very lightly spray a muffin tin (12 cups) with cooking spray, and place trimmed wontons in cups. You may need to press some folded portions against the wall of the muffin tin so that there will be room for filling later (do not adding filling yet or you’ll have soggy wontons). Cook wontons until crisp as shown in this below video (8 ½ -10 minutes). (Before testing wontons to see if cooked enough, make sure you’ve given them a few minutes so they are cool enough to touch.)

The bottoms of each wonton should make a clicking sound when you tap it with your fingernail, and there should be no flexibility in the wonton. If it will bend when the sides are squeezed, it isn’t quite done. Keep an eye on wontons and cover with foil if edges begin to brown too much.

While the wontons are cooking, on medium heat, cook chicken mixture in a nonstick skillet until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. You do not need additional oil; the chipotle peppers provide just enough to cook the mixture. When the chicken is nearly cooked, add the black beans and gently stir them into this mixture in your pan. Remove from heat when chicken is cooked through (165 degrees F in the middle of the largest pieces).

If you follow the recipe by prepping your parts of the recipe ahead of time as it’s noted here, the wontons and chicken should be done at about the same time, and your food won’t get cold.

Add the hot chicken mixture to the wontons in the muffin tins as soon as they’re ready (chicken will likely be ready a minute or two before the wontons but not long enough to get cold), topping with green onions, as well as the cilantro and jalapeños if desired.

I squeeze fresh lime juice onto mine when serving, though they’re great without this too if you’re not a big fan of lime – or just want to savor that awesome chipotle flavor.

Weight Watchers Info.: Each filled wonton is precisely 1 Freestyle SmartPoint each, so it’s easy to make a meal out of these tasty treats. And all the garnishes are free, so play with those — or not — to your heart’s desire! (Note: Be sure to trim wontons to about half the size — that’s not only for looks; it also really reduces the points.)

Easy One-Pot Tortilla Soup

I try really hard (well, most of the time) not to let the weekends get the best of my eating habits.  Sometimes though, I need to feel like I’m eating an indulgent food that I’d order at a restaurant on a Saturday night out with friends. That is, if I don’t get the enchiladas, but that’s something for a different post.  I hope you and yours love this tortilla soup as much as I do….it’s so good, and doesn’t wreck your entire diet (I’ve recently started adding a can of Cannellini, or  white pinto beans, to make this soup even heartier for no extra WW points).  Only 1 WW Freestyle Point per cup!  ~Tracy

Ingredients:

½ T. extra virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

½ c. red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

½ c. green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed

2 cans (4.5 oz.) chopped and peeled green chilies

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 pinch cayenne pepper (or to taste)

1/2 tsp. salt

3 c. chopped white meat chicken (I use shredded rotisserie chicken breast)

32 oz. fat free chicken broth

2/3 c. mild red enchilada sauce (I use Old El Paso)

1 15 oz. can Cannellini Beans (I use Bush’s)

½ c. nonfat plain Greek yogurt

2 limes, quartered

4 avocados, peeled and chopped (optional but highly recommended)

tortilla strips (optional)

Instructions:

In large (3 quart) stock pot, sauté onion, peppers, chiles, and garlic until the onion begins to become translucent.  Add cumin, cayenne, and salt and stir to blend.  Stir in chicken, enchilada sauce, and broth.   Bring to a boil, reduce heat, add beans and then simmer for 15-20 minutes.  

Right before serving, stir a small amount of hot broth from the soup into the Greek yogurt to temper yogurt.  Stir yogurt mixture into soup.  

Serve each bowl topped with ¼ of an avocado, peeled and chopped into small chunks.  Squeeze a lime wedge over the top of soup / avocado and serve.  If desired, top with crunchy tortilla strips (don’t forget to include the avocado and tortilla strips in your WW points if you add those).

Weight Watchers Info.:  Makes 8, 1 cup servings.  Each cup is 1 Weight Watchers SmartPoint on the Freestyle program, not including optional garnishes. 

 

Pimento Chile Chicken

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This Mexican flavored dish is rich and flavorful without being heavy. Mom snagged this recipe from her good friend (and my Godmother) Joyce, and it’s been one of the few things I’ve made regularly since I left for college – so good and so easy! The chiles aren’t too spicy so it can serve a crowd with varied spice tolerances. I like this piled up with pickled jalapeños and my favorite salsa. ~Robin

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ c. cooked, chopped chicken breast (chopped into about 1/2” cubes
  • ½ c. fat free chicken broth
  • 1 ½ c. 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup (I use Campbell’s)
  • 1 ½ c. Healthy Request Condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 4-oz. jar pimentos, drained (1/2 c.)
  • 2 4-oz. cans Hatch green chiles, chopped and drained (You can add a 3rd can if you’re just crazy about chiles like I am.)
  • 10 oz. 50% reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 6 oz. of Doritos (by weight) toasted corn tortilla chips, slightly crushed
  • Pickled jalapeños, green onions, and/or cherry tomatoes for serving (optional)

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Instructions:

Mix all ingredients except Doritos and cheese. In a large casserole dish (I use 9” x 13”), layer ½ of chicken mixture, then ½ of cheese, then ½ of the Doritos.  Repeat the same layers once more, ending with Doritos on top.  Bake at 350° for about 40-45 minutes.  Cover top with foil if Doritos begin to brown too much.  Serve with pickled jalapeños and/or your favorite salsa.

Weight Watchers Info.:  6 points per serving in the new Freestyle plan; makes 8 servings.

The Best Mexican Casserole Ever

Do you have foods that immediately take you back to a certain memory in your life? Fried chicken reminds me of my Mammaw, and snickerdoodles remind me of spending the night at my friend Dana’s house. This Mexican casserole takes me back to the Home-Economics room at Chandler High School. During an FHA (our younger readers will know this org. as FCCLA) cooking contest, my friend Sherri made this incredible casserole that was modeled after a recipe of her grandmother’s. Every time I make this version (which is often), it’s 1989 again and we’re back in that classroom learning, laughing, and making sure our 80’s hair didn’t fall!

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I’m still friends with all of those girls, and though we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, I’m so thankful for the memories of food, fun, and friendship that have stayed with me aaaaallll these years! ~Tracy

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Ingredients:

1 lb. 95% lean ground beef

½ c. chopped onion

2 c. condensed cream of mushroom soup, unprepared*

½ soup can of water

1 can Ro-tel tomatos with green chilis

1 package reduced sodium taco seasoning

2 c. shredded sharp cheddar or your favorite blend of cheese*

6 to 8 flour tortillas*

Instructions:

In a deep skillet, cook hamburger meat and onion. Add Ro-tel, water, taco seasoning, and soup. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, approximately 10 minutes.

Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with Pam or similar cooking spray. Pour a thin layer of the meat mixture into the bottom of the casserole dish. Lightly sprinkle approximately ½ c. of cheese on top of mixture. Tear tortillas into strips and place on top of cheese. Continue layering the meat, cheese, and tortillas, working to end with sauce and cheese.

Bake at 375°F until bubbly and heated through. Usually around 20 minutes.

Weight Watchers Info.: Makes 8 servings at 5 SmartPoints each. *WW points were figured using 98% fat free soup, 50% reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, and 6 medium fat free tortillas.

White Chicken Chili

I couldn’t ever find a white chicken chili I liked, so after trying several “meh” recipes, I decided to make my own.  Threw this together on a whim thinking it would at least be a quick, easy weekend prep to weekday meal kind of item.  But it turns out that Barry declared this his favorite thing I’ve ever made, so I figured I better share.  I make this pretty spicy but you can adjust (or eliminate) the heat easily. ~Robin 

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*This post contains affiliate links.  We earn a small commission on purchases made via these links.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced*
  • 4 medium jalapeño peppers, seeded, diced (reduce for lessened spice)
  • 4 4-oz. cans (2 c.) chopped Hatch** green chiles; don’t drain (I use mild on these – more for flavor than heat)
  • 4 cloves minced fresh garlic (or about 2 tsp. minced jarred garlic)
  • 13 c. low-sodium chicken broth (can always add more if you need it, but you don’t want it too soupy)
  • 4 c. cooked shredded chicken breast
  • 3 cans cannellini beans, drained well
  • 3 T. fresh lime juice (I just juice one small lime)
  • 1 T. cumin
  • 1 – 3 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (I do the whole tablespoon because I like it spicy!)  
  • 23 c. cilantro (about 1/2 a bunch) chopped; reserve some for garnish
  • 12 tsp. garlic salt
  • Optional garnishes/accompaniments (not figured in WW points): sliced avocado, shredded Monterey jack cheese, tortilla chips, and/or a cilantro sprig.

Instructions:

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil on med-high heat. Then add onion, jalapeño, chiles, garlic, and sauté for 5-7 minutes (until veggies soften).

Reduce to medium heat. Add drained beans, chicken, broth, cumin, lime juice, garlic salt (sounds like a lot of garlic, but it’s a whole lot of food too — trust me), cilantro, & red pepper flakes. Cook for 12-15 min.

Serve and garnish as desired.

Weight Watchers Info.: This makes a whopping 11 one-cup servings.

Old SmartPoints:  4 points per cup

Freestyle Points:  1 point per cup

*For easy onion dicing, using a gator chopper will save you some tears, literally. They have varied dicing sizes, so be sure to check on that before purchasing – I used one with a ¼ inch dicing size, but you could use a larger one as well. I used to hate chopping onions before my folks got me this for Christmas one year. Now I can chop without tears and much more quickly.  

**You can use any chopped green chile, but I prefer Hatch chiles.  

Street Tacos

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I’m always on the search for something different for dinner.   The same-old, same-old, turns into “I don’t want that tonight.”  I have a house full of boys who love meat.  I think it is in their DNA!  One day while in the city, I had a taco from a vendor that was out of this world!  I’ve been on a quest to replicate this meaty deliciousness.  These fit the bill and are approved by me and all the dudes in my house.  ~Kathy

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. flank steak
  • 2 c. orange juice, without pulp
  • 3 T fresh squeezed lime juice
  • ½ tsp lime zest
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 – 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 c. cilantro, chopped, divided
  • 1 slice onion (plus more onion diced for serving)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ black pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Tortillas (we used Mission Street Taco sized flour tortillas) & desired toppings

Instructions:

In a large ziplock bag, combine orange and lime juice, zest, cumin, garlic, and ¼ c. cilantro, slice of onion and seasonings.  Mix to combine well.  Add flank steak and turn to coat.  Marinate in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, but at least 4 hours.

Remove steak from bag and discard marinade.  Grill on a lightly oiled grill, heated to medium high heat.   Cook to desired doneness.  Allow steak to rest on cutting board for about 10 minutes.  Slice thinly against the grain.

Serve with heated tortillas, remaining cilantro, chopped onion, hot sauce, chopped radishes, avocado, or salsa.  

WW Freestyle Info: With 2 street size tortillas, 4 oz. of meat divided between the tortillas, onion, cilantro, and any other desired zero point veggies:  Total of 9 points for both tacos.

Taco Slaw Bowls

Posted by Erin

Did you try our most popular recipe, Egg Roll in a Bowl? This Mexican version was inspired by that dish, and you will love it!

I’m one busy woman, as pretty much all moms (and dads!) are. We are always rushing to get kids to their extra-curricular activities, get homework done, etc. so I try to come up with recipes that don’t require a lot of time-consuming chopping and prep-work. This one fits the bill. 

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Another bonus to this recipe, for those of us with picky kids, is that it somewhat disguises the veggies. I don’t know about your kids, but mine won’t eat raw shredded lettuce and chopped tomato on a taco. They will, however, eat the tomatoes & shredded cabbage cooked with this taco meat. The flavors blend so well, they don’t even detect the veggies. I serve theirs in a taco shell, topped with cheese, but I like mine over rice. Either way, it’s delicious!  

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 (1 oz.) packet low sodium taco seasoning
  • 1 (1 oz.) packet ranch dip mix, dry
  • 1 (14 oz.) bag classic slaw/chopped cabbage with carrots
  • 1 (10 oz.) can mild Ro-tel, undrained
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime, plus more for serving
  • 1 tsp. each:  chili powder, cumin, paprika
  • ½ a bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • Chopped green onion for garnish
  • Other optional garnishes & serving ideas:  rice, taco shells, shredded cheese, sliced avocado, salsa

Instructions:

Brown the beef in a large skillet with the diced onions, garlic, taco seasoning, and ranch seasoning; set aside onto a paper towel-covered plate to remove any residual oil from beef.  

Heat olive oil in the skillet over medium heat; add the slaw, Ro-tel, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, and paprika.  

Stir and cook until cabbage is wilted and tender.  

Add the beef mixture back to the skillet; stir and heat through.  

Serve over rice with lime wedges, chopped green onions, etc.

WW Freestyle Info.:  This makes 5 servings of about 1 cup each; 6 points per serving (not including rice or optional garnishes).

Chicken South of the Border

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Posted by Robin

If I’m pressed to name my favorite entrée (let’s be real; my favorite food is a tie between several kinds of dessert), this has to be it.  I think it’s beg-for-it-for-your-birthday level good — and I’m pretty sure I did just that a few times as a kid.

This is a very Tex-Mex kind of dish.  But what could be better for Cinco de Mayo, the holiday mooostly celebrated in the US?

Speaking of celebrating, this dish does pair quite nicely with a margarita on the rocks. I may have to cook this favorite myself now (most of the time), but being a grown up does have some perks!

Before we get into the recipe, there’s something you have to know.  Cheese whiz is part of this recipe.  Before you run screaming for the hills, just hear me out.  I know it’s not usually the most appealing ingredient, but I promise it’s perfect for this dish.  You could use Velveeta, but I tell you it’s just not the same (I’ve tried it and was disappointed).  Also, you’ll have such great 80s memories flash back — Fastback tennis shoes (somebody out there remembers those; don’t try to deny it), plus jellies shoes, mix tapes, and leg warmers, oh my!

Ingredients for Cornmeal Fried Chicken:

  • 4 chicken cutlets, pounded flat
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 6 beaten eggs
  • 1 to 1 ½ c. cornmeal

Ingredients for Salsa:

  • 2 c. diced canned tomatoes, drained (which will probably be about 1.5 cans once drained)
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T. lime juice
  • 1-3 jalapeños, diced (depending on heat pref. – I use 3)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. garlic salt
  • ¼ c. cilantro, chopped (optional—I love cilantro)

Other Ingredients:  

  • 1 15 oz. jar of cheese whiz
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Instructions:

For salsa, in a medium bowl, start with diced canned tomatoes, drained. Add onion, green pepper, garlic, jalapeños, lime juice, salt, garlic salt, and cilantro (if desired).  Refrigerate.

Combine flour and seasoning in a medium (cereal bowl size is fine for these) bowl.  In a medium sized separate bowl, beat eggs slightly.  In a separate medium sized bowl, place cornmeal.  Set aside.

Trim any fat from chicken.  Place vegetable oil, about a half inch deep, in a deep frying pan on medium heat.

To coat each piece of chicken to prepare for cooking, dredge through flour mixture, egg, flour mix again, egg again, then cornmeal.  Gently place directly into hot oil.  Cook a few minutes on each side — until cooked through and cornmeal is a nice golden color.  Try not to turn it too often, as you don’t want to knock off that delicious batter. (Chicken should reach 165 degrees in center.)

As you cook chicken, set aside on a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.

Microwave a few servings of cheese whiz in a bowl, heating to liquid for 20 seconds at a time, then stirring each time.  (Do not look directly at the cheese whiz at this stage until it’s fully melted if you can avoid it.  Not pretty as a solid, but it will be good on your chicken once it’s melted. Really.) 🙂

To serve, plate chicken.  Spoon the piping hot cheese whiz over chicken.  Top with salsa.  Enjoy the magic.  And maybe a margarita.