Loving Luby’s: SOUTHWEST CHICKEN BREAST

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So, today kicks off my new weekend feature (I like to pretend that Kelley’s Break Room is a really, really small theme park): “Loving Luby’s”, because I really do.  If you are new to the Break Room, let me quickly explain why I am doing this in the first place.  As you are likely aware, I write a humor blog that has nothing to do with recipes.  In November, I wrote song lyrics in my “Today, We Salute You…” series (see the navigation bar) dedicated to “Ms. Luby’s Cafeteria Worker and Food Scooper”.   The post somehow came across the desk of a Marketing Director for Luby’s.  She contacted me, said she really liked the song and wanted to mail me a Luby’s cookbook and gift certificate.    We have talked a few times since through e-mail.  With their permission, I am now going to post one of their recipes on my blog each Saturday.  If you would like the recipe book for yourself, you can purchase it for $24.95 from their website by clicking here.  Depending on the response to these weekend recipes, I may give one of these away soon.  I received it recently and really, really, really like it.  It is FULL of really good recipes and fun, touching stories about the people who eat there.

When I asked your opinion about whether I should include recipes on the weekends or not, many of you were all for it.  Some of you questioned whether “cafeteria food” would be good or not.  It’s not “normal” cafeteria food, in my opinion, as in bland, hard-to-identify meats, vegetables and desserts.  Some of you also wanted to make sure I wasn’t just go to dish out Texan fare like chicken fried steak and barbecue all the time.  This Luby’s cookbook has a great variety of recipes that I am sure you will love!  Some have less ingredients than others, of course.  I decided to kick off this series with…

SOUTHWEST CHICKEN BREAST
(Serves 8)
Black Bean & Corn Salsa
1 cup whole kernel corn
3 tablespoons sliced green onions
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced green bell peppeer
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 cup Pico de Gallo (I bought it already made from the store)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup prepared Italian dressing
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
Chicken
1/4 cup vegetable oil
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 ounces each)
1/2 cup Blackened Seasoning (below)
I have this in a container now in my pantry to use for later recipes: 1/2 cup paprika, 3 tablespoons seasoned salt, 4 teaspoons powdered garlic, 4 teaspoons powdered onion, 2 teaspoons oregano, 2 teaspoons thyme, 4 teaspoons cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons black pepper
2 cups Black Bean & Corn Salsa
16 slices white American cheese (found at the deli counter)
1/2 cup sliced green onions
BLACK BEAN & CORN SALSA: 1) In a large bowl, fold together all ingredients except black beans.  Add black beans and gently blend.  Refrigerate.

CHICKEN: 2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place a large skillet over medium high heat and add vegetable oil.  Sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with Blackened Seasoning and place in hot pan.  Cook chicken 3 to 4 minutes per side until cooked thoroughly.  Remove from pan and place on foil-lined baking sheet. 3) Top each chicken breast with 2 tablespoons of Black Bean & Corn Salsa.  Cover salsa with 2 slices of cheese and place pan in oven about 2 minutes to melt the cheese.  Remove from oven and place on a serving platter.  Top each breast with remaining Black Bean & Corn Salsa, then garnish with sliced green onions and serve.


TIPS: Try substituting Pepper Jack cheese for a spicy flavor.  Black Bean & Corn Salsa makes a great Southwest style salad all on its own.  Try adding diced avocado and serve it with chips as an appetizer.

**My picture of it at the end just didn’t do it justice, so I didn’t include it.**
MY NOTES:
If you have a food processor, the time to dice and cut all of those vegetables is greatly reduced, of course.  It did not take long for me to make the salsa.  The salsa WAS a great dip all by itself.  I only made this recipe with 4 chicken breasts (and half the amount of cheese), so we had some salsa left over for chips.  My family really, really liked the chicken.  My mother-in-law said it was “delicious” and “definitely a keeper”.  We had never tried it at Luby’s.  I always get the same thing there (fried fish!), so I will have to look for it when I go back.  The picture in the cookbook has it served with corn-on-the-cob.  I bought some corn-on-the-cob, but was not able to make it that night.  I just served it with salad and couscous.  It was perfect!  Try it!  Try it!  If you DO decide to make this recipe, I would LOVE it if you came back and let me know how it turned out for you.

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