Chicken Picadillo

I’ve been slacking a bit in the dinner department lately and I haven’t liked it one bit!  A combination of plans filling the last couple of Sundays, very hot weather that makes me a bit lethargic and less than eager to hang out behind the stove, and a myriad of other excuses have prevented me from doing my usual weekly shopping and meal planning.  Therefore, weeknight dinners have been pulled together by combining a little of this and a little of that.  

This weekend I decided enough was enough and we did our shopping on Saturday.  I filled the cart with all sorts of fresh fruits and veggies and outlined some meal ideas so that we could eat well for both lunch and dinner all week.  Man do I find that gratifying!

The thing about meal planning that I find tricky is I don’t love setting a strict schedule. Tuesday:  chicken Marsala, Wednesday: rice and bean burritos, Thursday: baked fish etc. makes me feel restricted and who likes that? I don’t like being pigeon-holed that way. Every time I have tried to do something along those lines I end up coming home from work not feeling like whatever it was that I had planned. I much prefer to set up some loose ideas at the start of the week and then just kind of “go with it” during the week. So that’s what I did!

I found this Chicken Picadillo recipe in Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Cookbook. While the methods and actual recipe instructions in this book aren’t exactly perfect, her ideas for fresh clean meals composed of wonderful flavors and ingredients are very inspirational.  And even more exciting is the fact that the photos in the book are stellar.

While I am sure this recipe is not a traditional picadillo (I wasn’t even sure what a picadillo was until I Googled it), it is a wonderful, hearty, delicious, and flavorful dinner. I made a few adaptations and I have included them in the recipe below. 

The garlic, peppers, cumin, and cilantro pack lots of fresh flavor punch. And the combination of fresh and canned tomatoes really boosted the texture freshness factor.

I served this over brown rice the first time we ate it and over baked potatoes the second time. (With the baked potato I added a small scoop of sour cream and a few extra tablepoons of fresh cilantro–wow was that a delicious dinner!)

Tip: I think grilled tofu would be a great vegetarian substitution for the chicken in this recipe!

Chicken Picadillo:

  • a few glugs of olive oil
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts (If you have time marinate the chicken in some olive oil, a splash of vinegar and some salt and pepper before cooking. If not, rinse the breasts, pat dry and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a few dashes of ground cumin before cooking.)
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 large yellow pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 large orange pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1.5 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, each one sliced in half
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of chopped tomatoes with jalepenos (I like Delmonte brand)
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Cook chicken using your preferred method. Poaching or grilling both work well in this recipe. Once it is done cooking, cut into cubes.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add onion and peppers. Cook until soft.

Add chili powder, tomatoes, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Continue cooking until veggies reach desired texture (we like them a bit soft but still with a little crunch).

Stir in chicken cubes and stir until mixture is heated through. Stir in fresh cilantro.

Peppers, tomatoes and spices simmering

I love using my grill pan to cook chicken breast

Adapted from Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Cookbook.