If I had it a little more together, I would have made this dish a month ago and then posted it before Cinco de Mayo. Alas, having it together is not really what I’m known for – and that goes doubly for the past two months. (Remember January? Oh, I do. I was so together for those few weeks!)

Oh well. As I like to say when it comes to sending birthday cards and posting holiday-themed recipes, better late than never. Right?

It’s no secret that I love Mexican food. I always laugh when, while choosing a restaurant for a night out, a friend says, “Are you up for Mexican?” Please. I am always up for Mexican. I may have eaten tacos for lunch and have plans to make enchiladas for tomorrow’s dinner, but believe me, I am up for Mexican.

Until recently, I would have said that nothing could come between me and my love for the Mexican food. My attempts at a low-carb diet, though, have kind of changed my tune. That’s because the way I eat Mexican food has, in the past, involved a lot of tortillas. Burritos – wrapped in tortillas. Tacos – served in crispy tortilla shells. Nachos – piled on tortilla chips. Tortilla chips – served with a side of tortilla chips.

[I love tortilla chips.]

So when it came time for Cinco de Mayo and I wanted to try a new recipe for a festive Mexican dish, I was stuck. What could I eat that wasn’t heavy on the carbs and my beloved tortillas?

Thanks to the world of Pinterest and Tasty Kitchen, I actually found several options. And a chicken recipe from A Pinch of Yum was the winner.

The chicken is breaded in panko and tortilla chips, but other than that, it’s a great low-carb option. (“Low-carb” as I define it, that is, which is “eating less carbs than I used to.” No, it turns out I’m neither your doctor nor a diet expert.)

I served the chicken with a sweet corn cake (that is not low-carb, but is gluten-free [I think] and therefore will make a great dish to have one night when Smitty is over for dinner) and a tossed salad. It was a great fresh, festive Cinco de Mayo dinner.

Tortilla Chicken with Salsa Verde

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 egg
1/2 cup tortilla chips, crushed
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup salsa verde
1/4 cup pico de gallo
4 slices or 8 tbsp shredded white cheese

For cilantro sauce:
Bunch of cilantro
2 tbsp oil
Ripe avocado, chopped
1/4 cup salsa verde

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine panko and chips. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then coat with egg. Dip chicken into panko mixture until well-coated. Fry the chicken in a couple tablespoons of oil over medium heat (just a couple minutes on each side, until browned). After chicken is fried, place in baking dish and bake for 15-25 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on chicken and bake for a few more minutes until it melts.

While chicken is baking, combine cilantro, oil, avocado and salsa. Mix with food processor (or, sadly, with electric beaters if you are currently without a food processor. I do not recommend this, as it may result in avocado being sprayed all over your kitchen. Beware.).

Pour a couple tablespoons of salsa verde onto each plate, and place chicken on top. Spoon cilantro sauce and pico de gallo over the top, and enjoy!

A few notes: The original recipe was for just two pieces of chicken, but I found that I had plenty of ingredients for four. Also, the original recipe suggests Mexican cheese or provolone; I used monterey jack because it’s my favorite. Finally, I don’t love avocado and might forgo the cilantro sauce next time. But all the flavors mixed together really was delicious!

(Not that my family would know, since they both turned up their noses at the thought of green salsa, avocado anything or fresh pico de gallo. I loved it, though. And Mark and Annalyn both thought the crispy chicken with cheese on top was good!)

What is your favorite holiday-themed food?

This post will be linked to Mouthwatering Monday, Made by You Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesdays at the Table, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, 33 Shades of Green, Works for Me Wednesday, What I Whipped Up Wednesday, I’m Lovin’ It, Foodie Friday and Show and Tell Saturday.

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