Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice Bowl

Don't be intimidated by the size of this post. Some of the recipe can be done ahead of time. The dressing and the marinade can be made and refrigerated until ready to use. The work is definitely worth it. This is one of our family favorites.

Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice Bowl

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 c. cilantro lime marinade, recipe below
1 c. mango salsa
3/4 c. sour cream
1/2 c. finely chopped cilantro
1 1/2 c. shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
Tomatillo Ranch Dressing, recipe below
Extra cilantro and limes for garnish

Cilantro Lime Marinade

3/4 c. vegetable oil
Juice and zest of 2 limes
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. finely chopped cilantro

Add all ingredients except for oil to food processor or blender. Slowly drizzle oil in while food processor is running. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Place chicken breasts in a re-sealable plastic bag. Add prepared marinade and mix to coat. Marinate for 4 hours. Do not marinate longer than 4 hours. The lime in the marinade will break down the chicken and make it mushy.

While chicken is marinating, prepare tomatillo ranch dressing and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

You can also prepare the cilantro sour cream at this time by mixing 3/4 c. sour cream with 1/2 c. chopped cilantro. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Tomatillo Ranch Dressing

1 c. buttermilk ranch dressing packet
1 c. mayo
1 c. buttermilk
5 small-medium tomatillos
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. garlic, minced
Juice and zest of 2 limes
1 jalapeno (seeded or not depending on how spicy you like it)
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

Use a food processor to blend all the ingredients thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to serve. This makes about 4 cups of dressing. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Leftover dressing is great on any "south-of-the-border" style salad or dish.

Thirty minutes before removing chicken from marinade, prepare cilantro lime rice as directed below. Set aside for later use.

While the rice is cooking, remove the chicken from the marinade and discard bag. Grill chicken about 5-6 minutes each side or you can cook in a fry pan about the same amount of time or until no longer pink. Let sit for 10 minutes. Slice thin or shred with fork. 

Cilantro Lime Rice

1 c. uncooked rice
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
2 tsp. garlic, minced
Zest of one large lime
2 c. hot water
1 chicken bullion cube
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add hot water and bullion. As soon as water comes to a boil and bullion is dissolved, stir in rice and reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender.

Remove from heat and add lime zest, juice, cilantro, garlic and sugar. Fluff rice with fork, stirring ingredients together as you do so.

To compile rice bowl, place desired amount of rice in an oven safe bowl. Preferably the same bowl you'll serve it in. Top rice with the following in this order: shredded or sliced chicken, cilantro sour cream, mango salsa, and finally shredded pepper jack cheese.

Place bowl under the broiler just until cheese is melted and the dish is warmed through. Serve with a drizzle of the tomatillo ranch dressing, garnish with cilantro and lime then enjoy!


  1. How do you cook the chicken? I am making this tonight and wanted to make sure :)

  2. And how do you combine everything, ie the sour cream, mango salsa, etc. I just made it up as I went a long tonight and it tasted pretty good.

  3. Sorry! I accidentally posted my draft version of the recipe. I have filled in the blanks and hopefully have a complete recipe.


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