Tequila Lime Chicken with Homemade Mexi–Ranch

This dish is restaurant quality, friends.

 

It sounds fancy but it's actually a cinch to make. If you can stir ingredients in a bowl and cut chicken breasts, you can bust this one out and totally impress your friends and family.

About a year or two ago I went on an internet quest for a Tequila Lime Chicken recipe when I was craving a dish from my long ago, carefree days. Back in college I was a server at Applebee’s and they had Tequila Lime Chicken on the menu.

So. Good.

These days they call it Fiesta Lime Chicken. Not sure but I think they have omitted the Tequila...such a shame. It adds a nice layer of flavor.

It was very popular. I can't tell you how many times I wrote "TL CHX" on my notepad in the year and a half I worked there. Come to think of it I was also a fan of Chile’s Margarita Chicken back then. (Also, very popular).  And this recipe is sort of a loose combination of both of those.

Everyone I have made this for loves it!

Except my picky oldest. She merely tolerates it because of the green chiles. But if you knew Katie, you'd know that's the best you can hope for. 

 

But everyone else? They fight over it! How could they not? It's slathered in a delicious sauce that's a little spicy, topped with one of the greatest combinations of cheese known to humankind, and is drizzled with fresh, aromatic, lime juice. Perfection. 

The recipe below is actually a combination of a couple of different recipes I have pinned along the way and then changed up a bit. I just can’t make anything simple, can I?

Here is where I found the marinade and learned about the proper way to use citrus in a marinade. And here is what I have based the Mexi-ranch and cooking directions on.

I really haven’t altered the marinade too much, although I don’t measure it out. Too lazy for that. I mean busy. For the Mexi-ranch I have left out the diced tomatoes (because I only eat those little guys cold) and I have swapped out sour cream for Greek yogurt. Oh, and my husband, Travis, and I both have an aversion to raw onions but love the sweetness sautéed onions bring, so I always cook those up before I toss ‘em in.

I also use a different cooking method. The directions in the second recipe suggest grilling. Because I suck at grilling, I usually just broil the chicken instead. That still gives it some texture but doesn’t come with the hassle of firing up the grill. If you are a grill master, by all means, you should grill this one up.

Tequila Lime Chicken with Mexi-Ranch

Ingredients:

2 lbs chicken breast, cut lengthwise (the pros call 'em "cutlets")

 

1C shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheese blend

 

2C tortillas chips, crumbled (or tortilla chip strips, if you’re going all out)

 

Marinade:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons tequila
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest, from about 2 limes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons honey

 

Mexi-Ranch:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoons diced green chiles
  • 2 teaspoons sautéed, diced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch dill weed
  • 1 pinch paprika
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch ground cumin
  • 1 pinch chili powder
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper

 

Tools:

  • a microplane (for zesting the lime)
  • gallon size plastic bag
  • a couple of casserole dishes
  • knife
  • cutting board
  • measuring spoons (optional, and not pictured)

 

Directions:

1.       Combine all the marinade ingredients in a plastic bag.

 

 

2. Add the chicken and seal up the bag, and mix it around until the chicken is evenly coated. Let marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours. (I like to set my bag in a baking dish, just in case it leaks.)

 

3.       Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients for the Mexi-Ranch together in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to top your chicken with it.

 

4.       When you’re ready to cook, turn the broiler to high and remove chicken from the bag. Arrange it flat in baking dish. You’ll probably need two to keep the pieces from getting crowded and allowing them to cook better.

 

5.       Broil for about 6 minutes on each side, or until the juices run clear.

 

6.       Slather that Mexi-Ranch all over the top of the cooked chicken breast.

 

7.       Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the dressing.

 

8.       Pop it back under the broiler for just a couple of minutes. The cheese and dressing should just start to bubble a bit. Unless you are one of those weirdos who likes your cheese burnt, then go ahead and burn it. This is your masterpiece, after all.

 

9.       Crumble some tortilla chips on a plate while you wait [im]patiently.

 

10.   Plate it up, squeeze some lime juice everywhere, and dig in!

 

Here's the recipe card for ya: (Click here if you want to print it.)

 

I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do, friends!

And I hope you can add this to your regular rotation of meals [almost] the entire family will eat!

Speaking of, share a link in the comments if know of a recipe even a picky 7-year-old will eat. A meal other than processed chicken nuggets or quesadillas, that is.

 

Happy broiling, friends. And whatever you make, make it yours!