Santa Fe Chicken recipe means no frying, no fuss

Updated: 2013-06-12T00:29:31Z


The Kansas City Star

Most cultures have a tangy, silky ingredient known as buttermilk: a thick milk-based product that has been soured by lactic acid bacteria.

One of buttermilk’s most iconic uses in American cooking? Think fried chicken. Of course, these days fried chicken has been relegated to a special occasion food for most of us.

The Star’s Santa Fe Chicken is another way to get some of that delectable crispy crunch while skipping the fat (and mess) of frying. Multigrain tortilla chips provide a crumb crust while low-fat buttermilk helps the pieces adhere to lean, skinless, boneless chicken breasts.

Skip the mashed potatoes and gravy and pair the Southwestern flavors of this chicken dish with Brown Rice Pilaf, a blend of whole-grain brown rice and black beans flavored with low-sodium chicken broth for a high-flavor, high-fiber, low-sodium side dish.

•  Shopping tip: Read the labels carefully when purchasing salsa. Not only are some mild, medium or hot, they vary greatly in sodium content.

•  Serving tip: Serve remaining Brown Rice Pilaf as a side dish with any roasted or grilled meat. It is also great for lunch the next day.

Santa Fe Chicken

Makes 4 servings

1 cup finely crushed multigrain tortilla chips

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Salsa, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 10- by 15-inch baking pan with nonstick spray.

In a shallow dish or pie plate, combine crushed tortilla chips, cumin, chili powder and pepper.

Place buttermilk in another shallow dish. If chicken breasts are large, cut them in half the lengthwise. Dip chicken in buttermilk, then coat well with tortilla mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center and a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees. Serve on top of brown rice pilaf and top with salsa.

Per serving (chicken only): 212 calories (11 percent from fat), 2 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 67 milligrams cholesterol, 16 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 214 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.

Brown Rice Pilaf

Makes 10 servings

1 tablespoon canola oil

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

1 cup frozen corn

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup fat-free, lower sodium chicken broth

3 cups cooked brown rice

1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add green onions and corn. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken broth and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in brown rice and black beans. Heat, stirring frequently, just until hot through.

Per serving: 118 calories (17 percent from fat), 2 grams total fat (trace saturated fat), no cholesterol, 21 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 84 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.

To reach Jill Wendholt Silva, The Star’s food editor and restaurant critic, call 816-234-4347, send email to or follow her on Facebook.

Deal Saver Subscribe today!


The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Kansas City Star uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here