Sometimes I find myself believing that to eat healthy with a large family means to spend more money. As one who shops at Aldi and Super Wal-Mart whenever I can, I know that it can be tempting to buy 29 cent Mac and Cheese, a cheap version of Stouffers lasagna, or some Little Debbie snacks, and to walk out of the store proud of how little I spent. However, I also know that to eat healthy you have to think about good choices and then “shop healthy” too. There have been times when I have walked past the out-of-season fruit because it is too expensive, only to buy Oreo cookies or Ritz Crackers for almost the same price. My kids don’t help matters in this regard. Although I can shop and fill the fridge with groceries, if there are no “real snacks” to fill up the cabinet, we “have nothing to eat!”
That is why I was excited yesterday when our local grocery store had a BOGO (buy one, get one) sale on mangos, tomatoes, and strawberries. Even the chicken breast was buy one get one free. I decided to combine the chicken, mangos and tomatoes for a totally healthy AND tasty meal. After looking for recipes, I found one that I tweeked to include what ingredients I had. I came up with a version of a mango salsa-topped chicken. I’m calling it Chicken Breasts with Mango and Tomato Salsa. Using mostly fresh ingredients, this dish packs a punch with its vitamins, phytonutrients, and lycopene!!
Mangos are considered a super fruit because they contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals (including vitamin C and beta-carotene). I learned the nuances of eating a mango while my daughter, Mary Kate, and I were on a mission trip last summer in Kingson, Jamaica. Mango trees are in abundance in Jamaica…even in Kingston. Jamaicans peel the small mangos with their hands very quickly and then eat them like an apple. The juice goes everywhere and the mango flesh gets stuck between your teeth, but they are delicious!
Tomatoes, also a fruit, are a great source of the anti-oxidant, lycopene, which helps in the fight against cancer cells. Free radicals in the body can be flushed out with high levels of lycopene, and the tomato is so loaded with this anti-oxidant that it actually derives its rich redness from the nutrient. Unfortunately, tomatoes can be fairly expensive, but with the BOGO sale, I bought six!
A great source of protein, it’s easy to build a meal around chicken breasts. However, my kids think we eat too much of it, so I was excited to try something new. I currently have a small pot of fresh Basil on my kitchen windowsill, and I knew it would be a great addition to the flavors in the tropical mango. You can add a lot of extras that you have on hand to this recipe, like corn and black beans, but I started with the simple. I served the chicken with a Romaine salad and a handful of Tostitos (the Lime-seasoned kind…also a BOGO item this week). Everyone except our two year-old, Sam (#9), liked the meal (I tried modeling, like Kathleen suggested in her post last week, but he would have none of it. I noticed he modeled the ice cream for dessert, though).
Chicken Breast with Mango and Tomato Salsa
Four to five chicken breasts
Four mangos (not too ripe or they will be too soft)
Two tomatoes (like the Mangos, not too ripe)
1 Red Pepper
1 clove garlic
2 Tsp. Cumin
A few dashes of Crazy Salt (we always have this on hand and add it to almost everything)
Cook the chicken breasts on the stove with a little olive oil for about 15 minutes until just done. Squeeze the lime over the chicken and sprinkle with the Cumin. While the chicken is cooking, chop up tomato, mango, red pepper, onion, garlic and Crazy Salt. Leave in small bowl (you will not cook this mixture).
When the chicken is done, cut it into bite size pieces and place some on each plate. Add a generous scoop of cold mango/tomato mixture onto chicken. Serve with a Romaine lettuce salad and a handful of Tostitos.
I can’t say this about many meals I cook, but this one was a hit!
Do you have any recipes that use mangos? Any other fresh fruit and protein combos?